‘Black Medium Current’ set for release on April 14th via Peaceville Records, is the sixth studio album by longstanding Norwegian avant-garde pioneers Dødheimsgard. From their influential and successful beginnings as a raw and grim black metal outfit established during the ongoing swelling of the “second wave” in the early-mid 90s, Dødheimsgard has subsequently evolved into a truly eclectic behemoth with each landmark release; a band now undoubtedly adorned with the mastery of mood and texture through intricate, dark metallic wonderment and unnerving eloquence.
‘Black Medium Current’ continues on the path set by 2015’s monumental and universally lauded ‘A Umbra Omega’ album; itself a deeply poignant and potent release of vast maturity and insight.
Steeped in atmosphere ‘Et Smelter’ opens the gaping maw of the abyss swallowing the listener whole, digesting them via a multitude of influences. The trademark solemn vocals recall ancient qualities of Black Metal yet viewed through a modernist lens as we move through the forlorn ‘It Does Not Follow’ before plummeting into ‘Det Tomme Kalde Morke’.
Thematically the album deals with the idea of authenticity, the battle of free will versus determinism and what this implies for our moral responsibilities. In ‘Black Medium Current’ Dødheimsgard also aim to question the notion of ‘responsibility’ as a concept.
As is the questioning nature of Dødheimsgard, the band explore ideas in which trying to free oneself from a state of existential despair and confusion we in turn relinquish our own freedom. Suggesting that confusion and despair, however hard they may be to endure, are in a philosophical sense necessary told to question one’s own intellectual honesty.
An idea that is perhaps mirrored in both the tightrope walking of the simultaneously minimalist yet maximalist vocabulary of ‘Black Medium Current’.
Vicotnik elaborates futher:
“There is a certain amount of facticity to moods, in turn moods are conditions of thinking and ultimately solicit a variety of responses. The contradictory notions of angst and if angst is tied to free will or rather solely a deterministic human feature. If an agent is invested in being a particular thing and when the state of being is compromised, one would normally find oneself in a state of existentialist despair and confusion. Are we in perpetual despair because our identity depends on qualifiers that can crumble at any moment? Yet trying to solely avoid these states of confusion and discomfort through structuring all notions of an all-encompassing rationality in order to interact with the objective world, is perhaps in part to relinquish personal freedom and the potential of growth? With this album I am trying to create moods in which this angst and confusion is prevalent, and through my experiential notions pose questions, (primarily to myself), that perhaps extends to facilitating the development of inner resources, overcoming self-deception and promoting freedom through art and creative exercise.”
Recorded during the end of 2021 and beginnings of 2022, with production duties being handled by Vicotnik. Engineered and mixed by Matias Aaveren at Top-Room Studios. Mastering by Charis at Feedback Studios with additional help by Pavlos.
Outside of traditional bass guitar duties Lars Emil Måløy lends his talents on piano, cella and theremind on ‘Requiem Aeturnum’ as well as flute by STTNG on ‘Et Smelter’
Adorned by the work of graphic designer Łukasz Jaszak, having previously worked on Dold Vorde Ens Navn album, there was a symbiotic understanding when it came to artwork. Much like the album’s use of space musically, this is mirrored in the cover.
“To dream (abstract reality) is Purpose, matter (physical reality) is the fabric in which to research and fulfil the purpose.”
“The front cover shows empty space and the building blocks of reality in the sense of what is and the potential of what can be. It is easy to view this cover through the lenses of philosophical realism, and it has contingency towards that indeed. But the cover itself, just by existing, also conveys an abstraction towards something that came into existence from an idea. Is an idea contingent on the physical realm to be expressed? Or is the physical realm itself an idea from self-servitude? Brought forth from a mind in order to study itself, interact and further the understanding of its existence. A sort of Platonic universalis through an artistic lens. Idea, not as mental but as abstract, existing independently of both the mental activity itself and sensible particulars.”