Dødheimsgard - Monumental Possession
Century Media
Thrashy Black Metal
9 songs (37:10)
Release year: 1996
Dødheimsgard, Century Media
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Although you can hear the Avant-Garde elements taking shape in the second album from the Norwegians, Monumental Possession is still very much a Black Metal album, as wacky as it gets. The most obvious change from Dødheimsgard’s debut is the change in musical style, from pure Black Metal to an amalgamation of Black and Thrash (leaning heavily towards the Black side) with off-kilter drumming that gets stranger the more you listen. The line-up’s changed too, Fenriz being replaced with ex-Emperor bassist Alver and future Aura Noir guitarist Apollyon joining. It’s easy to see where the influence for Aura Noir came from, as the catchy music present here will be familiar to any fans of that band, and it results in something much more enjoyable than on Kronet Til Konge.

It’s a hard album to love at first listen, however, mostly due to the vocals. Vicotnik, Apollyon and Aldrahn took it in turns to provide the vocals on each song, and the former’s contribution is little short of insane; strange yowly croaks that sit uneasily with the music and turn Utopia Running Scarlet, the first track proper, into an endurance test more than anything. The weird, almost whirring guitars make it a decent track for me, but from The Crystal Spectre onwards the undeniable catchiness of the music asserts itself and with Aldrahn on vocals things take a more fluid and compelling drive. The album is uneven due to the vocal changes, however, and whilst I’ll admit to enjoying Vicotnik’s weirdness as part and parcel of the album’s experience (it’s hard to believe that the members didn’t think his vocals were anything but mental) it can be a tough pill to swallow if you’re coming straight from the more traditional sounds of Kronet Til Konge.

Having said that, if you don’t get down and groove along to the likes of Angel Death with a big silly grin on your face then there’s something wrong with your wiring – when Monumental Possession rocks, it rocks out properly. It’s undeniably Black Metal though, songs like Lost In Faces sticking fairly close to the traditional sound whilst simultaneously hinting at dissonant pastures ahead, and the oddly-titled Bluebill Heart going for speed and harshness. The title track, meanwhile, has possibly the catchiest riff going, Black Sabbath rethought by the Norsk Blek Mettlers in a way that’s both melancholic and head-banging.

Whilst Monumental Possession may not be as vital as 666 International, it is still a landmark record for Dødheimsgard, proof of a unique set of minds working to remould the genre. Fans of Aura Noir should definitely give this a listen, whilst those looking for leftfield Black Metal will enjoy it too – a kvlt album with one leg defiantly stuck in the experimental zone.

Killing Songs :
Utopia Running Scarlet, The Crystal Spectre, Monumental Possession, Angel Death, Lost In Faces
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Dødheimsgard that we have reviewed:
Dødheimsgard - A Umbra Omega reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Dødheimsgard - Supervillain Outcast reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Dødheimsgard - 666 International reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Dødheimsgard - Satanic Art reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Dødheimsgard - Kronet Til Konge reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
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