Dødheimsgard - 666 International
Moonfog Productions
Industrial Black Metal, Avant-Garde
9 songs (49:02)
Release year: 1999
Dødheimsgard, Moonfog Productions
Reviewed by Goat

Dødheimsgard’s classic, without a doubt, and the classic release of the entire futuristic Black Metal ‘genre’, such as it was, 666 International is the type of album that you have to listen to if only to experience it. Love them or hate them, this was the moment where Dødheimsgard took wing and left our feeble mortal world for some other dimension of existence, and 666 International is the resultant offering of a band willing to experiment to an extent that few had previous dared to. From the Hindu gods referenced to the Industrial elements welded to the base Black Metal, now barely recognisable beneath the Avant-Garde sensibilities, 666 International is (in)famous for a damn good reason, and that, whether you worship it as godlike or regard it as beneath shit, is the reason that it is a classic.

Few dared to go against the prevailing winds, back in 1999. This was the year that Satyricon rebelled extravangantly, the year that Black Metal embraced the future rather than the past. Ah, sure, there were always the likes of Mysticum and Ved Buens Ende to keep Black Metal firmly pointed towards experimental realms, but few tore the rulebook up like Dødheimsgard did here. From the drumming, acoustic yet processed to such an extent that Czral barely acknowledges it, through the twisted and distorted guitars, to Aldrahn’s vocals, enormously varied and distinctly weird in a way that Vicotnik’s past insanities barely touch upon, 666 International is one of the most strange and distinct albums that you’ll ever hear, and such was the clash of personalities and influences going in that the album produced continues to surprise and enthral over ten years later. Really, the atmosphere conjured is not so much that of experimentation as that of pure madness – changes come thick and fast, and leave the listener exhausted more often than not. Whether it’s the twisted meandering of Regno Potiri or the experimental outburst of Final Conquest, 666 International is never less than gripping.

Say what you like about Black Metal, come the millennium it was faltering badly, the purist bands driven deep underground to be masturbated over by the few. Of the bands that reinvigorated it, Dødheimsgard are amongst the forefront, wilfully experimenting and taking the past into new pastures, never afraid or anachronistic in style. At the present moment the electronic elements may not be perfect (although I personally find this album strangely timeless) but their effect is undeniable, and whilst it may rebel against the laws that you’re used to in the Black Metal sphere, 666 International rewrites the rules, resetting expectations and placing true understanding, that moment where you ‘crack’ the album, several steps beyond.

The piano interlude of Logic, the otherworldly atmosphere of Sonar Bliss... the chaotic style is beyond difficult, the learning curve distinctly beyond the experiences of many. However, if you sit back and allow 666 International to wash over you, allow the tendrils of Industrial experimentation to wash unceasingly through your cerebral vortex, then it will all make an uncanny sort of sense, and whilst it takes many listens indeed before you’re even close to fathoming the many depths and heights that Dødheimsgard take you, the experimental extents of their sound. It’s by no means an easy listen, not the catchy melodies of others, the easy to absorb selections of Supervillain Outcast... but instead a trip, a journey to the sun such as Aldrahn invokes on Completion. Many have tried but equally many have failed to take Black Metal into the 21st century; Dødheimsgard here came the closest yet with their masterpiece, an album that takes many listens to absorb, an album that requires patience and understanding from the listener, an album that does not bow to any master but itself. If you’re a fan of the more experimental reaches of Black Metal, you owe it to yourself to travel this path.

Killing Songs :
All
Goat quoted CLASSIC
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 - Satanic Art reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Dødheimsgard - Monumental Possession reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Dødheimsgard - Kronet Til Konge reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
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