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Dystopia Na - Dweller on the Threshold

Dystopia Na
Dweller on the Threshold
by Danny Sanderson at 11 October 2015, 9:36 AM

Depressive Black Metal is a genre that is extremely hard to pull off. There are so many bands out there that adopt this moniker to describe their music, and sadly a good number of them fail to hit the mark set by some of the genres heavyweights like SHINING. Nonetheless, when an up and coming Depressive Black Metal band hits the nail on the head with any given release, it's more often than not an incredible album that, with any luck, will go down as a future classic. Norway's DYSTOPIA NA are one such band who, in their four short years together, have already managed to hit that lofty benchmark that so many attain to but don't quite reach. For evidence, look no further than their latest record, "Dweller on the Threshold". It's an album that not only raises the bar for underground Depressive Black Metal acts, but it also adds its own unique flavour to the genre, making them stand out from the throng to an even greater degree.

"Doppelganger", the albums opening track, has plenty of great, dissonant chords that make it sound great. Its razor sharp production and use of different guitar tones make it stand out from the heard right from the start. The vocals on the are sung with the sort of passion you would expect from this kind of music, and it has plenty of amazing, catchy guitar lines that really draw the listener in. There's plenty of riffs and other musical ideas thrown into the mix which keeps this lengthy track interesting throughout, without extending the track to the point that it outstays its welcome. It's a solid way to open a record, and if you aren't hooked by the end of it, then this is probably not your sort of album to begin with. "Intruder/Ephialtres" is a much more relaxed, ambient affair as opposed to the first track. It's got plenty of great piano sections which work really well and set the listener up for the next track, "Shadowcasting Horologe"; this is another shorter song which is built on really cool guitar lines, coupled with plenty of ambience, rhythmic drumming and chanted vocals. It gradually builds into something heavier, although the harsher, more dissonant tones are used sparingly, and only when it's absolutely necessary to making the music sound fuller and darker. This track leads seamlessly into "Through Mirrors, Darkly", a song that sounds absolutely monolithic. The music overall, particularly the guitars and drums, have a strong Post-Metal sound to them, with plenty of amazing riffs, and some really good, hair-raising vocals. The band blend distorted and cleaner tones on this track to great effect, making the song sound varied and exciting. "Moment of Lucidity" acts as a way of linking the previous track and the next one. Despite being little over a minute long, it still manages to grab your attention and draw the listener in, courtesy of some great acoustic guitar lines.

"Winding Stares To Nothing", one of the albums strongest tracks, again has a lot of great guitar lines, a variety of different tones, imaginative drumming and some really excellent vocal performances. From soaring, clean vocals through to sorrowful, vicious shrieks, this song has a wide range of contrasting vocal styles which all fit perfectly with the sections of the song they're attached to. Above all, this song has a really epic sound to it, and its this additional element which elevates this song from a good one to a great one. "Lucidity (Phase II)", another ambient track that acts as an interlude between longer tracks, helps to mellow the mood after the previous song, which sounding much more aggressive by comparison. The pianos that are brought into this track sound awesome, being complex without sacrificing any of its catchiness. "Cold Is The Colour" is probably the closest thing to a "straight forward" Black Metal song on here, and even then, to describe it purely as a "straight forward" song would be incorrect. Yes, there's a lot more dissonance, a significantly darker tone and the sort of harsh, bitter sounding vocals that are expected from Black Metal, but there are a few elements thrown in to make it more than "just another Black Metal song". The way the keyboards are used, for example, adds an almost symphonic side to the music, and the chugging, jarring guitar lines that make up the latter half of the track are not what you'd typically expect from Black Metal. It's one of the most memorable songs on the record, due mostly to the strong, confident playing and the awesome delivery of the vocals. The albums penultimate track, "My Eyes Are Atoms of the Sun", is great piece of epic sounding Post-Metal. It's got an awesome Hard Rock inspired guitar solo that works really well with the track, and as the track progresses, it shifts from softer, more mellow parts to ones that sound much faster, darker and sharper guitar lines that sound amazing. This is, without exception, the best track on the whole record, and sets us up for the closing offering, "Final Encounter", very well; this final song is a vast, sprawling track, that manages to fit plenty of great music into its almost fourteen minute span. Easily the most progressive track on the whole album, this brings all the sounds, styles and influences exhibited across this record together to create something that is eclectic and memorable. It's got fiercer Blackened sections, loads of Post Metal riffs and some really great keyboard sections which have dozens of hooks and help beef out the already substantial sound. It's a fairly good way to close this album.

This album has a lot of great moments on it. It's clear that this band is talented and has a strong idea about what they want to do with their sound. This is a band that is clearly going from strength to strength, and hopefully they'll get some much deserved recognition off of the back of this one. It's not the easiest record to pigeon-hole into any one genre, due to the variety of influences incorporated into it, and ultimately, I think there will be at least one part of this record that most Extreme Metal fans will enjoy.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Doppelganger
2. Intruder/ Ephialtes
3. Shadowcasting Horloge
4. Through Mirrors, Darkly
5. Moment of Lucidity
6. Winding Stares to Nothing
7. Lucidity (Phase II)
8. Cold Is The Colour
9. My Eyes Are Atoms of the Sun
10. Final Encounter
Lineup:
A. - Drums, Programming, Vocals
S. - Guitars, Bass, Vocals
K. - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
K.K. - Guitars
Record Label: Avantegarde Music
     


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