Chaotic black metal progressives Dodecahedron made their first imprint on the underground with 2012’s self-titled suite of crushing ideas. The intervening years have been quiet in terms of band output – though the band shares members with Nihill and Exivious, who were active during that time – but next week we get a brand new exercise in high-concept dissonance via Kwintessens, due out March 17 on Season of Mist. We conducted a little Q&A with guitarist/songwriter Michel Nienhuis and vocalist Michiel Eikenaar, much of which can be found in issue #150 (Decibel Tour cover). You can read the remainder of the interview here, to get an insight into Nienhuis’s process and the band’s approach to Kwintessens. Also, check out two new tracks from the Kwintessens Bandcamp page.
How long have you been working on kwintessens?
We haven’t been working on this album continuously; everybody has other things to do as well. I started to develop the concept for this album in 2013 after I found the answer to the question “How can a next album be an improvement on the first one?” Answer: find ways to make the album more cohesive and consistent than the first one. Then I started to develop a musical concept around the five platonic solids and started writing. It was finished in the beginning of 2015, that’s when the others came in to play and we started recording drums in the summer of 2015. The final master was submitted the end of August 2016, so you can imagine we’ve been working on it off and on.
What was the recording process like for kwintessens? Does the result match your original visions for these songs, or did the songs shift as they were being created?
The recording process did not have [much] influence on the structure, harmony and melody of the songs. The main difference with the demos is the sound. But this time I didn’t write the bass parts because our bass player [Ype Terwisscha van Scheltinga] wanted to do that himself, and that worked pretty well. Our guitar player [Joris Bonis] has his own recording studio, which allows us to work on the record for some time, then leave it for a bit if he has a job to do in between, then get back to it. At first I preferred to work on it continuously until the job is finished, but this has proven to work quite well because it gives you time to reflect. I think it’s quite important to keep the bigger picture in focus with this album.
Dodecahedron is often dissonant and violent… Is there other music with the same apparent intent that you enjoy listening to?
We all listen to different kinds of music, music that would look and sound like Dodecahedron and music that doesn’t. The Campfire Headphase by Boards of Canada, for instance, is a very calm album that most of us enjoy listening to a lot, while our bass player discovered Skáphe two years ago and they have delivered an excellent album this year (Skáphe²). Obviously, the work of Mayhem from the time that Blasphemer was in the band remains outstanding.
There often appear to be layers of vocals warring inside the mix… What dimension does that add, for you?
It has a narrative and a sonic reason. In the prelude it is a harbinger of what is to come, in the final song it represents the torn flesh and spirit of the entity that pursued perfection but instead brought an eternal endless tragedy upon himself. “Flesh reduced to rags. Pierced through all possibilities and plunged into the abyss.” In between they are representatives of the state of that entity.
The “Dodecahedron” track is gorgeous, and even with all of its harsher elements, it sticks out with its pretty chords. Does that song stand out to you as special on the record? Does it have a different thrust than the other songs?
This is where the entity experiences a state of perfection and fulfillment, so that’s why this song is consonant and “light.” It is special in a way that it is the only song on kwintessens that has this atmosphere, but it’s part of the narrative of the search and growth, the perfection and the demise of this entity so the song would not make sense on its own.
Does kwintessens feel like the end of a creative process, or do you feel like it points toward more ideas that you want to explore?
We were first and foremost occupied with making this album and we are content with the outcome. It might point towards other ideas that are worth exploring but it would be too early to comment on that.
Source: Decibel Magazine