I had never heard of Dystopia Nå prior to getting “Dweller on the Threshold” to review. This album has caused me to invent a new phrase: “Love at First Listen.” After the incredible opening riff of “Doppelgänger,” I somehow knew this album was going to be good. The song goes from that riff (one of the best riffs of 2015) to a quite hush, then into another powerful riff. “Doppelgänger” is a good example of what you can expect from “Dweller on the Threshold.”
The album has so many different sides to it and Dystopia Nå has many different sub-genres of metal going on that blend into this unique style. Whether it’s the black metal harsh vocal, the occasional blast beats or the shoegaze style guitar riffs – it makes use of such a variety of sounds that the album and each song are so dynamic. The next track “Intruder/Ephialtes,” which is more of an interlude, is a perfect example another direction that Dystopia Nå often goes in. The song is a new age like piano piece that segues into the also short track “Shadowcasting Horologe” which feels like a tribal version of Pink Floyd!
“Through Mirrors, Darkly” is the next longer track and it flows in perfectly. It feels like a lost Enslaved track if Enslaved took even more chances than they do now. It has the black metal vocals, the loud guitar riffs but also a peaceful guitar solo. The synth break at the six minute mark sends the song into a reprise of “Shadowcasting Horologe” which shows how perfect the songs fit together
The next three tracks feel like one piece of music to me. “Moment of Lucidity” is another interlude that serves more as a prelude to “Winding Stares Into Nothing.” “Moment of Lucidity” is an acoustic guitar piece. If you are keeping track, that is a first on the album. Variety and dynamics are the keys to “Dweller on the Threshold.”
“Winding Stares Into Nothing” has some awesome blast beats and some very cool mellow proggy moments that careen back and forth. Eventually the song even gets slower and doomy. Why not?!? Did I forget to mention they are great at doom too? “Lucidity (Phase II)” is a quiet keyboard conclusion to “Winding Stares Into Nothing” that feel much like an Anathema song.
“Cold Is The Colour” shocks you back to reality with a slow grinding death metal groove. Yet another great song on the album and by this point, you assume it can’t possibly get any better. WRONG! It does. The last two tracks on the album might be the best of them all, which when you consider how great it’s been to this point, that is saying something.
Nothing really prepares you for “My Eyes Are The Atoms Of The Sun.” Both it and “Final Encounter” are the most progressive tracks on the album, albeit for different reasons. “Final Encounter” is the long epic. “My Eyes Are The Atoms Of The Sun” does so much in its near 9 minutes that it’s incredible. It starts with some amazing power pop and harmony that Mew would be proud of before changing directions to a beautiful, quiet atmospheric lull. It gradually builds up carefully via some shoegazey pop to an amazing melodic guitar solo. It’s one of the best moments on an album full of great moments!
After the solo the song even manages to combine pop with black metal by alternating between the two. Dystopia Nå are the masters of being able seamlessly merge almost polar opposite styles and make it work perfectly. “Final Encounter” follows and as I said, it is the long epic. Like any great epic, even though it is long, it never feels like it is long. Time flies when you are having fun or in this case listening to the climax of a masterpiece. “Final Encounter” features ALL the aforementioned musical styles, twisting and turning throughout this showstopper of a song.
Dystopia Nå have created a true masterpiece. The question isn’t if this is one of the best albums of 2015. The question is if this is the best album of 2015. It will DEFINITELY be a serious contender for album of the year. At the moment, no other album does all of the things that “Dweller on the Threshold” does. Certainly no album does it as well as this one. My advice to anyone reading this is to follow Dystopia Nå in anyway possible and BUY THIS ALBUM!! This album is a massive achievement in metal and really music in general.
Rating: 10/10 but should be rated even higher!
3. Shadowcasting Horologe
4. Through Mirrors, Darkly
5. Moment Of Lucidity
6. Winding Stares Into Nothing
7. Lucidity (Phase II)
8. Cold Is The Colour
9. My Eyes Are The Atoms Of The Sun
10. Final Encounter
Label: Avantgarde Music