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Dimmu Borgir - Enthrone Darkness Triumphant

1997 Nuclear Blast Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-02

Well, to read the reviews out there, this is the ultimate black metal album since Bathory's The Return. Not being the biggest black metal fan (but quickly becoming a convert), I hesitated for quite some time before picking this up. I guess I finally got it since both tracks I had heard (the incredibly raw version of MOD on Death is... Vol 4 and Spellbound on the Blackend Comp) were some of the catchiest compositions in the evil music circuit. So, with all this buildup, you almost completely expect disappointment, but Enthrone is just what everyone claims it to be, an album of epic proportions. Extravagently beautiful in their use of keyboard passages, Dimmu Borgir are masters of layering, and when you have a top-rate producer (in this case, Peter T?gtgren) in your corner, the sound will be just perfect. Not a note misplaced in over 55 minutes of glorious music (with some really sick satanic lyrics thrown on top), which is quite a feat in itself. Enthrone also runs the complete black metal spectrum, with mid-paced power (A Succubus in Rapture) to balls-out speed black metal (Master of Disharmony). Drumming is truly phenomenal, sacrificing creativity (which is more displayed in Old Man's Child) for precision and power, with an honorable double kick display. A nicely incorporated sense of melody is brought to the surface by the guitar/keyboard teamings, which are really quite dramatic in spots. There's not much more that I can add to the thousands of other reviews lauding this opus except to say: believe the hype, this one's for real.

Dimmu Borgir - Spiritual Black Dimensions

1999 Nuclear Blast Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-02

As with Emperor's latest opus, expectations ran pretty damn high for this one. Could they continue what they began on Enthrone, or were they just a flash in the pan? Have their egos taken over, have side projects and an amost revolving door policy towards band members taken away from the magic? Well, I can't answer all of these questions, but let's just say that no new ground has been broken here, but man, have they made what they already had really spectacular. While sounding almost like the second part to their previous album, Spiritual is a little crisper, and it seems to be a lot faster. The only real experimentation I can hear is in the vocals, which of course feature I.C.S. Vortex of Borknagar/Arcturus fame. I also hear a distant nod towards Vortex's old work in the keyboard work (and I guess that he also played bass for them during their tour), which is interesting, making me wonder if he brings musical ideas as well as his amazing voice to these recordings. Shagrath's decision to drop guitar duties to concentrate on vocals doesn't seem to have too much of an effect here to me, but new guitar recruit Astennu (Covenant) is a fretboard maniac, helping Silenoz rip out some black metal riffs of death, if you get my meaning. A worthy follow up to a great album, full of emotion, darkness and black castles. Now, if they only keep a steady line-up to progress further... Note: It seems as though the media isn't picking this up as heavily as other releases (fickle), which surprises me, as I actually want to hear this album from time to time, opposite of how I feel about some of the other big "hits" that have passed through my player this time around.

Dimmu Borgir - Stormblast

2005 Nuclear Blast Records :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2006-04-08

Many metal heads consider Dimmu's Stormblast to be the point where the band separated themselves from the ever growing legions of Scandinavian black metal bands. For me personally, I disagree about the status of that release, preferring the much more refined and better crafted Enthroned Darkness Triumphant opus that followed. None the less, that release on Cacophony Records (are they even still around?) can be rather difficult to find, so the Dimmu boys (well, just Shagrath and Silenoz anyway) saw fit to rerecord that album with today's updated recording technology and using hired stickman Hellhammer (ex-every damn band you can think of and some obscure band called Mayhem). According to interviews with the remaining two original members of that line up, it was to update the sound, and that they did. It sounds exactly like Enthroned, and that's a given since it was recorded in the same place by the same dude (Peter Tagtgren in Abyss Studios). Although the sound on Stormblast wasn't the greatest, it wasn't the worst out there. And yes, the sound does sound modern but to say it was an improvement is an overstatement. Testament rerecording their old stuff was an improvement. The Megadeth remasters were an improvement. This merely sounds better. Hellhammer does his stuff on the drums like, well, like he always does, which means playing stupid fast and precise. Shagrath has lost a lot of his edge over the years, sound more and more like Abbath from Immortal. If you compare any of his vocals on the last three releases to his performance on Enthroned, than you'll see what I mean. Add to that the really poor album cover (the original was so much more cooler looking) and the fact that the bands original logo is now where to be found make this such a half baked affair. The disc I bought came with an extra live DVD with 5 tracks taken from their jaunt on Ozzfest earlier in 2005. At first it sounds like a cool idea until you watch and realize how boring it is. The band is so out of their element playing during the day on a huge stage it's ridiculous. Add to that the boring and uninspired performance they give, by the second song your thinking of ways to make excuses to the store so they'll take it back for a refund. Enthroned Darkness Triumphant was such a important and pivotal release that it's a fucking crying shame the band is releasing such a obvious cash in. Sure, the original is hard to find, but I highly doubt it needed to be rerecorded. The band claim that they did it for themselves because they were never happy with the sound and that's cool and their decision completely. I'm just the schmuck who shelled out the money to buy it. Now, quit dicking around, get a drummer and record something new for Christ sake.