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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.