Dimmu Borgir (/ˌdɪmuː ˈbɔːrɡɪr/ or Norwegian: [dɪmmʏ bɔɾgiɾ] or Norwegian pronunciation: [dɪmmʏ bɔʁgiʁ]) is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1993. The name is derived from Dimmuborgir, a volcanic formation in Iceland, the name of which means “dark cities” or “dark castles/fortresses” in Icelandic, Faroese and Old Norse. The band has been through numerous lineup changes over the years; guitarist Silenoz and vocalist Shagrath are the only original members who still remain with guitarist Galder being a longstanding member.
Xibir—-A typical instrumental opening for this epic band. The sound….even at the onset is epic….huge and with dark orchestrated undertones. The build-up is maddening….but well worth the wait before the mayhem ensues.
Born Treacherous—-The guitars that open the track are familiar and welcoming. Shagrath enters with his guttural vocal and the music is a nice mix between huge epic orchestrated beauty and a maddening pace led my the incredible drumming. I love this band….despite all the criticism, there is nothing I can find to complain about with this release. The chord changes are incredible….giving the track nice mood swings.Well, I do have issues with that lady….but I will take it anyways….lol
Gateways—-Released as a single per se, this track is one of the weaker in my opinion. The choir of voices that introduce the song are in such a nice contrast with the insane pace of the drums. This is huge…..filled with all kinds of orchestra instruments, keyboards and the wonderfully abrasive vocal that all mix together to create a damn perfect storm. The clean vocals are unnecessary…but trying to replace a long standing member who has left is difficult….I hope they do not use her again.
Chess With The Abyss—-Guitar heavy and less epic at the first few notes, the strings kick in and give the song a big sound. The choir of voices in the back drop are classic Dimmu….and is stark contrast with the deep rantings of Shagrath. The chorus is catchy as hell…and the lead guitar is a bit more in the forefront…allowing the track to sound not as dense and dark. This is epic if there ever was a definition needed.
Dimmu Borgir—-Without a doubt, my favorite track on this release. This hearkens back to the older, original sound of the band. Calling forth the ‘forces of the Northern light’ is classic Dimmu. The sound is huge but more true to the Black Metal feel. The drums, as usual sound just incredible. The strings make the song epic is sound and it is easy to get caught up in the sing-song chorus of the song. This is a keeper for sure!
Ritualist—-With a vocal incantation to begin the track, the slow and melodious guitar at the onset is confusing. But mayhem quickly ensues and the song becomes huge as you would expect. The chorus makes the track almost unforgettable….the chord changes are intense and the drums….well, wow!
The Demiurge Molecule—-Sounding quite different from anything else on this release, even the vocal at the onset is almost unrecognizable. It isn’t long before Shagrath finds his trademark dark voice, but the sound of this track is to odd to have a place in my memory bank. One of the weaker tracks on this stellar release….but I guess everyone has one of those.The surprise horns are a huge highlight though!
A Jewel Traced Through Coal—- With a very sedate keyboard intro that seems to last forever, the tracks finally opens up a bit with strings and an epic feel. The guitars enter and the drums are quick to follow…..leading the song to a frantic pace. The vocal is not as present…a bit pushed to the back of the barrage of instruments. The sound is classic…the feeling a bit cold ……really reminds me of Cradle Of Filth. The choir of voices though……really nice!
Renewal—-Speed driven and brutal at the onset, there is no introduction to this track…it just smacks you in the face at the onset. The guitars have a melodic Priest feel to them. Unfortunate that the vocal seems half-hearted and not really applied. Not a horrible track…..there are stand out moments….but not something I turn to out of boredom.
Endings And Continuations—-Rounding out the proper release, this track begins much as the release began….eerie and dark. The vocal at the onset is spoken word and sound evil as the day is long. This has a deep underlying hum to it that gives it a nice feel. The instrumentation arrives….strings….drums….guitars and sends your senses into a spin. It is a great closer to this release….leaving a taste in your mouth that makes you want more….but here we are 4 years on…still waiting.The ‘clean’ vocals are magnificent!!!
Gateways [Orchestral Version] [Bonus Track] —-The full orchestra behind this track makes it less mundane and freakin’ epic. The build-up…with the choir of voices at the onset are incredible. The mass of strings are just fantastic….you wonder how members of an orchestra feel playing behind this band? The sond is incredible…I freakin’ love this version….it is huge….drawn out and much more powerful.
**** out of 5