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.
The Serpentine Offering—-This is, without saying, is my favorite offering from this band to date. Although a long-time fan, I prefer the direction the band has taken with its much heavier orchestrated compositions and huge anthem songs.Edging up slowly with heavy orchestration, the atmosphere is intense and the build-up almost mind blowing. When Hellhammer hits with the drums…the song becomes even larger. Shagrath enters with his puked lyrics…..still acceptable….but evil enough to get the point across. This is just amazing. When ICS enters with his remarkable clean vocal, the track takes on a huge melodic form. To me, this was the band in peak form.
The Chosen Legacy—-Again, the first thing you notice is the phenomenal and almost inhuman drumming set forth from Hellhammer. Shagrath continues much in the vein we are accustomed to…with his deep guttural vocal. This is not maddening Black Metal…..this is delivered with finesse….melody and an almost catchy tone. This is remarkable.
The Conspiracy Unfolds—-Never really one to follow along with the ‘concept’ of a musical offering, I tend to accept each track at face value. This release is no exception. It can be played out of sequence and still maintains its legitimacy without fail. The band is in such fine form….it is a shame internal conflicts broke up such a well oiled machine. This plays so well…even all these years on. The orchestration has fallen away and the drums and maddening bass lines are in full effect. This track is noisier and more chaotic…..but it remains….fantastic.
The Sacrilegious Scorn—-Returning with a nice cross of orchestration and head bashing metal, you could not ask for a better combination. The way the music works with the strings is phenomenal…..the clean vocals break up the monotony of the past few tracks…giving the track an almost ethereal feel at times. This is incredible.The understated keyboards are so incredible and necessary….I miss Mortis.
The Ancestral Fever —-A slow buildup leads you on a slight journey before slamming you at the door of further mayhem and incredible musicianship. There are lots of vocal manipulations on this release…I prefer to have Shagrath in his huge towering form…..this is not a favorite track….but trust me…it hold up to anything offered on Abrahadabra.
The Fallen Arises—-Eerie and laden with effects that can almost be visual, this instrumental is perfect placement on the release. You are allowed a slight respite…a cool down if you will…..before the journey continues. You can hear the strings swell….the atmosphere of the track is foggy and mystical. This is brilliant.
The Sinister Awakening—-With a quick and blazing return to full on mayhem, the guitar work on this track is just phenomenal. There are even some remarkable guitar squeals….Shagrath returns in full voice and you notice how much faster this track seems to travel. The keyboards are incredible…the chord changes give the song a great feel…..the drums are immaculate….could you ever ask for more?
The Fundamental Alienation—-Slow and plodding at the onset, the song has a monk styled intro that makes it even more sinister in sound. Soon Hellhammer breaks the mood with his insane drums and Shag is not far behind to further remove you from that comfort zone. The breaks and the chord changes are phenomenal. I never get tired of this release……it always has a place in my player.
The Invaluable Darkness—-Continuing in consistent sound and style, this track does offer a nice jaunt to the guitar delivery that is a bit hard to explain…but it is brilliant none the less. Shagrath manages to rise above all of the musical mayhem and deliver such strong lyrics and vocals…it is amazing he never gets drowned out. This is brilliant.Again, ICS breaks things up nicely with a clean vocal….just immaculate.
The Foreshadowing Furnace—-Sounds seem to come at you from every direction as this track commences. The irritating metallic sound quickly falls away and allows for the proper vocal. There are sounds in the backdrop that almost sound like a crowd rebelling…..so well put together and delivered.
The Heretic Hammer—-Ending this release with as much power as it began, this track is a bit noisy and drum driven…..the huge enclave of atmosphere that plays in the background thanks to the keyboards from Mortis makes this song even larger. THERE WILL BE NO FUCKING REST!!!!!
****3/4 out of 5