Dimmu Borgir (/ˌdɪmuː ˈbɔːrɡɪər/ 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 [Orchestra Only]—-If you are a fan of Dimmu, or even slightly acquainted, this recording seems only natural in the grand scheme of things. What an experience it must be as an Orchestra member to play with such a dark and epic band. This track is lush and full of orchestrated moods and energy. Combining the choir of voices with the overblown music comes together to create something damn magical.
Born Treacherous—-The opening strains of the band are greeted by a huge swell of excitement. The music played by the band is bolstered and made so much larger by the Orchestra. Shagrath and his growl seems to wrap itself around the magnificent strings. This only makes the band seem even larger. I love this recording. When the choir joins in on the chorus it is an incredible journey in itself.
Gateways—-With a huge swell full of strings and those magnificent drums and bass line. this song becomes literally huge. Like an epic journey through guttural vocals accompanied by a beautifully landscaped Orchestra, the dichotomy is incredible. Shaw makes an appearance here….I never cared for her very much. She nor a full choir can even come close to the incredible vocal style from ICS Vortex…..a huge mistake for the band to lose him.
Dimmu Borgir [Orchestra Only]—-Serving as almost an introduction to the proper song, the choir soars with a huge anthem style delivery that just sounds beautiful. The swells of voices, strings and movements are like a huge movie come to life. Magnificent.
Dimmu Borgir—-Perhaps one of my favorite tracks from the band as of late, this is delivered with a huge and intense grandiosity. As Shagrath takes his proper place at the microphone and urges the crowd toward mania, the Orchestra and choir keep pace with the venom remarkably well. This is even better than the original version of the song. I am enthralled and in love. The swells and huge string delivery with the backing choir all come together to create a perfect magnificent storm.
Chess With The Abyss—-This seems a bit more straight forward in delivery…the orchestration is there…but not overly pronounced. The vocal here is the powerful force….along with the lead guitar that is blistering fast. The choir does an incredible job with the backing vocal, but Shagrath is the star here…sounding driven and demonic.
Ritualist—-With sound effects and an almost gentle acoustic intro, the sound falls away to invite the mayhem to the center stage. The vocal from Shagrath just seems so comfortable with all the members of the choir and orchestra. This is an amazing endeavor and recording.
A Jewel Traced Through Coal—-Delivering an incredibly huge sound, the energy of the recording threatens my ears and speakers. The strings swell to an almost bursting apex. The vocal from Shagrath always front and center and never drowned by the band or all the other musicians on stage. The choir adds a back swell that makes the song so huge. Just incredible.
Eradication Instincts Defined [Orchestra Only]—-Jaunty and overblown, this is delivered with a lot of flourish and grand choir overtones. I like it….but I can take or leave this…it all has a same like quality to it.
Vredesbyrd—-Stepping out of the depths of hell with a vocal that that belies and grandiosity, this track is pure and simple classic Dimmu. You almost miss the overblown backdrop of the orchestra simply because the vocal is so aggressive. This is fantastic….the crowd seems literally out of their minds…and the participation in fantastic. A stand out track…I have not heard this song in a long time.
Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse—-Perhaps the most well known track from the band, I love the backdrop of the swells of music, but the choir can not even come close to replacing the soaring vocal of former member Vortex. This is a bit of a disappointment for me…..I just miss that classic clean vocal line.
The Serpentine Offering—-Perhaps my favorite track from In Sorte Diaboli, the orchestration here makes the sound and the energy seem even larger than could be imagined. The orchestration was always here on this song from the original…but here it becomes even larger. What surprises me is how Shagrath never loses the power of his vocal despite all that is going on. Just remarkable.
Fear And Wonder [Orchestra Only]—-Overblown and moody, this serves as a slight transition I suppose….but to me….it would be a lot to sit through…..
Kings Of The Carnival Creation—-Jetting into the back catalog for another fan favorite track, Shagrath sounds just as evil as he ever did….despite the delivery of the song. The buildup is maddening before the band truly kicks in….and for me, the song loses some of its venom in his setting. I like it….but I will take the original any day…..
Puritania—-Huge and incredible drums introduce this track…the distortion on the vocal adds to the credibility of the band. The sharp and quick bursts of music takes me back to the days when the Black Metal sound of Dimmu was more pure if you will. This is delivered with a nice energy…it is easy to remember the old days.
Mourning Place—-True in sound and delivered with just the right attitude and tone of venom this is just magnificent. I love the snarl that Shagrath delivers….backed by the higher tones of the choir…..it all comes together to create an incredible sound and energy.
Perfection Or Vanity [Orchestra Only]—-Ending what must have been a very long evening, this is delivered with the same beauty and intricacy as the opening track. This is certainly a journey all of it’s own. Now….it’s time for Dimmu to return to what they do best…….recording….please?
**** out of 5