Dimmu Borgir

For All Tid

Dimmu Borgir - For All Tid ©1994 Nuclear Blast
1. Det Nye Riket
2. Under Korpens Vinger
3. Over Bleknede Blader Til Dommedag
4. Stien
5. Glittertind
6. For All Tid
7. Hunnerkongens Ferd Over Steppene
8. Raabjørn Speiler Drangheimens Skodde
9. Den Gjemte Sannhets Hersker
10. Inn I Evighetens Mørke Part I
11. Inn I Evighetens Mørke Part II

Hmm. For All Tid is just one of those incredibly generic records that just sorta hangs in the balance, neither being horrendous nor praiseworthy. Listening to it becomes a test of patience as you keep waiting for that one moment where the band steps outside mediocrity but it nearly doesn't happen at any point. For All Tid is Dimmu Borgir's debut (reissued version, in this case) and frankly nothing to be very excited over. The songs strive for atmospheric quality via keyboard but never quite get to the point where you think, "Say, this is pretty darned nifty." In turn, the band sacrifices energy for the melancholy vibe. Not a good combo by any means. The guitars are thin and underproduced and vocally, well, Dimmu Borgir has never had good vocals at any point. I could see current Dimmu Borgir fans picking up this digipack to see where this band got their start but they'd all be better off starting out with Stormblast which refined the band's sound immensely.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1999

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Dimmu Borgir - Stormblast ©1995 Cacophonous
1. Alt Lys Er Svunnet Hen
2. Broderskapets Ring
3. Nar Sjelen Hentes Til Helvete
4. Sorgens Kammer
5. Da Den Kristne Satte Livet Til
6. Stormblast
7. Dodsferd
8. Antikrist
9. Vinder Fra En Ensom Grav
10. Guds Fortapelse - Apenbaring Av Dommedag

Dimmu Borgir has basically become the litmus test in black metal to determine your Trueness Value®. To be a True fan of the genre, you are not allowed to enjoy the works of Dimmu Borgir as they are the epitome of sell-out - well, at least according to prevailing thought. While a band like Metallica may have actually set aside their original values to develop their musical careers, a band like Dimmu Borgir will never be selling platinum worldwide. To me it seems almost absurd to suggest any band at this level is going commercial. There is little or no chance that a Celine Dion fan is going to crossover to Dimmu Borgir anytime soon.

Regardless of all that fluff, Dimmu Borgir has actually had its moments of quality. On Stormblast, their heavily symphonic black metal is very impressive and highly enjoyable. Naturally, you're not going to find much akin with Burzum or Darkthrone here. Dimmu Borgir relies heavily on keyboard arrangements, piano, and sweeping epic passages to create their music. The result is an often beautiful flowing and mildly chaotic album. Aside from the rather tepid vocals, you could almost suggest D.B. is a pleasant band to hear. The more impressive pieces are the keyboard passages, such as "Sorgens Kammer", which has a large symphonic atmosphere. What does bog the album down are many similar tempos between songs and a reliance on the same elements to create each song. By the end of the album, Stormblast no longer directly involves the listener; instead it becomes background music. Regardless, it is still the best of the lot for Dimmu Borgir that I've heard. Worth digging up if you have an inclination for keyboard heavy black metal with a gothic edge.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/1999

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Enthrone Darkness Triumphant

Dimmu Borgir - Enthrone Darkness Triumphant ©1997 Nuclear Blast
1. Mourning Palace
2. Spellbound (By The Devil)
3. In Death's Embrace
4. Relinquishment Of Spirit And Flesh
5. The Night Masquerade
6. Tormentor Of Christian Souls
7. Entrance
8. Master Of Disharmony
9. Prudence's Fall
10. A Succubus In Rapture

Few albums have induced as much polarity and dissention within the metal community as Dimmu Borgir's Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. Is it, or is it not black metal? That is the question most often asked, and your answer may be different from mine. But in our efforts to find a solution, we often lose sight of a more relevant question: is it good, or is it not good? And while the "true" black metal faction will claim otherwise, I regard EDT as a consistently strong and decent piece of work. The album opens with the killer track "Mourning Palace," a song that develops nicely from start to finish; other samples of superior songwriting include "In Death's Embrace" and "Master of Disharmony." Lyrically, the band speaks of Satan early and often - let's just say nobody's going to appoint Shagrath poet laureate anytime soon.

Unlike the band's more primitive Norwegian brethren, Dimmu Borgir create a menacing atmosphere, not through a second-rate production, but through the manipulation of entrancing keyboard melodies and harmonies. The keyboards on "Spellbound (By the Devil)" create nicely contrasting moods that could never be achieved by a band like Mayhem. On the other hand, the band's guitar riffs are more akin to those of traditional heavy metal bands than to the minimalistic thrash rhythms frequently found in extreme black metal. One can almost describe them as catchy. Shagrath's screeches are typical of the scene, nothing unusual. Again, it is the keyboards that give the album its extra dimension; it is the keyboards that take the band to the next level. If Dimmu aren't the first black metal act to bring the keys to the forefront of their music, then they are the band that brought the instrument widespread usage within the scene. Although I am not as enthusiastic about this album as I was when I first heard it, Enthrone Darkness Triumphant is still worth a listen now and then.

Review by Jeffrey Shyu

Review date: 08/1999

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Godless Savage Garden

Dimmu Borgir - Godless Savage Garden ©1998 Nuclear Blast
1. Moonchild Domain
2. Hunnerkongen
3. Chaos Without Prophecy
4. Raabjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde
5. Metal Heart
6. Stormblast (live)
7. Master Of Disharmony (live)
8. In Death's Embrace (live)

Note to band playing extreme forms of music with rabid fanbases: whatever you do, don't ever say aloud that you would like to make a career out of your band. Or suggest you'd like to earn a living from playing music. Now if you were to ask any musician anywhere and he/she were to be honest, they all would secretly love to be able to survive comfortably off their music and especially if they were playing what they truly wanted.

Norway's Dimmu Borgir committed underground suicide by stating they wanted to be a career band. Just check out internet newsgroups sometime to see the constant abuse the band takes. Personally I don't give a rat's fanny if a band wants to make a living off doing something they enjoy. All that matter is the quality. So with that in mind, I took to listening to D.B. with no preconceptions of what they are about. Overall I must report this isn't too bad of an album, even though it's mainly studio outtakes, a cover, and three live tracks. D.B.'s sound here can be described as a mix of black metal influence meeting atmospheric dark metal that is predominately the rage in less underground metal circles. Obviously the black metal styled vocals are going to pin them to their roots but the keyboard symphonetics as well as more rock n roll styled riffing is what puts them into a new category. In my opinion, they are best when they simply just rock out, as they do on the awesome cover of Accept's "Metal Heart" or "Hunnerkongen". "Chaos Without Prophecy" is more symphonic than other songs, though it really tends to come off as too proggy for D.B.'s overall sound. The three live tracks are a little more black metal based, as they do "Stormblast" and "Master of Disharmony" with blast beats reigning supreme. But the crowd noise sounds a little too faked to be convincing. Regardless, D.B. has enough shining moments to capture my overall interest. Naturally the black metal community from whence they came will never defer another moment's respect, so hopefully they will be able to harness strong enough musicianship down the line to interest the rest of us.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/1998

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Spiritual Black Dimensions

Dimmu Borgir - Spiritual Black Dimensions ©1999 Nuclear Blast
1. Reptile
2. Behind The Curtains Of Night--Phantasmagoria
3. Dreamside Dominions
4. United In Unhallowed Grace
5. The Promised Future Aeons
6. The Blazing Moonlight Of Defiance
7. The Insight And The Catharsis
8. Grotesquery Conceiled (within Measureless Magic)
9. Arcane Lifeforce Mysteria

Currently serving the position of black metal's whipping boys, Dimmu Borgir has resurfaced with a rather tepid affair that has met both raves and critical pans, all depending on who you talk to. Personally I have listened to this album at least a dozen times and not once has it really stood out in any significant way. Judging by what I've heard from this rather unstable band (their lineup changes seem to happen daily), the slower and more atmospheric keyboard drenched Stormblast was their high point and their attempts to speed things up have only caused the music to rapidly become commonplace, not groundbreaking. Dimmu Borgir is in such a speed frenzy that much of the music blurs together. The keyboards, which dominated Stormblast, have been buried in the mix far too much for their own good. Vocally, Shagrath does little to add to the music. After all, we've all heard black metal rasps before. Only when guest vocalist Simen Hestnaes adds his unique throat do the vocals work for me (see the very good "The Insight and the Catharsis"). Essentially I'd rather hear Borknagar, ...And Oceans or any number of other black metal bands with a keyboard before putting on Spiritual Black Dimensions. It's a shame, really, since this band does contain a lot of talent overall. If only they didn't try so hard to be brutal and over the top then their skills would shine.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1999

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Sons Of Satan Gather For Attack [split]

Dimmu Borgir - Sons Of Satan Gather For Attack [split] ©1999 Hammerheart
Dimmu Borgir:
1. Master Of Disharmony
2. Devil's Path
3. Nocturnal Fear
4. Nocturnal Fear (Celtically Possessed)
Old Man's Child:
5. St. Aidens Fall
6. Seeds Of The Ancient Gods
7. Manet Sorgfull Igjennom Skogen
8. The Old Man's Child
9. ...Og Jeg Iakttok Dødsrikets Inntog

Pairing up a couple early recordings by two similiar Norwegian bands, Hammerheart Records has done us the favor of perfectly comparing and contrasting two of the better known keyboard oriented black metal bands. Perhaps the most notable thing about this album is the fact that Old Man's Child comes across as the minor leagues for Dimmu Borgir and considering Old Man's Child band leader Galder has recently ended up in Dimmu Borgir, you can sense Galder has spent years hoping for his chance to play in that band. But up until that glorious day when the majors came calling, Galder has been plying his wares for that second string band.

This split CD with one of the all time corniest titles (Sons of Satan Gather for Attack? How juvenile) does very little to excite, although a couple of the songs are well done. Dimmu Borgir's half, from their 1996 Devil's Path EP, contains precisely one interesting song (the title track), one representative of their sound at the time ("Master of Disharmony") and two by-the-numbers versions of Celtic Frost's "Nocturnal Fear". Having not one, but two versions of that song does nothing but add weariness to their part of the album.

Old Man Child's half is nothing particularly revolutary. Despite the claim in the liner notes that they "maintain their own style", Old Man's Child still comes across as Dimmu Borgir Jr. here, tossing around a midpaced, unenthused form of keyboard oriented black metal. It is competent at best, but hardly something demanding I rush out to adorn myself with Old Man's Child sweatshirts and baseball caps. This is a band who fills the need of those genre fanatics who simply cannot get their fill of the given style. The rest of us can live without this just fine, thank you very much.

Overall, this split CD might save you the trouble of having to track down the two EPs individually. That's assuming either product is particularly vital to your existence. And that's a huge assumption. As it stands, Dimmu Borgir's only necessary release is still Stormblast and the same album applies for Old Man's Child.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2000

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Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia

Dimmu Borgir - Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia ©2001 Nuclear Blast
1. Fear And Wonder
2. Blessings Upon The Throne Of Tyranny
3. Kings Of The Carnival Creation
4. Hybrid Stigmata - The Apostasy
5. Architecture Of A Genocidal Nature
6. Puritana
7. IndoctriNation
8. The Maelstrom Mephisto
9. Absolute Sole Right
10. Sympozium
11. Perfection Or Vanity

Somewhere along the line, Dimmu Borgir stopped being a promising, ever-evolving black metal band and became almost as predictable as Iron Maiden. Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia was poised to break that spell and finally offer interesting new elements, namely a real string ensemble and new black metal stars in the lineup.

Sadly, while not unpleasant, listening to Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia is an utter waste of time. There is absolutely nothing new about the metal parts, considering that the "new" clean vocal parts are straight out of Borknagar. Most of the string parts are embarrassingly simplistic, considering what could be done with strings in black metal (think Bartók) and the handful of good ideas that can be heard are directly stolen from Arcturus' La Masquerade Infernale, down to the Kurt Weill-inspired keyboard parts and slower breaks.

Admittedly, the string intro is actually a nice piece, but hardly enough to warrant the purchase of the whole album. If you already own a Borknagar album, Arcturus' La Masquerade Infernale, and one previous Dimmu Borgir album, only a completist's obsessiveness or an inexplicable need to support the Borgir family could compel you to buy this album. And if you don't own those other albums, you probably should.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 03/2001

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Stormblåst MMV

Dimmu Borgir - Stormblåst MMV ©2005 Nuclear Blast
1. Alt Lys Er Svunnet Hen
2. Broderskapets Ring
3. Når Sjelen Hentes Til Helvete
4. Sorgens Kammer – Del II
5. Da Den Kristne Satte Livet Til
6. Stormblåst
7. Dødsferd
8. Antikrist
9. Vinder Fra En Ensom Grav
10. Guds Fortapelse—Åpenbaring Av Dommedag
11. Avmaktslave

The first sign of a band in trouble is when they feel compelled to entirely rerecord one of their best albums a decade later. Case in point is Dimmu Borgir and their revamping of 1996's Stormblåst. For my money, the original edition is still by far the band's best effort and something they'll likely never top.

Particularly with this absolutely superfluous re-recording.

I simply can't understand the motivation to completely redo an album, especially in the case where the original had no flaws in the first place. Granted, the original Stormblåst has some production aspects common with most extreme metal released in the mid 90s, but not exactly to a detrimental effect. The 2005 version of Dimmu Borgir, distilled down to mainstays Silly-Nose, er, Silenoz and Shagrath, includes guest keyboardist Mustis and known drummer for hire Hellhammer. Although a decade of heavy touring and hard work undoubtedly have improved the musicianship of Silenoz and Shagrath, the do-over fails on many, many levels. First, it's not as though the original edition was completely out of print and impossible for fans to find. The Cacophonous version is indeed a bit hard to track down, but Century Media reissued it in 2002. Second, much of the charm and winning aspects of the original version are completely buried here. The original energy captured in the first recording far exceeds this by-rote run through. The new version sounds a bit like a Dimmu Borgir tribute band given a big studio budget. Despite having a "better" sound quality, there's nothing about the new recording that outshines the first.

Whatever the motivation of the band for re-recording the album, it is truly unnecessary to get a copy of this. In fact, it's a bit insulting to charge their fans money for a product like this when the original is considerably better. Most likely the band had writer's block for a new album and figured this was a quick and easy way to make a few bucks in the meantime. No matter what, you don't need a copy.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2008

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