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Like every band, Dimmu Borgir's style has progressed over the years. However, few are aware of simply how drastic a change it was. Those familiar with nothing other then their newest release Death Cult Armageddon
are not only missing out on an interesting experience, but can’t say they truly know Dimmu Borgir. Before developing into their current extreme symphonic sound, they played melodic black metal. The transition between the two sounds yielded some intriguing results; the apex of which is their third album, Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
, an album that combines memorable melodies, intense atmospheres, and the ideal amounts of extreme metal into this Norwegian outfit's finest release to date.
Though no Borgir album has ever exactly mimicked the sound heard here, the style they play should be familiar to many. The symphonic manner of playing is here in full force while the melodies are somber and unforgettable. To get the best feel of what Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
sounds like, imagine Stormblast
or For All Tid
thinking they're Dusk and Her Embrace
with Shagrath's vocals atop the sound. This is merely an external view of what the album holds; there is much to be discovered within, and it will be a ride worth venturing upon for those unfamiliar. This is Dimmu Borgir's conversion album. Here, they are no longer black metal in any way. Their band logo has been discarded in favor of a more plain text, and all songs are in English. While many find this useful in making the album accessible, I find it to be somewhat of a let down. To me, taking on a more North American appearance hinders what the band is truly about.
The main focus of the album is on melodic atmosphere. To emphasize this style to its full extent, keyboards were played like a lead instrument. Guitars are often used simply as rhythm while Stian leads the song’s sound in the desired direction. From the intro of Mourning Palace
to the main melody of Raabjørn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde
it is clear just how crucial the keys are to Dimmu Borgir's signature sound. The breaking point for their modern albums is how the orchestral arrangements overshadow the metal aspect of their sound. While Death Cult Armageddon
seemed as though it was a satanic symphony with metal thrown in as an afterthought, this album was clearly extreme metal. The guitars shine and accent the keys of Stian greatly on songs such as the tremolo picking of Mourning Palace
and the soloing of In Death’s Embrace
. Once again, the heavier metal aspects of their founding is shown on songs such as Master of Disharmony
and Tormentor of Christian Souls
Much emotion is thrown into their characteristic music. None stands out to me more than In Death's Embrace
, in which the piano drives a flurry of guitar into a solo 4:14 into the song. The vocals are forceful and somber to contest the music. The solo of Master of Disharmony
is the album's throwback to traditional heavy metal, and a great way to contribute to such a release. Darkness and shadows cloak the mystic being of Prudence's Fall
, a song in which the black mist grasps the freezing waters just as the black flanks the night.
Listening to Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
makes me disappointed in what Dimmu Borgir has come. As their best album, it would be unreasonable to expect them to release something this good every two years or so. But to look at what they once did and could've built upon makes one honestly wonder about why the abandoned this style so soon in favor of their later approach. Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
hit me like no other. After hearing their latest music, I was convinced that Dimmu Borgir was a waste of my time. But after giving this a fair listen and noticing the major strengths of it, I was convinced that the early days of Dimmu Borgir stand as a testament to the system of evolution bands go through, as one of the premier examples of untimely glory.
- Mourning Palace
- Spellbound (By the Devil)
- In Death's Embrace
- A Succubus in Rapture
- Excellent focus of melody and atmosphere
- Instruments played tastefully
- Memorable, diverse songs
- Melody/atmosphere may be tiring after a while
- Somewhat linear at times
- Occasionally lacks memorable melody through atmosphere