Dimmu Borgir
Eonian


3.0
good

Review

by Xenorazr CONTRIBUTOR (120 Reviews)
May 5th, 2018 | 62 replies


Release Date: 05/04/2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A pretty face with an overabundance of makeup.

Dimmu Borgir are almost too easy to mock. Numerous traditional black metal fans regard them as an ill, distorted and ultimately sacrilegious version of their beloved genre (a little ironic if you think about it). What’s more, even the band’s diehard fanbase seems acutely aware of Dimmu Borgir’s overwhelmingly silly presentation, accepting them as the fun symphonic act they are. It may be peace of mind for simply enjoying the music, but it isn’t earning these Norwegians any credibility in the grand scheme of things. Ailing matters is the amount of time since Dimmu Borgir released their last relatively solid album; the 15-year gap between Death Cult Armageddon and the newly released Eonian was a half-empty glass with three mediocre albums (one a re-recording) and eight years of inactivity. This then begs the question of whether Shagrath and company would return to Dimmu Borgir with renewed creativity or a bad case of relapse.

Eonian itself is a spelling variant of aeonian, which means eternal and everlasting. If this is meant to represent a statement from the band, then it comes across rather confusedly, because Eonian is something of a grand mess. When the album opens with a vague, quasi-industrial prologue, one can’t help but feel immediately thrown off. Those five minutes leave us wondering if this is even the same Dimmu Borgir we’re used to, only to be thrust down memory lane with “Interdimensional Summit,” where the band’s old symphonic tricks come back in a full swing of bombastic glory. What ensues from this odd one-two combo is actually more of the same power play; Eonian is surprisingly prone to juggling sound black metal moments with over-the-top glamour, often simultaneously. Dimmu Borgir have had a history of easily digestible material, particularly from Enthrone Darkness Triumphant onward, and while Eonian doesn’t exactly spring to mind when one imagines challenging material, it does feel strangely mindful. “Council of Wolves and Snakes,” the album’s second single, is a handy demonstration of this, contrasting tribal drumming and chanting with accelerated guitar riffs for the chorus, all before resorting to a dramatic choir chant for the crescendo. It’s not particularly tactful, but to say it’s uninteresting would be pretty disingenuous.

That’s probably the best way to describe Eonian without going into detail: interesting, if a bit tactless. Hearing Dimmu Borgir experiment the way they have here, all while maintaining the faintest semblance of integrity is--if we’re being generous--refreshing. On a first-listen basis, Eonian manages to be just curious enough through its many transitions so as to keep you guessing ever so slightly. Revisiting the album ends up being more enjoyable, since you become acclimated to the many zealous moments, often involving some combination of keyboards, synthesizers or the aforementioned choir. That’s not to say these parts stop feeling misplaced or overused, but that the likelihood of tolerating them increases. So when tracks like “Lightbringer” and “The Empyrean Phoenix” open up with promise only to turn a whimsical eye less than two minutes in, the response becomes less of a snort and more of a resounding shrug. Things do get frustrating when tracks contain the preferred and less preferred elements at the same time, with “Alpha Aeon Omega” being a shining example thanks to its ominous core rhythm being matched by the once-again overdone choir. This is where Eonian will undoubtedly lose many of its potential suitors, not for a lack of effort or appealing elements, but for its ongoing insistence on decorating what should have been left alone in the first place. It’s a power play that permeates and ultimately defines the album, and while the results can be enjoyed to some extent, one can’t help but wish Dimmu Borgir practiced some moderation to keep their compulsive indulgences in check.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
May 5th 2018


1440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Threw this together in a couple hours while procrastinating on my workout. I feel kind of bad giving this the same grade as Abrahadabra, because it definitely has a lot more going for it. Maybe I'll knock that one down a bit.

Dmax28
May 5th 2018


695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I had like a transcendence experience with this album yesterday. I'd never listened to the band before and it hit me so good. Felt like a good balance of tones and pretty dynamic. Good flow through the album, felt like a story, but each track was pretty sweet on its own. I know part of it is that it hit me at the right time. It was the first day in probably 10 that I could sleep in till 8am and then when I got up, I put this album on with no expectations whatsoever, and did a workout. The album really grabbed me the whole way through. We will see where my rating stays, but yea I was pleased with this.



And I went and listened to Abrahadabra and only really liked a couple songs off that. I guess I have to check out more of their discography now.

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
May 5th 2018


1440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Everything up through Death Cult Armageddon is worth listening to.

Eakflanderyof
May 5th 2018


2680 Comments


I feel like this is getting a lot of reactionary low votes. Not that I think this album is amazing or anything... but it's definitely better than abbrahadabra. Probably gonna give this a 3 or 3.5. Probably would be a 4 without the ridiculous choir sections.

Egarran
May 5th 2018


13380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

At least this review is good.

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
May 5th 2018


1440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

lol

Azog
May 5th 2018


246 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

complete and utter crap

cloakanddagger
May 5th 2018


346 Comments


Haven't bothered listening to any of this band's material past Death Cult Armageddon.

ColonelWang
May 5th 2018


83 Comments


I feel like this is getting a lot of reactionary low votes (2) This album is all over the place for sure, but that being said, it's not all that bad. I'd say around a 3-3.5.

zaruyache
May 6th 2018


21418 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I feel like this album is getting a lot of objective low votes because it's bad.

Digging: Death Toll 80k - Step Down

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 6th 2018


10450 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album is getting low votes because it’s worthy of them. Unlike this review which is ace.

DJPaulsGimpArm
May 6th 2018


56 Comments


Couldn't have said it better. Well done. If I were to review this album I would say pretty much the same things.

Ebola
May 6th 2018


3670 Comments


This is aggressively, offensively boring

HailSuffo
May 6th 2018


34 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

More interesting than their last couple albums, but it feels like a pop-infused version of Death Cult.

Jasdevi087
May 6th 2018


5752 Comments


Xenorazr takes them swimming on the first date

XfingTheSullen
May 6th 2018


4436 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Welp, gonna have to listen to it.

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
May 6th 2018


1440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

@Jasdevi087: Next best option to bedding them.

TheClansman95
May 6th 2018


2266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll listen to it later. But I expect it to be bad. The two singles were sh*t

XfingTheSullen
May 6th 2018


4436 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ok, so the melodies on this are super pretty, among their best in ages, and surprisingly enough, they don't feel too derivative compared to their earlier material. What's killing me though is their refusal to play heavy. The blast beats, what little of them there is, are super low in the production, barely audible, as if they were afraid of turning away radio-oriented listeners. The emotional load of the songs suffers because they're so adamantly refusing to unleash their full fury.



Oh, and Alpha Aeon Omega is probably the best track off this, too bad it sounds lik a watered down version of what Keep of Kalessin has been doing for years now, lol

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 6th 2018


10450 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Needs moar rage



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