Review Summary: The sonic soundscape of the original has been improved considerably.
There was a brief period between 1997 and 2003 when Dimmu Borgir could do no wrong. It was during this period they released their four best albums – Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
, Spiritual Black Dimensions
, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
, and Death Cult Armageddon
. Of the four, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
was arguably the best and undisputedly the most significant due to a series of firsts. Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
was the first album to feature new bassist ICS Vortex (Borknagar, Arcturus) and he brought with him the ability to provide clean vocals. The was also the first album to feature Galder (Old Man’s Child) and his excellent riffs, which immediately pushed Dimmu Borgir’s sound to another level. Puritanical…
was also the first Dimmu Borgir album to feature an actual orchestra instead of keyboard approximations. Less significant in the grand scheme, but significant to this album, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
was also the first album to feature Nick Barker of Cradle of Filth on drums. Unfortunately, despite its significance, it also suffered from some questionable production choices.
The most glaring issue was the overarching shrillness of the album. The high end of Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
was simply overwhelming with the drums, keyboards, vocals, and guitars all battling for the same small bit of sonic real estate. It almost felt like they were trying for a more raw, conventional, black metal production while still maintaining a crystal-clear sound for the more casual fan. If that was their goal, they mostly achieved it, but at a price. Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
’s original production made for a very harsh listen at higher volumes and crammed a lot of the instruments into a small aural space. The Remixed and Remastered version fixes these issues by providing a full sounding sonic palette and moving the various instruments back to their respective positions. The drums and guitars pick up the low end they were so lacking, which allows the symphonic elements to be lower in the mix while providing more clarity than they previously had, which leaves the vocals and guitar leads as the only elements still occupying those higher registers.
While listening to this version I was able to pick up a lot of symphonic elements that were buried on the original album. While I didn’t hear anything new per se, I was also able to hear the riffs better because they weren’t battling for space with the vocals, drums, and keyboards / symphonic elements. Most importantly, the drums being moved back in the mix and picking up some bottom end has put a stop to the incessant typewriter sound that dominated the original album. Quite honestly, moving directly from the original album to the updated version is like night and day as far as ease of listening. In fact, the remixed album almost sounds muddy in comparison when moving back and forth between versions, but it is a fleeting impression that is gone as soon as your ears adjust. The Remixed and Remastered album also features a second album nicknamed Dust of Cold Memories
which is essentially demos, rehearsals, and pre-production tracks from back in the day.
I’ve always liked Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
, but always had a hard time listening to it. The shrill sound of the production coupled with an endless clicking from the drums made it unappealing except on very rare occasions. Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia (Remixed and Remastered
fixes those issues. The sonic soundscape of the original has been improved considerably, adding bottom end to the instruments that lacked it, and providing space where before there was just a wall of high end shrill. Whether the new sound appeals to long time fans will depend on how accustomed to the original they’ve become. Personally, I never appreciated Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
’s sound but loved the music. Either way, if you enjoyed the original sound, it’s still worth listening to Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia (Remixed and Remastered
for the new elements you may pick up. If you didn’t enjoy its sound, maybe this is finally your chance to enjoy one of Dimmu Borgir’s best releases.