Do you know the feeling when an album seems to go on and on forever? Even if you don’t doubt the musicianship of the band, and objectively seen they’ve done wonders. But it just gets boring.
This more or less describes my experience with Dimmu Borgir’s 2003 album, ‘Death Cult Armageddon’. I could see how grand the Norwegians had become, how perfect everything was, but for a mere mortal like myself who demands some form of accessibility, it was difficult to get into the album, and in the end, I just didn’t.
Last year’s revamping of ‘Stormblast’ was in many ways unnecessary, but then again, it was a way for Dimmu Borgir to get down to earth again and listen to the stuff they came from way back when. A healthy exercise, by the look of it.
The much anticipated ‘In Sorte Diaboli’ has turned out a lot more accessible to mere mortals like myself, who’re not so much into over-complex music – hell, it’s even fun at times, with horns and stuff resounding. The album has a lightness that is hard to put a finger on in terms of origins, but perhaps it just stems from a band that enjoy what they’re doing and really allow the metal to flow in its purity – in a way they in my view haven’t done since ‘Enthrone Darkness Triumphant’?
As usual Shagrath’s sandpaper voice dominates, but the successful incorporation of clean vocals is also present. Hellhammer beats the shit out of the drums and proves yet again that he’s one of the mightiest behind the kit. Silenoz and Galder leave no-one in doubt that they master the six strings, both for razor sharp black metal riffing as well as for pounding out heavy as fuck rhythms along with bassist Vortex.
More epic elements with sounds of riding horses, flames and village noises are used in The Fallen Arises and The Foreshadowing Furnace, two of the perhaps most atmospheric tracks of the album. Mustis behind the keyboard has not overdone the electronic backdrop, but leaves it at a level where it blends in naturally.
My hope for this year’s Wacken Open Air is that Dimmu Borgir will not be left with the three o’clock in the morning spot as they were in 2001. It was damned hard to stay awake - but this time around I don’t want to miss the great material from the new album!