Now a lot of black metal 'kvltists' don't like Dimmu Borgir
. They use a huge symphonic production, their albums never sound as if they've been produced in a forest and they've become almost mainstream; unthinkable for black metal ideology. But I've always been a big fan of the band, ever since a friend thrust 'Death Cult Armageddon
' into my hand and said 'LISTEN!!'
I first enjoyed symphonic black metal with Emperor
's 'Prometheus' album, followed by Cradle of Filth
's 'Cruelty and the Beast
albums are very powerful and complex in their sound, which drew me more into the black metal scene. I am now much more into the more minimalist, raw black metal of early Darkthrone
etc than I was, but I am still a big fan of this kind of thing. I'm a fan of bands being able to use instruments outside your general guitar, drums, bass, keyboards effectively, and Dimmu Borgir
for me have always managed to pull this kinda thing off expertly.
Spiritual Black Dimensions
, for me, is Dimmu Borgir
's best album. It may not contain my favourite tracks ('Puritania' and 'Progenies of the Great Apocalypse
' take the prize there) but it contains Dimmu's most consistently well written songs contained on one release. The bombastic power of 'The Insight & the Cartharsis' shows most symphonic black metal bands how to do it properly, while the steamrolling 'Behind the Curtains of Night
' displays the more black metal edge; less drama and more buzzsaw riffing. 'Dreamside Dominions' and 'The Promised Future Aeons
' are great examples about how putting melody into black metal doesn't necessarily mean that they have to be less aggressive, and the opening scream of 'Grotesquery Conceiled' and subsequent blasting show that the rawer, more extreme element has not left the band.
A personal highlight is the memorable 'Blazing Monoliths of Defiance', and the ominous, slow burning 'Arcane
', building from an atmospheric, clean intro into a full blown blast. With the tracks here, Dimmu Borgir
show that keyboards and synth/orchestra parts only benefit a piece if the music is properly arranged and the band shine through here. Each song is arranged to give the full power of each instrument its place. Shagrath's vocal work is also exceptional. He has an excellent raw black metal rasp that compliments the music but the clean vocals also fit in well with the more symphonic elements
A complex, well written work of quality of symphonic black metal, essential for fans of Emperor
and Cradle of Filth