Hi there, I’m back doing another review, and this time it’s one of my favorite albums from my favorite genre: Dimmu Borgir
’s For All Tid
Now, I know that there’s always been a big argument with fans about Dimmu Borgir
. The band is pretty much blacklisted and shunned in black metal culture, and it’s really unfortunate, because back from ’93-’97, their music really packed a wallop, both by metal standards and emotional standards. After getting my first taste of black metal with Dimmu Borgir
’s 2001 release Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropy, I decided to listen to Dimmu’s early music. What I discovered soon became my favorite sub-genre in metal: early Norwegian black metal. I was surprised that I didn't instantly hear the musical chaos I thought of when remembering songs like “Puritania” or “Hybrid Stigmata
”. What I heard was my first experience of black metal that was both tasteful and moving.
The album starts with something very rare to black metal: A melodic and mournful piano and keyboard song, accompanied by sad, clean vocals. It may not be traditional black metal yet, but it splendidly sets the tone: eerie, dark, and powerful. I remember that the first time hearing this (being 14 years old) I was shocked, but not disappointed. I remember hearing this song for the first time and thinking “Is this really Dimmu Borgir
Now, if you think from what I’ve written so far that Dimmu’s old music wasn’t “bad ass” or “heavy enough”, think again. The next song is “Under Korpens Vinger”, and it is the perfect precursor for the album and also one of my favorite black metal songs, right up there with “Dark Medieval
Times” by Satyricon
or “My Journey
to the Stars” by Burzum
. Stylistically, I think it’s in the same ballpark as "In the Nightside Eclipse
" or "Lunar Poetry". It has its great tremolo-picked guitar riffs, speedy and aggressive, as well as slow, calming sections of keyboard. Best of all, the vocals are done by Silonoz, raw and pure, and unlike the more recent Dimmu vocals, they are uncompromised by cheap vocal effects and sterilized production. The guitars (played by Tjodalv and Silonoz) do their job well, and considering that this is a debut album, they are very good. Shagrath does the drums, and this is the only album he did drums for, because he isn’t more than an average drummer. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of emphasis on the drums anyway, and they keep in the background most of the time.
This album does not try to over-impress, but instead keeps you interested in each song.
Each song on this album sets itself apart from the song previous, giving a wide range of ideas into the mix, from the mid-tempo title song to the medieval-styled “Stien”.
I love the theatrical approach utilized in this album. It isn’t at all cheesy like it is on Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
and onwards. The synths are subtle, gentle, or powerful, depending on the mood of the songs. I will say that if you’ve gotten used to the more recent Dimmu Borgir
albums before giving this a try, you won’t get used to it right away. For those not used to this album, I recommend starting with "Glittertind
”, a great instrumental that interlaces all the instruments and gives you a great, uplifting feeling that Dimmu Borgir
now seem incapable of demonstrating (I defy you to find a song on "In Sorte Diaboli
" that can lift you up like that).
As the album progresses, I get more and more into the atmosphere of the album. I always end up remembering my first thoughts of hearing this album and being entranced by how radically different it was from the new material. I would recommend this to any black metal hound that prefers the old Norwegian scene from the early and mid 90s to the garbage we keep hearing like Cradle of Filth
or the modern Dimmu Borgir
This is one of the too few albums where you hear Dimmu Borgir
as what they were meant to be. They weren’t afraid to create originality or make songs that were quiet and calm, and still stay within black metal boundaries. They're music was heavy, but it knew when to just take things slow. If Dimmu Borgir
had stayed a good black metal band, they would probably be my favorite band in the genre. This is the first true black metal album I every heard, and even now it remains one of my favorites. Rating: 18/20