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While pledging a return to their more traditional sound after the electronics of Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, Dimmu Borgir return with a full symphony. Does bigger make better? Not necessarily. When Blind Guardian made A Night At The Opera, it worked. When Manowar made Kings of Metal, it worked. When Dimmu Borgir made DCA, it didn't work. Mainly because they used a symphony as a substitute for good songwriting. The songs sound flashy at first, until you realized you are listening to a turd spraypainted gold. It looks good at first, but the paint soon slides off, and you realize this is the same old subpar dimmu borgir, and the album lacks merit just like the previous 3 albums.
As noted on PEM, Galder's riffs are rather stale and boring, and can be smelled from a mile away. They stray away from the purpose of having the symphony there, with rather pointless amelodic riffs that, although they sound fancy, still revolve around basic modal chords that even 2nd year piano students know about. The first song is completely forgettable, with forgettable riffs, and seems to follow the recent DB pattern that they deviated from very few times: Opening melody, unrelated blastfest, different melody, unrelated blastfest, faux-epic ending. The second song, the all too known and extremely overrated Progenies... lacks any feeling. You are at first stunned by the symphonic elements, until you realize that, again, it's the same chord being played over. and over. and over. An important note is that it's still basic heavy metal, but with a symphonic lining. Most songs on this album are extremely forgettable, and lack any sense of musical feeling. Even the supposed "tr00" Norwegian songs lack the sense of musical feeling that permeated Stormblaast. The latter opens with a horrid riff that is a simple heavy metal riff accompanied by drums that are fast, but lack a reason for being so- maybe simply to distract from the uninspired songwriting, or to simply fill space. The song titles sound clever, but mean nothing, just like most of their recent albums. As almost any DB album is full of more merit than this album, and this album is simply a retread of better days, as if they forgot how to be good. The supposed epic, Unorthodox Manifesto, drags on without purpose, and meanders along without purpose.