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Sounds Fine To Me! - 90%

corviderrant, February 24th, 2004

Amazing what a year or two will do for a band in that it will either see them change radically or refine their sound or not even change at all. Dimmu fall into the last two categories with this album, which is actually not altogether a bad thing. After the usual grandiose intro, which is much shorter this time than last album, opener “Allegiance” kicks into super-speed mode as only the (now-departed) Nick Barker can deliver, goes into a variety of tempo changes within the first two minutes of the song, and drags you right into what follows. Which is a good, strong, well-written album of black metal with their usual, dare I say it, highly intelligent satanic lyrics. That is one thing I really like about Dimmu is that they do not resort to the usual overdone satanic claptrap most black metal bands use in their lyrics; they actually take time to write lyrics that have substance.

They really sound like a unit on this album too, and it shows in the coherent yet complex song structures, and the symphony orchestra they hired on this album really adds an extra dimension of depth and substance to their long tunes. While long and involved, the tunes are also very involving, they draw you in before even know it.

The production this time around is better too, thicker and fuller, with a meaty bass guitar, and ICS Vortex really plays his ass off, too, as well as contributing his usual fine clean vocals—he really has a sound of his own which I happen to really like. Even the kick drums are not as obnoxiously triggered as last time around, and the snare drum is louder in the mix, so Nick’s drum kit finally sounds balanced, as opposed to last time when all you heard was constant annoying clicking kick drums and machinegun toms. Of course, it can be argued that all he is is hyper-fast and machinelike (he is), but he still has his own unique character to his playing.

Call them whatever you want, Dimmu Borgir are veterans and have earned their stripes, and the right to do whatever the hell they want, and I am pleased with the direction their music took from “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” onward—the English language lyrics, the increased musical ability, the faster and more aggressive tempos, the increase of depth and dimension in the music. Some would call them consistent, some unimaginative; I call them excellent and high quality. All you “tr00 kvlt” types out there can go listen to whatever trendy ultra underground noisemakers are in this month and whine about how Dimmu are sellouts all you want—y’all are just player haters. So pull out “For All Tid” and shut up already, I say.