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After recruiting Nagash and putting Shagrath on vocals and keyboards, besides lead guitars, this small E.P. came to surface. For me, it became clear that Shagrath's songwriting input was dominating at this stage, with his screaming vocals, traditional metal influences, aggressive riffs and, of course, the satanic unsubtle lyrics. Long gone are now "Raabjorn Speiler" and "Hunnerkonges" – styled themes, folk melodies and bleak atmospheres. I can relate the songs on this album only with "Glittertind" or "Vinder fra en ensom grav", in which, of course, Shagrath's influence is obvious.
But enough comparisons! "Devil's Path" and "Master of Disharmony" are songs that stand on their own and represent a different approach on black metal than other bands attempted in the same period. There are no gothic or death metal influences; only the afore-mentioned heavy metal passages in "Master of Disharmony", especially on the middle part, with the solo. The same song has a very unusual intro, reminding someone of Negură Bunget, because of the use of semantron, an instrument used mainly for religious processions; curiously, it fits because the lyrics are a worship praise of the Lord itself (the dark one; who did you think?).
The title track is more traditional black metal, with keyboards acting as background for the guitar riffs. Occasionally, the listener will hear passionate screaming, nowhere near the technical and dry croaks of an old smoker of today, or some flashing around with the guitar, when Shagrath has a short guitar solo near the end of the song or uses tapping to end on a high note. One think I regret is that this song is not played anymore and since its re-recording in 2000, it’s completely forgotten. Shame on you, Dimmu Borgir!
The covers or, more correctly speaking, the cover is from Celtic Frost and it stays true to the original. I don't really like the vocals, as they are too forced, but they don't ruin the song. The production sucks and it should have made the guitars more powerful and, also, the cover art is cool in its simplicity, but irrelevant to the theme of the mini-album.
In the end, this release it's good for its historical value (band wise, not genre wise), as a transition faze in the career of the band, but also for the intro of "Master of Disharmony", the presence of solos in every song (more than in any album since Galder arrived), the powerful vocals and the honesty of the musicianship in every department. There is also a naive approach on heavy metal that may create a nostalgia feeling on the listener. So, if you can find it, hear it, but don't expect Stormblast or Death Cult Armageddon here.
I have been a Dimmu Borgir fan for some time now and one really remarkable point in their band history is the ongoing changing of the sound. This EP for the first time shown up the more agressive side of Dimmu Borgir in its full power. Even though this EP has a quite bad production (in my opinion the worst of their releases) it doesn´t loose its majestic and dark sound, which we know of Dimmu borgir.
The type of playing seen from the other part has changed since "For all tid" and "Stormblåst", the long melodic piano/keyboard parts were exchanged with harsh, but still melodic guitar riffs, and because Shagrath is now doing the vocals it sounds more "hellish" then ever before.
The EP starts up with an earlier version of "Master of disharmony" (It is going to be rerecordet for "Enthrone darkness Triumphant" in 1997). The track has a synthesizer intro, but the song itself starts up with the like a command sounding "Sons of satan, gather for attack!" scream by Shagrath, continued by a very heavy guitar riff. The best sounding part of song though must be the guitar solo, one of Dimmu´s most impressive solos. All in all I prefer this version for the rerecordet one on Enthrone Darkness Triumphant; its also this version they usually play live.
Devil´s Path, the title track starts up with a harsh guitar and a not changing piano part in the background. After its 1st and 2nd verse there is a fantastic keyboard riff which is followed by Shagrath´s voice in perfect, dark harmony. This part is continued by the starting piano part and followed by a powerful guitar solo. I would surely count this track to one of Dimmu Borgir´s finest and of course the best of this EP.
The two covers of Nocturnal fear didn´t impress me that much, I can´t really judge on them since I haven´t heard the original version by Celtic frost. All in all though they make a good fade out of this absolutely important EP.
Nowadays its not to easy to get a original version of this release but I recommend everyone who gets the chance, buy it, you won´t regret!