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When Dimmu Borgir used to be great... - 89%

Hellish_Torture, September 6th, 2014

Dimmu Borgir is probably one of the most overrated pseudo-black metal acts of the current “extreme” metal scene. They’re revered as one of the greatest bands ever to mix black metal (black metal? Sure?) and symphonic/orchestral elements. Well, to be honest... listening to albums like “Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia”, “Death Cult Armageddon” and “In Sorte Diaboli”, I have just found a little, basic formula: little chunks of decent (more or less) black metal, awkwardly mixed with many pompous and overused orchestral parts and many inconsistent pseudo-half-thrash parts. They’re constantly put in competition with their British “cousins” Cradle of Filth, considered by most “true blacksters” as goth faggy clowns because of their “gothic” sound and their laughable pseudo-goth image. But, well, Dimmu Borgir may have a more “tr00 satanic black” image, but most of their music is still inconsistent and far from being what people call “tr00 black metal”, and however their “satanic image” is clearly fake and commercial, resulting to be even more ridiculous and poser than Cradle of Filth’s goth image.

But, well, stop complaining about how much Dimmu Borgir is overrated nowadays: let’s do a huge jump backwards in 1994, when black metal was at its most shining moment, especially in its homeland Norway. You all know that, at that time, there was a cult scene of great bands like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Emperor, Burzum, Gorgoroth, Enslaved, Satyricon, Immortal, Carpathian Forest, Thorns... and between all these honorable names, there was also a newborn band called Dimmu Borgir, which used to play a very personal form of symphonic black metal, developing a quite different sound from the rest of the scene. Yeah, Dimmu Borgir used to be a great band, back in the day. Their first three full-lengths are actually brilliant examples of how to mix real melodic black metal with beautiful symphonic elements. Emperor were the inventors of symphonic black metal (with their monumental, occult masterpiece called “In the Nightside Eclipse”, still the peak of the genre) and Dimmu Borgir managed to bring this new genre to a different, interesting form, with more external influences and a more “atmospheric” approach. So, their first full-length “For All Tid” was born.

Take note: this album is largely different from early Emperor albums, which keep an evil and totally dark atmosphere in the vein of “classic” black metal bands like Mayhem. “For All Tid” is absolutely more melodic and suffused. Dimmu Borgir’s black metal is a “melancholic” kind of black metal, a sort of mixture between Burzum’s slowest and most “depressive” episodes and the most “melodic” ideas of Emperor’s first full-length (very different from the kind of stuff that Shagrath used to play in his old primitive black metal band Fimbulwinter, more in the vein of Darkthrone and Bathory). The “symphonic” component includes huge influences from medieval, romantic and norwegian folklore. This is a very experimental sound, but it works fucking well and doesn’t sound “dumb” or “pompous” at all. I don’t see why many people define this album “immature”, “ridiculous” and “overdone”. This is not “Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia”, where all the ideas are thrown randomly without a minimum logic sense. The symphonic parts of this album aren’t grotesque fillers put there just to mask the lack of good metal stuff, but they actually build up real, intense, epic and melancholic atmospheres, organically mixed with valid metal riffs. No matter if the album sounds “immature”... I find these songs to be very coherent, cohesive and well-composed, the total opposite of what Dimmu Borgir would have become in the future.

So, the riffs here are very melodic and have a somewhat decadent feel. The best ones are on “Glittertind”, “Under korpens vinger” (supported by some excellent guitar harmonies), and “Den gjemte sannhets hersker” (truth be told, that one is a pretty old school riff). Given the desolate atmosphere of the album, rhythms tend to be mostly slow or mid-paced, but we have some very good blast-beats, more often in the classic black metal vein, but sometimes also in a “thrashier” way, like on “Raabjørn speiler draugheimens skodde” (very reminiscent of primitive stuff like Motorhead and Venom), or some parts of “Den gjemte sannhets hersker”. Another particularity of this album is that Shagrath isn’t the lead vocalist: he does some backing vocals here and there, but the lead vocals are performed by Silenoz. Now, I can’t discern who sings what, but I think that these vocals are far better than usual, for the band’s standards. You can hear some really tortured screams (like on “Glittertind”) and some very raw, primitive and “necro” raspy growls, and also the spoken parts are very suggestive. On “Over bleknede blåner til dommedag”, a clean and profound voice “declaims” some beautiful medieval chants, giving an awesome epic feel and sounding much better than Vortex’s choirs.

Talking deeper about “symphonic elements”, I could spend several hours talking about what you can find here. “Det nye riket” is a solemn orchestral intro (very medieval of course), with some piano parts and spoken vocals in norwegian. The “synth parts”, in general, create very majestic atmospheres on this album, along with some very well placed epic arpeggios: on the title track, you feel like you’re walking in a desolate valley, wearing a shining armature and branding proudly your sword; this feeling is amplified also by the prominence of the bass in the mix. But the biggest surprise is on “Stien”: over some evil and fast black metal riffs, you will hear... the soft and innocent touch of a flute. And, trust me, it works. This is without doubts one of the best tracks of the album.

The production is pretty weak. Guitars are a bit too low in the mix, while there is much space given to drums and synths. But this is not a damage to the album: the atmosphere takes benefits from this production, guitars are still pretty audible (but a better engineering work would’ve been appreciated) and there are no sloppy, horrible regulations like for the awful production of “Spiritual Black Dimensions” (a mediocre effort in every way). All in all, it doesn’t differ too much from most black metal albums, where the sound is pretty raw and not well engineered (and let’s avoid to talk about demos, please). I don’t see why to condemn this album for a reason like this.

“For All Tid” is a beautiful, romantic album for all those who love medieval atmospheres and intense melodies. It’s far from being cash-metal shit and, yes, it shows Dimmu Borgir to be a competent band. After this one, they made other two great albums, “Stormblåst” and “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant”, then it all went downhill and the band became a parody of every concept represented by black metal, obtaining the consensus of a bunch of pseudo-black metal kids who like to feel “satanic” while they don’t even know the real meaning of this word. Yeah, nowadays Dimmu Borgir have become sellout clowns, but don’t forget their early stuff. Even if I prefer the occult and majestic atmospheres of an album like “In the Nightside Eclipse” or the intense rawness of an album like “The Principle of Evil Made Flesh”, “For All Tid” is actually a great album, and very close to be a masterpiece of symphonic black metal in general. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the most representative albums of the genre.

A product from the start - 5%

doomknocker, August 12th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1994, CD, No Colours Records

As years go by, I find it harder and harder to reconcile Dimmu Borgir's level of legitimacy within the greater black metal scene construct. Before they exploded around '97 or so they were just sorta there, also-ran wallflowers keen on making enough noise to be noticed amidst the fawning for the greater and more important bands, very "little brother seeking approval from his elder siblings" in approach. The whole bulk of the act and their antics back then reeked not so much of "poseur" as "wannabe", as kids are wont to (they WERE kids when the band was formed, of course); black metal was dark, mysterious, and big in their neck of the woods, and all they wanted was to take the field as well. Of course, post-explosion that very same belief comes into play as their rise to worldwide stardom (within reason...) came at the price of whatever stylistic dignity they had left, but that's all been well chronicled at this point. But if you ask me, their level of genuineness was suspect even during their earliest of days, and even in spite of that I gave their debut album "For all tid" a run for its (and my) money. And let me tell you, it ain't good. Or real, for that matter...

This isn't by any means a well-performed album at all. This is about as sloppy and unkempt as Dimmu's EVER sounded, coming off less as a cohesive album and more like a professionally recorded rehearsal tape, a smattering of ideas and concepts they'd been toying with. The fact that something this demo-like was a signed and released legit full length in the first place is cause for concern as is, and as a result of that and the iffy level of playing much of the musical output is hard to take in and appreciate. It really does feel like the band was just winging it during the production process with no sense of heart or soul during their escapades; just hit record, let's do this and be done with it. Maybe if they put a little more effort into sounding like a real band with real aspirations versus some guys with instruments making an album this wouldn't be as bad as it comes off as. Then again, maybe not...

As well, the songwriting itself was already showing the problematic limitations Dimmu's been unfortunately bogged down with, namely the middle-of-the-road pacing, the replacing of bitter anger and rage black metal teems with with that odd sense of sorrow and remorse this, "Stormblast" and portions of "Enthrone..." would contain and, worst of all, the insistent repeating of riffs and ideas with no realistic sense of building progression. But then again, it really seems hard to soak up the atmospherics the band made their bread and butter even back then with such a significant lack of real keyboard lines. Now I'm not gonna say that Mr. Stian Aarstad is a veritable Chopin on his electric ivories, but you'd think a dude with synths as grandiose as his appeared to be would do more than simply bash single notes or double-octive chords in accordance to the guitar riffs, especially since we get a literal face-load of his skills during "Det nye riket". It definitely feels very out-of-character for what the band would strive for in the years to come. Truly, if folks out there getting into Dimmu with their later outputs (like, say, "Spiritual Black Dimensions") gave this doozy a spin many a confounded head would be scratched. .

One could point to the weak songwriting and disengaged performance as to the biggest factors of this album's ultimate failure, but I'd like to think that the actual line-up itself played a pretty significant part. As we all know, this was the album in which the line-up was kinda mixed around, with Silenoz taking lead vocals (and doing some WEIRD voices all throughout) and Tjodalv on guitar, but most glaring of all is future front-dude Shagrath tackling the drumwork, to which I question such a motive and action; I know the dude comes off as a multi-instrumentalist, but up against the more talented likes of Ihsahn and Abbath his skills on said instruments are elementary at best, be it guitar, keys or, worst of all, drums. For his one-time appearance behind the kit Shaggers was a horrifically shitty drummer, barely able to keep a beat let alone unleash the blasting the heavier sections required, and the rest of the group suffered for it. Every once in a which a sudden increase or decrease in speed would result in everyone working on the fly to keep it all together (the cringe-inducing clean yowling section at the start of "Over bleknede blaner til dommedag" is the best example of this. Give it a listen and prove me wrong.). Under-rehearsed, underwritten, just plain UNDER in just about every aspect. Thus is this album's biggest sin.

But in the end this just doesn't feel like a true and blue black metal album so much as a grainy photocopy of a style made to fit in and look cool. It has all the prerequisites and expectations of what a black metal band/album is supposed to have and shoot for, but there's no heart, no soul, no nothing that made them stand out in the crowd. I found more legitimacy with the likes of Ancient than Dimmu Borgir, even at their worst. Partake only if you're a sucker for gallows humor.

Uninspired. - 5%

Zerstorer1611, August 3rd, 2014

Dimmu Borgir, one of the most polarizing bands within the extreme metal community, loved by some due to their bombastic, magnanimous orchestral arrangements and hated by others due to the atrocious dilution of the black metal spirit and ethos.

Whether you hate or love the band, if you're into black metal then you have undoubtedly heard many so-called black metallers praise this album as Dimmu's best while bashing their newer outputs, mentioning For All Tid as an album worthy of being called "black metal" however, Dimmu Borgir's very first effort suffers greatly from a severe lack of inspiration and direction.

The very first song in this album "Det Nye Riket" is a keyboard-only musical piece that works as an "intro" of sorts, which feels out of place and perhaps too melancholic considering the lyrics, which basically speak about a new kingdom in which Satan is the ruler, even then this small piece sounds gloomy and manages to demonstrate Aarstad's talent with a keyboard. Right after the intro starts "Under Korpens Vinger" which is to me, one of the very few redeemable songs in this album, featuring a very simple and fast tremolo riff for a few seconds before the drums join in together with the rhythm guitars, the combination sounds aggressive and energetic enough to catch your attention, only to be interrupted by a slower keyboard interlude which also sounds annoyingly out of place, however as the song goes on the keyboard takes on a more fitting sound and the music returns to a mid-paced tempo.

Perhaps one of the most damaging flaws in For All Tid is the absolute overuse of synths and keyboards, which drown out the riffs for most of the album; they also sound WAY out of place, too busy trying to generate an atmosphere and failing at doing so. In fact, it seems like the keyboards are actually driving the music, not going with it, which is the worst mistake a black metal band can make; the synths are so loud that the few riffs in this album become nothing but background noise.

Vocally, you can't get more generic than this, you have your typical average black metal grunts and shrieks, merely enough to do the job, there is also a horrid attempt at clean singing during "Over bleknede blåner til dommedag" by Aldrahn, this song is terribly cringe worthy and I cannot understand how this massive failure was included on this album. The vocals are also too high on the mix at times.

The musicianship here is sloppy at best but not in a good way, this album feels terribly inconsistent and it almost seems like the guys at Dimmu Borgir weren't completely sure of what they wanted to do and what they had in mind. Perhaps they felt the urge to write some music and join the growing trend of black metal in Norway, which would explain why this album feels so plain and devoid of any real emotional depth. The guitars sound weak and thin, the drums sound dull and Shagrath is or was an unskilled drummer, even for black metal standards.

For All Tid is a bad album, there are a few worthwhile moments in "Under Korpens Vinger" "Det Nye Riket" and the title track but in general the album feels uninspired and insipid. Dimmu Borgir went into the studio with no solid idea of what they wanted to do and thus failed, and unfortunately 3 songs aren't enough to save an album, specially when one of those songs isn't even metal to begin with.

From the darkness of obscurity. - 30%

Diamhea, February 25th, 2014

"Atmosphere" is certainly an abstruse term. It is both broad and vague, with the freedom to be interpreted and deployed across a wide swath of topics and arguments. It holds a particularly special meaning in the case of Dimmu Borgir's first two records: For all tid and Stormblåst. Both are amateurish at best, but have a vocal contingent of individuals who often misconstrue obscure convolution for dour atmosphere rich in aural allure. In short, it is used as an excuse for the mushy, bumbling performances and hazy sound.

Stormblåst gets more of a pass due to the band finally utilizing Aarstad to his full potential, slathering the proceedings in layer upon layer of romantic piano textures. Dimmu Borgir also improved a lot as musicians in the two years between said sophomore release and the enigmatic For all tid. There is no excuse for the sloppy performances here, which should in no way be given a pass under the inveigling shroud of early black metal informality. In fact, a release date of 1994 precludes the association of For all tid with anything other than the oft-abhorred second wave. Despite revisionist claims by Shagrath, his merry group of misanthropes were indeed late to the party.

If For all tid can be called anything, it is certainly eclectic. The band attempts a multitude of styles here, more often than not finding themselves churning out optimistic synth melodies alongside a nebulous mass of aural gunk that was at one point considered a guitar tone. Aarstad has a sizable presence here, but his understated melodies don't necessarily come off as dank or particularly opaque. They sound too upbeat, and it mixes with the dissonant riffing about as well as oil and water. "Stien" is a great example of this, featuring a lethargic but passable riff set and velocity. Despite being a rush job two-minute number, the band feels the need to shoehorn in a cornball flute melody that sounds straight out of Runescape's archaic MIDI soundtrack and neuters the sinister atmosphere in short order.

I suppose that Silenoz's seething swells of distortion manage to squeeze out of For all tid while taking the least amount of damage, but the performance is still obfuscated and diffident in it's delivery. A simple glance at the liner notes proves how thinly the band had to stretch themselves in order to pull the entire performance off. Three members including Tjodalv contributed guitars, and Shagrath is responsible for most of the percussion. Nearly every track is a new exercise in eccentricity and incomprehensible songwriting. Aldrahn's operatic warbling on "Over bleknede blåner til dommedag" is deep and overacted, akin to early Limbonic Art material. There are also a number of spoken-word passages that seem tacked on and wholly unwelcome next to Aarstad's esoteric synths and the surging drums. In fact, Shagrath is the biggest offender of all, barely holding the percussive foundation together. His attempts at blasting are laughable, and there are a number of off-time ride cymbal hits that are both glaring and obvious.

Dimmu Borgir pulls it together on select occasions, notably during the intro, "Glittertind", and the title track. The latter two rumble by at a decent pace and "Glittertind" is mercifully an instrumental piece, save for a few protracted croaks that occasionally feel the need to surface. The opener "Det nye riket" serves as a precursor to Aarstad's grand performance on Stormblåst, with classical piano lines and anachronistic string sections delivering the bulk of the appeal. The clean tones that pockmark the title track are delivered with conviction, and the lead melody during the first minute or so evokes a great somber atmosphere. In fact, this is easily the best song here behind "Raabjørn speiler draugheimens skodde", featuring a slow-enough tempo to not test the lackluster musicianship of the band members. The best track is the aforementioned "Raabjørn speiler draugheimens skodde", which while inferior to it's later incarnation, manages to sound both arcane and heavy enough when it wants to be.

While there would normally be little reason to critique the production values, I can't necessarily give Dimmu Borgir a free pass in this regard, since the outmoded sonic aesthetics of For all tid were intentionally muddied in an attempt to associate it with the earlier Norwegian scene. Silenoz's roars are overwhelming and truly take over when they appear, swallowing up the rest of the band in the process. Tristan's bass is chunky and upfront, oftentimes damaging the lasting power off the riffs as it plugs away in the foreground. The presence of the guitars appears to ebb and flow from track to track, with nothing even approaching consistency in aural delivery. The cleaner tones are drenched in reverb as a stylistic decision, and this can perhaps be considered the one experiment that truly works to the band's favor.

Dimmu Borgir was simply not a cohesive-enough band at the point of For all tid's release, barely managing to pull it together and in the end delivering a laughable excuse at antediluvian symphonic black metal. While I can hardly call Stormblåst a success either, it at the very least showcases a crunchy riff set alongside Aarstad's twinkling piano lines. The same can't necessarily be said regarding For all tid, which will for all time serve as a point of contention between both fans and dissenters of the band.

For All Tid - 0%

Noctir, October 8th, 2012

Dimmu Borgir. The name is practically a curse word within the black metal underground. This is a band that is reviled and ridiculed, with good reason. They are widely considered to be posers and sell-outs, more of a corporation than a real band. To most of us, a Dimmu Borgir record is a mere product; something that is made out of the desire the make money, lacking any true substance and having no connection with real black metal, despite taking its name. The music that this band is best known more accurately falls under the annoying term 'extreme Metal', which is basically a way to way to indicate that it features harsh vocals and lots of double bass, while the riffs are a mixture of black, death and thrash metal, all tied together by an abundance of horrible synth.

Yet, despite how hated these guys are, even a great number of 'elitists' will cite their first album as being decent. For a group of musicians known for creating so much worthless garbage, it is difficult to believe that they ever recorded anything worthwhile, but there are many examples of once-meaningful bands losing their way and traveling down the wrong path. It is common for bands to make good albums in the beginning of their career and to then to follow up with mediocre material. It was with this in mind that, about a decade or so ago, I finally gave this band the benefit of the doubt and listened to their 1994 debut full-length, For All Tid. This was a decision that I soon came to regret.

One would think that it would be rather difficult for a 'Norwegian black metal' album, released in 1994, to be all that bad. After all, this was considered by many to be the peak year of the movement. It was then that Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was finally unleashed upon the world. This was joined by, arguably, the most influential Black Metal album of all time, Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger. Highly regarded records such as Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, from Burzum, and Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse were released that same year, as well as the debut albums of Gorgoroth, Enslaved and Satyricon. Judging by this, one would expect nearly any Norwegian release, during this time period, to be a fairly safe bet. Yet there were some differences between Dimmu Borgir and the rest. For one, most of the aforementioned bands had, at one time or another, had some association with Euronymous, who was quite an influential figure in the scene. Those bands also had existed for some time, putting out albums or at least demos in the years prior to this, while this band sprang up during or after all of the media hype and pumped out a full-length in rather short order. That said, Shagrath at least had the background of having played in a real black metal band, Fimbulwinter, once upon a time. In recent years, he has claimed in an interview to have had some contact with Euronymous and Varg, while contradicting this in another by saying that he did not know him and had never met Varg, either. Chances are his only contact was going to the Helvete shop to purchase a record, once or twice. At any rate, it is very clear that there was no true association between Dimmu Borgir and the real black metal bands, thus making it easier to understand the disparity in musical quality and the total ideological disconnect.

Regarding the actual material on For All Tid, it becomes painfully obvious that Dimmu Borgir had no real concept of what they were doing, nor could they execute their weak ideas in a convincing fashion. As Shagrath once said, "many bands came into the scene after the death of Euronymous, that would not have lasted more than a few days if he had still been alive" and that "these children have no knowledge or respect for black metal". He was literally describing his own band, while pretending to be part of the old guard. This becomes all the more hilarious to think of while listening to the one Dimmu Borgir album that possesses the most 'credibility' within the underground. This is drenched in a lame gothic atmosphere, as the album is consumed by a total abuse of keyboards that often dominate the sound. If you found it difficult to stomach the synth found on Dark Medieval Times, then you will absolutely vomit when you hear this. It is not even used in a manner that could possibly add a dark or evil feeling to the music, rather it comes off as cheesy and almost romantic. The piano bits and clean vocal passages only add to this effect. One also has to wonder whose idea it was that a flute, or whatever that is, belonged in black metal.

Even if one were to somehow look beyond all of these irritating elements and to focus solely on the guitar riffs, there would come only disappointment. The riffs are completely generic and create absolutely no feeling, on their own. There is not one single guitar melody on this album that jumps out and commands the listener's attention. None of this works well to convey any sort of feeling, other than a feeble attempt to mimic other bands while pouring a lot of bad ideas on top of it all, creating nothing more than a total mess. Even lumping this in with black metal feels dirty. While there are raspy vocals and a good amount of tremolo riffs, there is nothing at all dark or evil about this record. For All Tid lacks even a single moment where the atmosphere becomes black as night and a sense of menace can be detected. At least there could be some kind of sorrowful feeling that imbues the listener with a melancholic vibe. In fact, the material here sounds quite the opposite, almost seeming as happy as an '80s Power Metal record. For the most part, these dime-a-dozen, sub-par riffs are just there with no purpose. The same can be said of the generic vocals, which don't do anything to stand out. Oddly enough, while the vocals are harsh, there is no aggression to be heard, whatsoever.

As for the production, this is probably as 'grim' as the band ever sounded, compared to their later albums. It does not reek of the same modern, slick sound that they would go on to embrace, but it is still awful. The keyboards and acoustic bits are way too high in the mix, completely drowning out the guitars. In this case, that is probably appropriate, since the only attempts at atmosphere come from the synth and not the guitars. Still, when synth and percussion are higher than the guitars on a 'metal' album, there is a severe problem. This is not a consistent issue, which is really strange, since the mix tends to vary from track to track. All in all, this sounds unprofessional in a way that does not even earn it underground points for sounding raw or necro. It just comes off as rushed and haphazard.

For All Tid is about as evil as the first In Flames record. For anyone that hates Dimmu Borgir but is curious about the myth of their first album being good, don't waste your time. This record is completely impotent and would be totally worthless if not for the fact that it serves as proof that this band never played real black metal. They began as just as much of a joke as they are now, the only difference being that they had not yet cultivated the rock star image that they now possess nor could they afford the top-of-the-line studios in which to obtain the slick, plastic sound that everyone seems to love so much. Avoid this at all costs. However, if you are ever confronted with this abomination, kill it with fire.

Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com

Of Romance and Wretched Agony - 85%

TowardsMorthond, June 18th, 2012

In the feverish passion of the romantic spirit, Dimmu Borgir capitalize on the core beauty of black metal by emphasizing its melodic and atmospheric qualities, with progressions dictated by the flow of the music’s melodies, presenting an idealistic form of poetically evocative black metal. Portraying epic splendor in vivid atmospheric imagery of grand mountains surrounding gothic castles beyond vast forestlands, Dimmu Borgir use keyboards with as much significance to the music as guitars to illuminate the music’s expression of beauty, which, along with piano and guitar melodies, harmonizes the contrast of violent rhythm and evil vocals through the resolution awarded by descriptive, story-tale composition.

This composition as being the definition of metal songwriting is here indulged with an elegiac depth which manifests the grandeur and adventure of living in the awareness and acceptance of inevitable death, with frequent dramatic transitions in rhythm marked by an isolated riff or keyboard passage, guiding the listener into another scene of existence in which the range of possibility is indefinable, yet intuited in the understanding of the nature of universal forces.

Though structure is often complex in the style of progressive rock sectioning merged with classical sequence of dramatic events, riff patterns are a basic black metal stream of ambiguous flowing rhythmic melody, with varying degrees of extension based on the requirements of the particular thematic representation, with occasional clean tones and acoustic guitars used to provide depth in resonant tone. Reflective of this idea is the phrasing of vocals, which are mostly the shrill shriek or trollish croak of black metal, with dramatic narrative and heroically melancholic singing added for expressive diversity to accommodate the musical theatre, each style arranged to both add communicative urgency to rhythm and to enhance the music’s atmospheric mood with tormented human emotion in the act of transcendence into the universal.

The rhythmic movement of this music is fluid while maintaining a peculiar equilibrium of roughness and graceful motion, with adequate drumming directing tempo with a slightly understated presence in the music, particularly during faster passages, and a prominent bass guitar adding undertones of melodic bass lines, especially effective during slower sections where these lines are easily discernible between drum beats and in the spaces between riff phrases. Though the production is raw and unbalanced in favor of guitars and keyboards, the music’s presence is vivid and far-reaching, with just enough rhythmic force to keep the sound from drifting astray into the netherworlds of pure ambiance. Affection for folkloric significance to modern existence and the imagination awakened through ancient legend inspires the lyrical direction, translated musically with the appeal to dramatic experience in the form of unexpected alterations in mood and development, in the interest of creating a soundworld defined by the inflamed passion of the spectrum of melancholic and violent dark emotion. This dramatic quality elevates the music beyond its creative impulse into a stimulus for full, unrestrained living in the face of artificially constructed consequences; the music wants the listener to become overwhelmed with the inspiration to feel life deeply and painfully through actions that intensify the reality of existence in the heart of the individual.

Flowing through these songs are romantic riffs and folk melodies generated by guitars and keyboards, but also echoed in the rhythmic motion, as melody defines cadence on this album in a way that emphasizes black metal’s romanticism. Strikingly beautiful passages contrast sections of aggressive violent attack, and then unite to demonstrate the universal harmony of light and dark, and while this is not always carried out in the full conception of the band’s intention due to a few songs sounding incomplete in their finality, when it gels it does so with profound resonance. Clearly, Dimmu Borgir have learned a thing or two from Emperor, and though not nearly as majestic, instrumentally proficient, or compositionally articulate as that band, they certainly have a talent for bringing grandiloquent visions to life within the stylistic context in a way that captivates and inspires. It does this through a high level of melodic and atmospheric awareness within structures designed to build up to moments of emotional climax, the quality of which is the sublime glory of looking out over a brilliant landscape from a cliff edge, the noble sorrow of defeat in honorable confrontation, and the rage of violence in the heat of vengeful justice.

When Dimmu Borgir’s music is allowed the transitional and dynamic patience and concentration, and the attention to structure necessary to realize the depth of its power and beauty, it reaches such glorious heights that can produce truly transcendent results, but there is a rushed feeling to some of these tracks that diminishes the album’s potential as an entirety, meaning that its moments of excellence are inconsistently presented. Though not exactly originators of this style of flowing melodic and romantically atmospheric black metal, Dimmu Borgir have built upon the foundation laid by bands like Emperor and Immortal to offer an album of beautiful music that as a first result of their creative inspiration is impressive and overflowing with potential for greatness.

The beginning of the world's best Sympho BM act - 95%

DracuLeo, August 12th, 2011

Ah, what a pleasure to have my first review on this site be for the ever famous Dimmu Borgir's For All Tid! I remember the first time I've given this album a listen. My immediate reaction upon hearing Under Korpens Vinger was "what a creepy song this is!", and still this came to be one of Dimmu's finest releases to date. Now let's see why.

The first and most important reason why this album entranced me was because of the beautiful atmosphere that the music has. Each track has its own flair and memorable riffs. I also enjoyed the variation of the keyboard sounds, from the mournful strings and pianos of Det Nye Riket to the happy mood flutes of Stien. It is quite refreshing if you grow tired of the grandiose orchestras that Dimmu now hire to aid them with their music.

As soon as the album starts, you are greeted into the melancholic landscapes of Norway via one of the most beautiful keyboard intros ever: Det Nye Riket! Even though the lyrics speak about the fury of Pagans and Satanists and how they shall crush the oppressing Christians in the name of their lord and master, Satan, the song sounds quite sad and haunting instead of the feeling of anger you would expect from such lyrics. Still, this song serves as a prelude not only for the second track, but for every track on this album due to its haunting atmosphere. The following track, Under Korpens Vinger, was and still is obscure like most melodic black metal is today. This song has all of the conventions of a typical melodic black metal song, from the tremolo-picked intro to the atmospheric vibe with a melodic guitar sound all the way through and the perfect vocal substance for any melodic black metal courtesy of Silenoz. The keyboard is used in a way that a band like Emperor would never use. It sounds much more like melodic black metal as opposed to symphonic. All in all, Under Korpens Vinger is a song that allows you to enter the dark castle that you've been waiting for after hearing the first track of the album.

Over Bleknede Blaner Til Dommedag brings some clean operatic vocals to the table along with the return of the sad strings from the first track. The mix of Aldrahn's singing with Silenoz's and Shagrath's shrieking is a great feature as it pioneered the use of operatic male vocals into black metal. Just by closing your eyes while listening to this song you will find yourself in the land of fjords in the middle of a winter storm, ready to cross the high mountains, and quite ironically, the following 2 songs add more to the theme. Stien, which was originally planned to be an instrumental, creates a more joyful atmosphere with its flute and gives you the feeling of walking through a silent and peaceful forest as the sun slowly sets. Glittertind, however, adds a more epic feeling with its synthesized choirs and fast-paced guitar riffing and drumming. Even though this track is an instrumental, Shagrath and Silenoz still decided that they would shriek a bit on it, as if they were on the top of a mountain and had nothing better to do than to scream... after all, Glittertind is the second highest mountain in Norway.

Moving on, we reach the title track of the album which happens to be one of my top favorites from this band. The clean guitars in the intro create the perfect atmosphere for the battle which is about to follow. Overall, you have the feeling of sadness, fear, and subsequently, anger. As the black metal part begins, we are greeted with great tremolo-picked riffs and haunting strings. Silenoz's growls are as powerful as ever and contribute to the atmosphere created by the keyboards. The simple listen of this song makes me imagine an empty battlefield through which an army of black demons march toward what shall be an epic battle. They rage, they are sad, they are bloodthirsty, and they know they will win and reign For All Tid.

Hunnerkongens Sorgsvarde Ferd Over Steppene starts with some fast drumming and guitars which soon are joined by the orchestral strings. The rest of the track will sound pretty much like the intro. This song tells the story of Attila the Hun and how he crushed entire cities under his wrath. A fitting character for a black metal song, though I think that Vlad the Impaler would have been a better choice. Raabjorn Speiler opens with another haunting keyboard passage which soon is joined by the melodic guitars in order to create yet another ghostly feeling song. The riffs are very well written and are sure to catch the listener's ear. Den Gjemte Sannhets Hersker sounds like a mix of the title track and Hunnerkongens, but is still an awesome song. It features another sad piano near the end and then the song ends with an even sadder guitar.

And thus come the final tracks of the album, Inn I Evighetens Morke (parts I and II), which completes this dark spiritual journey in an epic way. The first part is a haunting instrumental with a piano intro and catchy guitar and bass melodies, whereas the second part is filled with brutal black metal and loud shrieks which will make you sure that even though the album has ended, the darkness is there to stay.

Overall, this is an amazing album and I would strongly recommend it to black metal fans, but also to dark ambient ones and to new Dimmu fans which would like to try a taste of the band's roots.
Favorite tracks: Det Nye Riket, Under Korpens Vinger, Glittertind, For All Tid, and Raabjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde.

Textures. - 90%

Whackooyzero, February 25th, 2011

It may be cliche to praise a black metal album for it's atmosphere, but in the case of "For All Tid" it's absolutely necessary in my opinion. It's not so much that it's more atmospheric than the numerous other classic BM albums released in the 90's, nor is it strictly better, but it certainly is very unique. It's not very heavy, nor is it particularly aggressive or dark but than again neither is a lot of black metal so that's not what makes it distinct. No, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say it's honestly because of the keyboards.

Yes I said it. Granted, all the instruments on this album play their part well, and there are cases where a different instrument leaves a bigger impression on a certain song, but for the majority of "For All Tid" we are treated to one of the most melodic, melancholy, and sentimental keyboard performances in metal courtesy of the great Stian Aarstad. I don't know if he wrote most of these parts, but whoever did, did an amazing job. The keyboards intertwine with the guitars in a traditional way, but while the guitars play rather openly and "ringy" for much of the album, Aarstad applies either gradual melodic development(usually emphasizing the shifting song structures of the album) or complentary chord progressions that usually give off a somewhat sad feel, and in combination with the rest of the music creates a divine feeling.

Certainly Dimmu have never been better in terms of songwriting than they are here, with standout tracks being "Under Korpens Vinger", "Glittertind", the title track, and the haunting "Den Gjemte Sanhets Hersker". The former of which features the best riffs on the album, surprisingly strong vocal delivery, and is overall the most straight ahead track on the album. It's also perfectly preceded by "Det Nye Riket" which has a lush but dark sounding keyboard melody accompanied by some admittedly cheesy "grim" narration, but since it's in Norwegian, it's much more effective than if these lyrics were in english (which is basically the case for the entire album).

"Over Bleknede Blaner Til Dommedag", "Glittertind", "Stien", and the title track work together rather nicely as the melodic focal point of the album, with the former featuring bleak sounding clean vocals by Dodheimsgard's Aldrahn and a trudging tempo typical of this album, while the aforementioned "Stien" features a very folky keyboard melody that's just a joy to listen to in contrast with the darker verse sections, and the title track distinguishes itself with the slow and haunting opening guitar solo, and glorious symphonic mid section. And of course the instrumental "Glittertind" is interesting do to it's frequently shifting song structure and again powerful keyboard melodies. These four tracks as I said are more melody oriented than the others for the most part, and stay in the head for a while.

But the best song on here for me is the closer "Den Gjemte Samhets Herkser" which is Dimmu Borgir's masterpiece. Well at least one out of three (the other two are found on the following two albums), but this is still certainly the greatest song here. The intro builds up to the perfect combination of simple yet effective riffs, gorgeous keyboard melodies, and powerful vocals which continues for most of the track until 4 minutes in we get an almost tragic sounding piano section that leads into a great melodic solo that closes the album off in perfect fashion. I named this review "Textures" for a reason and it is because when listening to this song in particular, I am able to constantly create arias of great visuals in my head when I close my eyes which, though similar things have happened with other metal albums, it happens with much more frequency with this particular album amongst a few others.

The album varies itself just frequently enough so that it isn't predictable, but is very consistent in style. It's a very melodic and soft album which may turn off some people, but it's truly a captivating one. The members of Dimmu Borgir at this time were masters at creating enchanting melodies, and songs that always amounted to something, and would at least leave something in each song that would make it stand out. Whether it's the narration of "Det Nye Riket", the melodies of the clean vocals in "Over Bleknede Blaner Till Dommedag", or riffs in "Under Korpens Vinger" the songs always remain distinct but related. Sometimes too related once in a while however. To be fair, this is also a problem and why I had to take a few points off. The album does get a tad predictable after a while and due to this I don't revisit it that frequently, but whenever I do I never regret it.

When I listen to the first two Dimmu albums, the music too me feels like a reflection of the past atmospherically, even if the lyrics are just as satanic as you would expect, and admittedly this does detract from the consistency of feel, but it's still a brilliantly made album. Multiple textures are present as I have mentioned yet they are certainly all connected, and I hope that soon people will give more respect to this album and early Dimmu in general because, though it isn't the greatest black metal of the era, it's certainly in that area up there with "Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk" or "Bergtatt". Definitely give it a listen if you haven't already.

I reserve the right to run screaming at any time. - 19%

Empyreal, December 10th, 2010

You ever notice how every single review of an early Dimmu Borgir album starts off by saying that the band is now crap, but allegedly “once produced great masterworks”? You know, like when they praise Stormblast, which was so soggy and worn down that it was practically transparent. Yeah. Baffling, isn’t it? But what really always puzzles me is the almost unanimous praise for this album, For All Tid.

The music by itself, in terms of the sonics, sounds like typical 90s black metal, with rasping and tremolo riffs and bargain-bin production and the whole rodeo show of expectations. Except here – and I’m not going to mince words – it’s done exceptionally poorly. The guitars jangle like poorly packaged Christmas lights, the vocals gurgle like a cat with a sore throat and the production sounds like it was done in a wet box on a street corner in the rain. It’s just so limp-wristed and soggy, with that mildewy smell of wet cardboard to boot...

The album begins with a synth intro, which I would be willing to accept if not for the fact that it’s 5 minutes long and is incredibly stupid. Listen to those sound effects in the beginning; it’s so silly it’s like the beginning of a comedy album. It’s like a cuckoo clock in a Looney Tunes cartoon. The actual album begins with the lurching, shapeless mess that is “Under Korpens Vinger,” which is sort of like wandering through the bowels of a giant tree frog. The guitars belch and roar with no focus and the band moves through transitions that are clumsily done and poorly written. Other points of particular horror include the worthless “Stien,” “Glittering,” which has an actual decent intro ruined by the band’s apparent aversion to playing with finesse, and the god-awful mess of the title track, which is probably the worst song I have heard in quite a while with its hapless construct of loopy synth melodies and carnival-esque beats that comes out to something that sounds like it came from my digestive system. Putrid, execrable music by any standard.

The band just can’t seem to get their shit together on here. One minute they’re putting out a soothing synth melody, then they’re churning out some tremolo riffing and then another time they’re blasting out punky riffs, as on “Hunnerkongens.” But the point isn’t that they’re trying too many styles, it’s that they’re trying too many styles and absolutely sucking at all of them. Like in “Stien,” where they do an already poor rendition of hyperfast, blasting black metal, except here they layer over it a stupid little folksy melody – it’s just chaotic. Even in the passages where they really do just stick to a generic black metal template, it sucks. The sloppy playing just feels sloppy, as opposed to the primitive, evil kind of feel it gives off when done right. Here it’s just like…learn how to play your instruments, dudes. There are maybe one or two moments on here that create any kind of tension or atmosphere, and those are quickly squandered in the rest of the album’s directionless meanderings.

People will tell you up and down that this is a lot better than the band's recent material, but I'm not sure anymore. This album’s quality in relation to the newer stuff is actually debatable, as after listening to this I’m just praying for some stupid-ass commercial jingle music like later-era Dimmu. That would be heaven compared to this shit. I can probably chalk a lot of this up to these guys just being amateurs when they made For All Tid, as it was their debut after all, but still, that doesn’t make it a good album. It sucks. It’s badly written, badly executed and fails to accomplish any of its goals. And the band didn’t go on to produce anything worthwhile afterward either, so I guess I can rest peacefully knowing that I’m not missing anything when it comes to this band. Fuck ‘em. There’s plenty of better shit you could be listening to instead.

Dimmu's Best - 86%

ImpureSoul, June 13th, 2010

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.

Originally written on spirit-of-metal.com under the username InfinityZero.

A Real Black Metal Album From Dimmu Borgir - 86%

Jiri777, July 30th, 2009

“For All Tid” is the first effort from the infamous band, Dimmu Borgir. Although the band grew for “Stormblast”, this album is very solid.

“For All Tid” is an album that kind of grows on you. At first, you will notice the great amount of instrumentals on this album. However, once you really listen to the instrumentals you will realize that they are beautiful. “Det Nye Riket” is an instrumental dominated by snyth and piano. It has a nice medieval-like melody that lasts for five minutes. A perfect opener for this album. “Glittertind” is an amazing instrumental. It has all the regular metal instruments played very atmospherically. It really does not miss the vocals.

Speaking of vocals, Silenoz, Shagrath and Aldran of Dodheimsgard are present here. Silenoz handles the duty most of the time. He is a very good vocalist with passionate screams resembling a demon. His rasps are atmospheric and fit the medieval sound of the music satisfactorily. Shagrath sounds very similar to Silenoz on “For All Tid”. He does not suck just yet here. His nasal computerized vocals are not present yet. He has a nice high-pitched rasp that is so similar to Silenoz that you can barely hear a difference. Aldran gets lead vocals on one song here; “Over Bleknede Blåaer Till Dommedag”. He performs clean vocals and harsh vocals. His clean vocals is typical Viking baritone singing. Low-pitched and not so powerful. He sounds good singing but he is no Garm (Arcturus, Ulver). Aldran’s harsh vocals are his usual gruff shouts. He has very unique shouting vocals that work on this album.

Guitars are provided by Shagrath and Silenoz. Shagrath really should have stuck with guitars because he is a horrendous vocalist nowadays. His guitar playing here is very adequate. He has a nice atmospheric sound and he can carry a mean medieval tune. Silenoz and he wrote superb riffs for this album. They are not heavy or in your face at all. They are effective due to their atmosphere. Silenoz is the other guitarist and he can not really be depicted from Shagrath. Together they kick ass!

The drums are solid, but not the best. The drummer uses blast beats a lot and they are kind of in the background. They are not prominent, but in an album like this, they do not have to be. He uses 12/8 and 4/4 as well and performs them well.

Keyboards are present like they always are in Dimmu Borgir albums. They are very pretty. They clearly are influenced by folk or medieval music and it sounds really good.

The band’s only problem in this album is songwriting skills. I love the sound here, but they do not execute it as well as they could have. Songs like “Under Korpens Vinger” and “Den Gjente Sannhets Herpker” are poorly written with a few highlights. Some riffs stand out, but most of the melodies run together. These two songs are very unmemorable.
The best songs here are “Stein” and the instrumentals. “Stein” is only two minutes but it crushes! There is a folk flute that has a sick melody in it. It is very fast-paced and does not last long enough. It is a straight out folk song with metal instruments. It is seriously a masterpiece.

I recommend this album to real black metal fans. Dimmu Borgir were once a very good black metal band that was very elite at the time. They might have sold out, but a purchase of “For All Tid” is probably a good idea.

Dimmu Borgir's true masterpiece - 100%

Karkaton, October 27th, 2008

Although Dimmu Borgir recently (I'd say during the past 5 years) fell prey to the mainstream and started creating shite, overproduced symphonic “extreme” metal, they once were an original and inspirational band. “For All Tid” is definitely their best release to date, combining a distinctive raw sound with incredibly good folkish riffs and quite sentimental black metal melodies. The cover art is also their best, depicting a vast kingdom and a sorrowful knight on his noble steed…Very black indeed.

The keyboard/synth is utilized perfectly, by not overpowering the rest of the instruments, but following the guitars and building a breathtaking atmospheric sound around them. Songs like “Raabjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde” and “For All Tid” make use of brilliantly crafted keyboard melodies, and create a truly majestic sound. Stian Aarstad is a genius and it is a pity that he is no longer part of Dimmu Borgir.

The drumming is nothing special in terms of technical skills, but Shagrath gets the job done, and his performance is actually quite admirable, as it does suit the more minimalistic music very well. Silenoz provides very grim vocals, and he should have definitely continued this duty for the band, as they sound extremely grim, cold and passionate. The bass is done well, and has some outstanding moments of harmony and walking riffs by Brynjard Tristan.

The songs are well structured and progress brilliantly. Overall they sound very dramatic and depressive. The album opens with “Det Nye Riket” , which is also my favourite track on the album. It begins with an epic and dramatic synth, and later breaks down to spoken vocals of hatred over a melancholic, slow piano piece. This is what Dimmu should sound like! The rest of the album follows the mood set by the epic opening track, sounding less brutal and more melodic. But don’t get me wrong – This album is not a watered down, over the top orchestral cacophony…Oh no! This is pure, undiluted Norwegian black metal, and captures an exquisite sound that is very grim and depressing.

The masterpiece instrumental track “Glittertint” never ceases to amaze me with it’s awesome harmonizing riffs and tempo changes. The acoustic guitars in the title track are top-notch and deliver a sense of dynamics to the album. The clean vocals/chants is “Over Bleknede Blåner Til Dommedag” are a bit dodgy, but at the same time quite epic and huge. Other great tracks are "Inn I Evighetens Mørke, Part 2" and “Stien”. They are short, impressive songs that sound very folkish and complement the rest of the album, as they are quite fast. “Hunnerkongens Sorgsvarte Ferd over Steppene” is another fast melodic track with awe-inspiring riffs and chord progressions. All of the songs are brilliant and the solo’s on the title track and “Den Glemte Sannhets Herskar” are very impressive and filled with dark emotions.

Although some have criticized “For All Tid” of being sloppy and inconsistently arranged, I find this a brilliant aspect of the album. The technical skills aren’t perfect, and that is what captures the raw talent and ability of these once young and aspiring musicians perfectly. This album is truly unique, and is a must have for any fan of melodic/folk/depressive black metal along the lines of Taake and Nokturnal Mortum. “For All Tid” is a black metal landmark and has stood the test of time impeccably.

One of the Dimmu's finest works - 90%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, September 18th, 2008

These are the Dimmu Borgir I use to like. This band is surely well known for the more recent and bombastic albums that sound more like a movie soundtrack than real examples of symphonic black metal. Here, in this For All Tid the black metal is present, in the modern ones no. The years are the one of experimentations and the very first melodies were added to a primitive form of black metal to create something new. Cradle of Filth were great in England and Dimmu Borgir was the response in Norway. Anyway, despite many put the two bands on the same level talking about the “symphonic black metal”, there are various differences in their sound. If Cradle of Filth were bounded to themes about the vampirism, here the darkness reigns supreme on the Dimmu’s debut album and they were into a more evident form of Satanism.

By the way, this debut album can show a primitive approach to the genre, can be imprecise in the execution of the parts and can show also still embryonic forms of the genre…it’s evident. But the fact that I like it remains. Maybe sometimes I’m too fascinated by the underground realities and CDs because to me they express the real pureness of a band trying to do something personal and new. I despise the modern production and so often I find a shelter under these low budget, but awesome to me, sounds. Dimmu Borgir through these 40 minutes makes their presence know in the underground and their start is very good. “Det Nye Riket” is a long intro made of just keyboards parts and they are not so melodic, but quite doom and obscure.

“Under Korpens Vinger” is easily the best track of the CD. The tremolo picking at the beginning is repeated so often during the song and, along with the arpeggios and the carpet of the keyboards, creates a really obscure but somehow epic and melancholic song. The screams made history and they are so raw compared to the music. You see, these oppositions are so pure and genuine…exactly what I like. Everything is still primitive but with a will of change. The following song displays faster parts by the drums but the production in these cases doesn’t help and it’s too chaotic. The mid-paced parts are evocative and the keyboards are not too invading. The clean, epic vocals are perfectly mixed with the infernal screams.

“Stien” has something reminiscent of the typical folk music in Norway and it can be seen as one of the very first examples of nascent epic/melodic black metal. The keyboards are awesome and the screams are alternated to clean vocals by the end. The tempo here is faster but soon we fall again into mid-paced parts. “Glittertind” is utterly fantastic. The melodies, it’s all about the melodies and the play between slow parts and sudden restarts. Everything sounds a bit medieval too and dark with sudden more melodic and “dreaming” overtures. The title track is a slow march of the drums that accompany the arpeggios and a desolating lead guitars work. When the black metal part enters the tempo is still slow but the atmosphere is more pompous and epic.

The guitars distortion is very buzzy and the bass is well audible and probably to high compared to the guitars’ distortion. Once again, who cares? It’s fantastic like this. The arpeggios are mixed with black parts and the keyboards are always present to add something more. “Hunnerkongens Sorgsvarte Ferd Over Steppene” has inside more or less everything that is in the middle between Hellhammer and the primordial black done in a Dark Throne demo like Land Of Frost. It’s faster but never without the right melody, even if this time is more obscure. “Raabjørn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde” is almost surreal, featuring great melodies and heavy guitars tunes to break them for more dosages of epic/black metal.

The last “Den Gjemte Sannhets Hersker” follows the same style with more melodies inside and fast restarts under up-tempo by the drums. The rest is quite mid-paced and this mixture of tempos and melodies is the most fascinating characteristic of this dark and melodic piece of early symphonic black metal. I always liked it and it’s recommended especially to those who love modern Dimmu Borgir. Wash your ears.

Dimmu's best - 90%

The_Ghoul, August 2nd, 2008

Dimmu is one of the bands that fulfills the stereotype of a band getting worse as time went on. This being their first album, it's also their best. Stormblaast was good, but not great, and everything after that was a slow spiral downhill.

This was before they got ahead of themselves and let their egos get out of control. What we have is a forgotton gem. There are many things present here that would end up being lost on future Dimmu releases (actual riffs, good vocals, striking melodies, etc...) and it makes me sad. The band had much potential. Anywho, back to the album.

This album is composed of sentimental, folkish melodies with keyboards backing the myriad of guitar riffs. The melodies are maidenish, with a heavy melodic influence, but are still driven by the guitars (as they should be) with the keyboards simply following the guitars. It's a simple formula, but it works. There's no pretension here, no overbearing keyboards. It may not have a sparkling production, but such a production would've hurt For All Tid. It works because it's simple and the melodies, while being slightly cheesy and sentimental, WORK. Dimmu stick with what WORKS here, and don't try all that nonsense that they attempted on later works. To quote Manowar, this is for people who want to rock, not pose. The vocals are also better than future works, being venomous screams, not the nasally, overproduced, underperformed vocals of Shaggy.

None of the instruments overpowers another; they're all present, and they do just enough to move the songs forward. While that would ordinarily be a minus, here it works, because the songs are simple folk melodies, and this is a simple album. There's no wankery here; the drums drum, the guitars ring, and that's that. The bass peeks out every so often, but for the most part follows the guitar. DB attempt no gimmicks or pageantry here. This is simple folk/black metal, and it works. It evokes images of vast, fog covered conifer forests on the Norwegian mountainside. You wouldn't find a vast theatrical production on a rugged norwegian mountainside, would you?

Get this as your first Dimmu Borgir album, then get Stormblaast (the older one, not the newer one) and stick with those two. They are all you'll need, everything else is unnecessary and will only lower your opinion of Dimmu Borgir.

Amazing album! Which I heard this first. - 88%

Chrispaks, November 13th, 2007

I, like many people I know, started off on the later versions of Dimmu. It was actually not bad at first, because I had not heard the earlier releases.


I am used to basically no creative riffs from them, and keyboard fills that are decent, along with raspy non-BMish vocals. Forever I was confused at why so many people hate Dimmu Borgir. I knew there HAD to be a reason for this, so I went back to their roots. All the way from their recent release to this gem of a buried album I am about to review.


Here we are: What I would consider an amazing piece of art. This is what is considered true black metal vocals: violent sounds that are not passable for all these nu-metal posers who think "IM SO HARDCOR3XZ I LISTEN TO DIMMU". You have to really like Black Metal (Burzum, Mayhem, and the rest of famous ones we all know of) to fully enjoy this experience. Like most bands at this time, drumming is not a huge key point (In fact, I dont think there is any blast beats around here-- unless I forgot about them). Of course bands like Death were pushing the boundaries of heaviness and complexity with Human and Individual Thought Patterns with the amazing drumming, this album brings black metal and symphony together beautifully. I've seen people complain about certain volumes of music, and personally I say they are fine in all the songs.


The factor of the music that made this album a hit from the get-go is the guitar. It actually has riffs! Not only riffs, but catchy riffs that aren't pop-bound Power Metal ones where you get tired after overlistening to it. Whoever dropped out of the band that played these genius riffs should be brought back. Serious.
Keyboards are always huge in symphony bands (I think they are basically mandatory in 99% of them). Anyways, the bottom line of the keyboards is: Good keyboards are good. They revolve around the guitar riffs perfectly, neither dominating each other or cancelling each other out. Its absolutely horrible to hear symphony and riffs colliding in a bad fashion-- a real bad taste can be left over. Though if done properly here, the product is well worth the listen! I won't devote a whole paragraph to the vocals, but just trust me that they are appropriate and much more 'tr00 kvlt' then their other releases (Now, I did not say at this point they are, as I cannot make out their lyrics as I speak only english).


The clean vocal interludes are sometimes atmospheric, giving us a Lord Of The Rings feeling. I guess you can get that from the cover.
The guitar soloing is also nice and in some parts "Emotional" as some people want (Aka, memorable, enjoyable to listen to, not a wall of notes [Dragonforce]).
What was also consistent is how each solo on this album has a meaning... has a feel... fits in the place like a correct puzzle piece. I dont give out high marks (I don't believe in 100%, but I do believe in 0%), and an 88% is pretty damn good.


I recommend anyone and everyone who enjoys their later stuff, or even hates it, to check this album out. I am quite thrilled at how well everything blends together. I usually am bored after a whole album is complete, and almost never do I listen to an album going "First time is a charm", but this did it. It ages with time, and only grows better.

Decent Beginning, More or Less. - 72%

woeoftyrants, April 10th, 2007

Dimmu Borgir were certainly a different entity in their early days. No one now could call their music black metal by a long stretch, and even though For All Tid is very naive and undernourished in its full presentation, it shows a very different side of the band that may not be totally black metal by standard definition, but is definitely Norwegian. Before they became the international poster boys of extreme metal, Dimmu Borgir were just a group of guys who took to making rough, but atmospheric Norwegian metal.

For those who may have not heard early Dimmu before, you're in for a surprise. The production on this album is a far cry from the polished sound they now; instead, it's a suitably dry and hollow mix, with heavily reverbed vocals and thin, buzzing guitars. It's hard on the ears at first, but its charm eventually does grow on the listener and helps things out in the long run. After all, it is a debut album, so there's some natural growing room for just about everything. The biggest difference, however, is the music itself: primitive but atmospheric metal that is only defined as black metal by the vocals. Everything here has a very Gothic and yet folkish flair here, as illustrated in the heavy use of synthesizers here. There is a definite natural Norwegian element to this album, almost a nocturnal and melancholy atmosphere. It could be the entire use of Norse language for the lyrics, somewhat cheap-sounding but ghostly keyboards, or the power-chord driven riffs that echo of the old-school black metal wave. The band's skills as musicians and composers were clearly underwhelming; the drums remain on the edge of sloppy throughout, the keyboards only playing what the guitars play, the vocals coming off as a hoarse and underdeveloped croak, and the very typical and predictable song structures are a definite throwback to the vast scope of even what we would see on Stormblast.

Though the guitars are painfully simple in their approach, there are some fairly good rhythm passages; "Glittertind" has near-aggressive sections driven by fast picking accented by folkish leads, and both the slow, soft title track and "Den Gjemte Sannhets Hersker" feature highly atmospheric solos. "Hunnerkongens," which would be re-recorded, shows the more metal side of the band with a more upbeat tempo with charging riffs. There are a lot of clean-picked passages, and even some acoustic guitars to add more homeland flair to the sound. Other than that, it's power chords all the way. Which is forgivable, as the band was young and was unsure of their instrumental skills.

Brynjard Tristan's bass sticks out quite a bit in the mix here, which is very much a good thing. Sometimes he'll accent the more powerful passages by following the guitars, or he'll strike off on his own and weave some lines around the existing parts, creating a rich, warm atmosphere. This is best seen on the beginning of the title track; the guitars softly pluck at minor chords, while the bass plays a lower octave of the same thing. It may not seem like much, but it helps to wrap the listener in the dusk-like feeling of the song.

Stian's keyboards are what create the atmosphere here; it's pretty crude in production, sometimes adding a cheap-sounding wall of sound to the existing problem of underproduction. But for the most part, cheese factors aside, the keyboards create a very open atmosphere that could only come from Norway. The cover art can best explain it; it's like seeing wide open fjords and mountains, and entering a vast castle, where melancholy takes the role. All of this can be summed up in "Den Gjemte Sannhets Hersker," where a 4-chord sequence repeats itself over an almost tear-jerker solo. "Det Nye Ricket" sets the standard for the rest of the keyboards on the album, which wash and drone their way through gothic chord progressions, the occasional folk instrument, and quasi-classical pianos.

As previously mentioned, the drums are really nothing special. There's some pretty driving double bass on "Glittertind," and the occasional mid-paced blast beat. Otherwise, it's fairly tepid timekeeping that is too out in the air for its own good. The beats aren't really consistent, and it's clear to see that there are some struggles are staying in time with the metronome. But, again, this can be somewhat forgivable due to a general lack of experience. Furthermore, most bands in the genre only use the drums for the sake of being "there." The problem is, the drums use a fairly good, kettle-like sound; maybe too good, and too obvious in the production.

The vocals are really one of the bigger negative aspects. Silenoz definitely wasn't ready to step up to the mic; "Under Korpen's Vinger" is almost painful to listen to with its grating, nasally vocals, which stay at the foreground of the mix. Later songs do get better thankfully, with the title track being one of the smoother, more tolerable things to listen to. And to further this paragraph, I'll say that the clean vocals on track 3 are definitely an acquired taste, and will probably cause many to hit the skip button with urgency. So, beware of Norse opera singers...

All qualms aside, it isn't a bad album. Dimmu showed themselves competently on this album, and though it's incredibly undernourished, the atmosphere given off beats out the lack of skill in musicianship.

Favorite tracks: "For All Tid," "Raabjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde," "Den Gjemte Sannhets Hersker."

The beginning - 93%

cataclysm_child, February 9th, 2007

This was the first release from Dimmu Borgir and maybe it's their best until now. What Dimmu shows here on this album is a lot different than on their following albums. Even Stormblast is much different. The thing that makes this album so great is the melodic volkish aspect, which you can compare to the sound of Satyricon those days. The guitar riffs are, so to say, very simple and basic, but that isn't abnormal for black metal, and also are the drums.

Three other things that are different from their later albums are the vocals, the keyboards and the amount of lyrics. The vocals are done by Silenoz instead of Shagrath (just like on Stormblast) and are lot better. Silenoz has a more raw and less nasal voice than Shagrath, so I can't understand why Shagrath replaced him as a singer later on. The keyboards are less prominent than nowadays. On For All Tid they seem to have chosen the parts where keyboards fit very well, when on their latest albums you here keyboards from the beginning until the end. And what about the lyrics? The musical aspect on For All Tid seems to count more than the textual aspect. For instance on Death Cult Armageddon or Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia the songs are packes with text, which makes it sometimes irritating. But here, and also on Stormblast and Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, the text is less important.

It's a pity that Dimmu didn't use this sound anymore after Stormblast, because than maybe when they would have done, they wouldn't have the modern "poser" image they have now. This album is a great epic album and a milestone for the melodic black metal. Highlights are: Under Korpens Vinger, For All Tid, Raabjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde and Inn I Evighetens Morke.

Dimmu...minus skill and a recording budget - 64%

AngelofBreath, January 12th, 2007

For All Tid marks the debut of Dimmu Borgir into the world of black metal. It should be established straight away this is a long time ago in terms of the evolution of Dimmu, and squarely removed from the band we think of now. It’s also been a fair while since I’ve put on this cd because, quite honestly, there’s good things happening but there’s a critical problem. The production on this album is nowhere near as good as it became later and that’s the main problem with this release. Some of the tracks are actually nigh on laughable because the vocals are disproportioned in the mix to the point that you can hear way too much of one part and it obscures the other. The vocals also sound cringe-makingly bad at points because Norwegian should never be spoken softly in a sing song accent if you’re trying to sound mean. There are points, for instance, during “Det Nye Riket” where I wince so hard my kidney nearly flies out! And I don’t care what you say aboot it being purer black metal, shit is still shit, even if you dress it up in mysticism and a language only spoken by aboot 8 million people worldwide. Seriously, something does not become instantaneously good because its more difficult to comprehend. If Christina Aguilera sang in Welsh or Swahili would it make her sound any better aside from the benefit of not having to understanding what she was saying? No! It’d still be god awful shite.

However, aside from the weakness of the vocals and the general shoddy production, this is by no means all bad. The mixing and performance of the guitar is vastly improved over the Stormblast release, which is chronically mismanaged to the point of absurdity, and there are times when you do begin to nod your head here and there. At the end of the day you have to bare in mind that this album was made with limited budget and experience. At the point of recording this is an under developed band lacking the know how, vision and just plain musical competence of later releases. A piece of evidence for this is the track “Raabjørn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde”, which is in it own right a fair song but is markedly poorer in comparison to the updated version that’s on Enthrone Darkness Truimphant as a bonus. At this point in their career Dimmu are infantile and lack the technical finesse to play this song at the speed it deserves, and by comparison the original is like hearing a sedated stoned version after the band have taken a valium each.
Like I said; this album isn’t bad as such, it’s merely inferior to what the band have achieved with later releases. For what it is its reasonable but if you want a really decent Dimmu album try something else with passable production and doesn’t sound like it was recorded in your neighbour’s garden shed. When you get down to it, if you’re into Dimmu’s based on what you’ve heard more recently sound wise you’re probably not going to listen to this very often (like I said its been a while since I’ve put this one on). This is really only for die hard fans who really need to hear everything Dimmu have ever released, and black metal purists. Otherwise, you’re better off trying something else.

Strong, Compelling Debut - 90%

OzzyApu, October 16th, 2006

To start off, we all know Dimmu Borgir today as sell out peaces of shit. However, back in the day the used to actually be something. Along with Dimmu's cousin Satyricon, Borgir began playing typical Black Metal, but with a touch of essence. While I don't generally like raw, straight-up Black Metal, Dimmu really hit the debut nail with For All Tid. The cover art drew me into this, but the music blew me away.

“Det Nye Riket” displays the soft, melancholic, and dreary tone of Dimmu’s music, while the double guitar-charge of “Under Korpens Vinger” and “Glittertind” between Silenoz and Tjodalv kicks into heavy gear. Balance of both melody and riffage comes to terms on the title track and “Den Gjemte Sannhets Hersker”, both of which are far from the corny operatic orchestras shown on their later albums. The record really never reaches a climatic point because no track truly stands out more than another by far. Dimmu Borgir effectively keep the music simplistic while incorporating whatnot here and there, and in the end creating successful tracks.

Silenoz provides guitars and he lays down his grim throat on the mic, creating the ideal vocals for any Black Metal band (much more low-key than Shagrath’s). This, combined with Shagrath's on-key drumming and Aarstad's ever-enchanting keyboard playing and effects, creates an atmosphere that lasts for all time. Many would complain about the production, but it really isn't that bad, especially since there has been a re-released version for over ten years. It solemnly fits with the music extremely well anyways, which adds pleasure to the sound.

Although the album completely fixes around the keyboard melodies and the riffs, I still highly recommend picking this up, as it steers clear of their cheesy, over-the-top later crap in all aspects; you won't be disappointed.

Din Tid...Er Kommet...

Dimmu Borgir's volkish spirit - 90%

Taliesin, August 16th, 2006

Once upon a time Dimmu Borgir still created black metal inspired by the spirit of the landscape of their Norwegian homeland. Influenced by the Volkish spirit that also touched other bands like Burzum, Enslaved, Satyricon, etc. they created two albums of darkness and epicism, before degenerating at the exact same time as so many other bands in the Norwegian scene (1996 to 1999 was the end period of most Norwegian bands). This particular album is very raw, the keyboards are left lower in the mix and used to add epic feeling to parts of songs, rather then the over indulgence of Stormblast (my only criticism with that beautiful recording). The guitars are left with the raw trebble blast, while the bass is loud and clear in the mix. And most surprisingly the drums are given a very raw live sound, that fits in very well and illuminates the feeling behind this music. The vocals (done by many people on here) are always very well done, and at times very haunting. The clean singing is done by Aldrahn from Ved Buens Ende and Dodheimsgard, except on here he goes for a sound more like In the Woods... then his usual strange singing voice. His vocals fit much of this material, as it highlights the epic quality of this music that would obviously go on to influence many bands.

The band also brought in some interesting aspects, a lot of acoustic guitars, used much like Immortal on Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism and Satyricon on Dark Medieval Times, with a bit of the Bathory influence (i.e. Blood Fire Death), that combined with very good dynamics and solos creates an always interesting listening experience. However none of this would mean anything if it wasnt for the deep feeling listening to this that you are taking part in something epic and very enchanting. Though not perhaps as good as Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse, this album does indeed bring up some good points in the symphonic genre, as it does not over do anything, unlike nearly everything else by this band. There are no flashy piano pieces ontop of the metal, just simple chords following the music, and sometimes some extra melody. Sure the keyboards sound a bit cheap, but they do even more so on Enslaved's Hordanes Land EP and that is always called a classic. One has to get past what Dimmu Borgir is now and listen to what is on tap here. Many people are narrow minded about bands who ended up playing bad music, but who once were influenced by the deep archtypal spirit of the European past.

The medievalist excercise and dark Norwegian spirit that is behind this album is just as strong in any band who remained "true" simply listen and hear the brilliance contained on here by a young band who would continue down the path of commericalism. The depressive somber tones of this music will last forever, as will their next album Stormblast, which is in many ways better and more important. But lest we not forget, it all started here on this dark epic volkish recording.

For All Tid - inspirational release. - 92%

Graveland84, July 8th, 2003

Although many of us are disappointed in the direction Dimmu Borgir have headed in recent years, it does not hide the fact that they once produced very inspirational music. In the opinions of many, this release is by far the best and upon listening and comparing it to later releases, it is not hard to see why people might think this.

The album opens up with a very atmospheric and sombre orchestral synth and piano piece which sets the mood for the rest of the album to follow. Indeed, the album is rich in melancholic emotion making it great to listen to if that's your thing. The morose atmosphere created by the guitar is forever being enhanced by the accompanying synth, which unlike some later Dimmu Borgir releases, is not overpowering (see especially Enthroned Darkness Triumphant where the keyboards often drown out some of the other instruments).

The album is also commendable because of the fact that the musicians were relatively young when they produced it.

Although most of the music on the album is relatively simple, it is effective and for my money I say go for what sounds good rather than trying to be technical. All in all a great release filled with emotional melodies, and despite the band's "selling out" in the last few years, this album remains is a great melancholic and inspirational album. 92%.

Best tracks: 3. Over Bleknede Blåner Till Dommedag, 5. Glittertind, 7. Hunnerkongens Sorgsvarte Ferd Over Steppene, 8. Raabjørn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde.


Graveland84