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I'll start by saying I completely disagree with the majority of the criticism this track has gotten in previous reviews. Let's begin by identifying what exactly this track is and isn't. Is it black metal? Absolutely not. Is it the Dimmu Borgir of 1994 or even 1999? Absolutely not. But it is absolutely a standout track in production, construction, and atmosphere for those who enjoy well executed epic material. I fully believe if Dimmu had released the track without putting their name on it and a listener had no previous exposure to the band's previous endeavors the amount of hate this release has yielded would be significantly diminished.
As for the track itself, I'll set a few things straight. I am not a fan of Shagrath's recent vocals for the most part. The infamous chipmunk vocals drive me insane. Having said that, I feel that as a whole, his performance isn't really that inappropriate for once. Is it a standout performance? No. But it fits the music very well, I think. In the wake of ICS Vortex were given a guest appearance by Agnete Kjølsrud for some clean vocals in the middle and end of the song. The ending vocal part she delivers is outstanding in my opinion. Pop fluff? Sure. Epic and perfectly adhering to the calling of the music? Yes. No one is disputing that this track is accessible and easy to listen to from where I'm standing. It is most definitely the most accessible song the band has ever recorded. Now my argument is...so the fuck what? It has nothing to do with the proper usage of the symphonic elements delivered by the orchestra, the guitar work, or the vocal experimentation the band dabbled in using Agnete.
Although I certainly wouldn't label this black metal, or even close for that matter, I will stand by saying it is a worthy track worth a listen and doesn't warrant the extraneous amount of negative reception it is getting. I'll keep enjoying it.
The title really says it all. I had never given much of a listen to Dimmu Borgir, although the idea of symphonic black metal is a pretty interesting one. However, this fails to truly unlock the potential of what that subgenre could really be. I picked this song off of a compilation, so there was no harm in giving it a listen. The song is not terrible, but it is indeed lacking in many key places.
The first major point of exasperation is the guitars. They are barely present through the song, only coming out for one or two leads and a miserable ‘solo’, which is also a bore. During the rest of the song you can barely hear them, and what little there is are unoriginal and far from what black metal is, ruining that aspect of the concept. They portray a typical symphonic band rather than trying to incorporate black metal into that mix. Quite a disappointment.
The vocals here vary from decent to bad to worse. The decent parts are the choir and female clean vocals at the end section. The clean vocals by the main singer I find to be passable and fit the music very well. The regular black metal vocals are not bad on their own, but sound terrible when trying to mix with the rest of the atmosphere created. And worse yet are the first section of female vocals. Some demented cackling voice graces your ears, fitting the instrumental well, but forces me to conjure up a variety of creative ways to keep myself from hearing it again.
The symphonic aspect of the album is all right, generating some catchy melodies in some sections while unfortunately switching to background noise when some of the vocals come in. The orchestra uses some interesting percussion instruments that sound almost like a marimba. Some cool noises come in and out through the song, but there is nothing truly original or groundbreaking here; rather it is the same thing we have heard before in a different package.
The drums are by far the best part of the song. The double bass pedal varies from fast to in time with the melodies of the song, and there is even a drum fill somewhere in the mix. This aspect is truly representative of symphonic black metal, incorporating styles of playing from both genres. There is even some of beat patterns and I might even dare a blast beat. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
Bottom line, don’t buy this song. It is not terrible, but the shortcomings far out number what Dimmu Borgir succeeded with here. The song focuses on being catchy rather than having any depth to it, which is the major thing that annoys me here. I also assure you that there was actually a lack of bias here that has not been so present in other reviews, since I have no idea about Dimmu Borgir’s ‘experimentation’. There are far worse things, but simply pass over this one.
HEY LOOK! IT'S DIMMU BOR-well, no, this still kinda sucks.
I've always tried to stay away from the two most mainstream black metal bands in history (I'll leave it to you to figure out who I mean). I hear their singles here, random radio pop-up there. Normally I try to just zone it out - if I want old men shouting or birds chirping I go to the nursing home or the park, respectively - but the other day I heard a genuinely beautiful section of music on the radio. I looked up at my radio, and was shocked to discover it was the outro of "Gateways", by Dimmu Borgir.
Now hold on, I thought. This can't be Dimmu Borgir. I'm enjoying this! But yes, believe it or not, I like this song - or at least, the last minute or so of it. It's not preferable to Marduk or Bornholm, but then again, this isn't really black metal either. It's really cheesy for the first three minutes or so, yes, but it's very well structured considering how many times it changes theme. Yes, I'm sure if someone with two grains of talent to rub together and knowledge in musical theory covered this song, it'd be a beautiful masterpiece. But sadly, this song is being played by Dimmu Borgir, who have to be some of the worst instrument-players in the metal universe.
"Gateways" opens with a beautiful symphonic intro, which is one of the only things I've continuously appreciated about this band throughout their material that I've heard. From there, the song trails into a slow, war-marchish tempo for a second, and it's here two of the song's most evident flaws become evident. For one, the god-forsaken, hoary robo-vocals, which are just about as out-of-place amongst this song as Fred Durst would be. For two, Shagrath...where was I when you ripped out part of Dani Filth's voice box to use for yourself? For one, Filth isn't a good role model to aspire to become, and for two, frankly, you suck dick at imitating your idol. Whereas Dani sounds like a chirping bird, you, already sounding like an old man (see the reference in the first paragraph of my review?), sound now like an old man attempting autoerotic asphyxia. I would say that you should stick to your regular raspy vocals, but I hate those too, so I guess the best I can give you is GIVE IT A REST. Even worse, there's not much guitar in this song at all, which means that when the symphonies fail to sound epic or brutal, there's nothing there to back them up at all, leading to a lot of bland and empty sections in the music. Anyway, from here, the song moves into the riff that is the song's namesake, and it's actually really, really bad. Not as bad as the Death Cult Armageddon riffs, but it's still a really cheesy piece of shit. Terrible female vocals periodically interrupted with chanting of "GATEWAYS" over and over. Fucking ew. Then we get more nu-metal-style faded-out spoken word, followed by a somewhat boring guitar interlude. The Dani Filth chanting from the beginning repeats, and a half-assed guitar riff pops up. However, at this point (around 3:45), the song changes...for the better, by far.
Yes, we get it, more old man robo-vocals...wait, what? That was beautiful! Yes, at 3:50 in the song, we get a taste of what the female earlier in the song can achieve, as she sings a very beautiful melody, and it alternates between Shagrath's rambling and the beautiful female vocals. It's backed by Dimmu Borgir's trademark war march bass pedal blasts and a decent guitar, but does it really matter? Am I paying attention to anything but the vocals? I think not. Strangely enough, the female vocals even dilute the suck of Shagrath's retirement home inhabitant impersonation. So yes, though this whole entire song basically sucks, the last minute of it or so is just perfect. Note that it's the only reason "Gateways" gets a 35% from me, and not a 5% or even lower.
So no, Dimmu Borgir, you still suck. Here are a few tips:
1. Dani Filth sucks. Don't try to emulate him.
2. Robots and black metal don't mix.
3. Shagrath, you sound like an old man. Leave the band.
4. Use more guitar riffs so that when your symphonies fail, your listeners aren't sitting there bored.
5. Use more female vocals. They are your only hope.
If you do these five things, you may once again compose something that isn't cheesy nor is it annoying. Until then, I might as well just spin For All Tid on repeat.
As a fan of Dimmu Borgir's work, I was quite interested when I heard that the band was coming out with a new album. Even if they were down a few members, the name Dimmu Borgir has always had a fairly strong reputation. Even in their "low" points (Death Cult Armageddon, etc), deemed as such by their critics, they were still creating solid and listenable music. Alas, with the release of the single "Gateways," there's little but disappointment here awaiting anyone who has ever heard of Dimmu Borgir.
From the ridiculously retarded costumes (what the fuck is that on your head, Shagrath, tentacles?) in all white (aren't you guys supposed to be a BLACK metal band? Even though you haven't done any of that in ages?) my personal expectations had already been lowered slightly. However, I thought to myself "well, that's damn amusing. I'm sure their music is still good though." As "Gateways" opened up, my general train of thought remained on the same path. Unfortunately it did not take long for that metaphorical train to get blown off the goddamn tracks.
Up until about 0:36 it's the same old Dimmu Borgir, more or less, with a bit extra that one would expect from a new album. The synths could do a bit more but it's an effective beginning to a song and there isn't anything to complain about. But after that it goes downhill for the most part, with Shagrath refusing to shut up or stick with one (maybe two) consistent vocal styles. The instruments don't do much better, and everything about the music just jumps all over the place for no damn reason at all. It's a failed experiment in progression; Dimmu Borgir sounds like they are attempting to become a more technical and progressive metal band with a distinct symphonic edge, and there is nothing wrong with that idea. They almost have it. But the way this song is executed, well... it's pretty bad. Abysmal for a band that has a history spanning all the way back to 1993. If this song was longer, structured in a more cohesive manner, and everyone wasn't spazzing out at the same time, "Gateways" could be really good. There is plenty of potential here, and it's a mystery as to why Dimmu Borgir is barely scraping the top of their 'potential' barrel.
The video itself is one of the most retarded things I have ever seen, but the main focus is on the music here. It's very airy and seems almost too cleanly-produced for a metal band, and the first round of female vocals that randomly pops up - well, they kind of fit. I won't complain, but then there's a really shitty guitar solo for no reason, followed by still-okay female vocals and then Shagrath does his stupid robo-clean vocals. But let's go back to that guitar solo thing: what the hell is that? It's horrible and within the song makes no sense in regard to its placement. It's like someone said "wait a minute guys, we need a fucking guitar solo somewhere!" And someone else said "sure, just point at the song timeline with your eyes closed, and we'll throw it in there. By the way, don't actually write a solo. Just flail on the strings for a few seconds." With the exception of perhaps two or three more attributes of "Gateways," the song refuses to improve from there. It is bland and lifelessly mechanical, a step in a new direction for Dimmu Borgir, who broke an ankle halfway there.
40% for being barely listenable. It's a vague step below "so-so" and it does not leave me with high hopes for the full-length album that this will be released on.
What we have here is proof that Dimmu does not need Mustis or ICS Vortex to produce epic black metal (Note: I have not said "never did need") In fact, I dont know what else everyone has heard, but I think this tops the epic tracks that were "Spellbound", "Hybrid Stigmata", "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse", and "Eradication Instincts Defined". What I am hearing here is a band that knows their sound, and knows it well.
The song starts with a fairly mysterious if not slightly mystical sound, then immediately breaks into the same eerie vibe that we get from Dimmu Borgir as of late- it's complete with double kick drums, eerie wailing, and two backings of guitar that drive the whole thing forward. We then hear Shagrath sing- nothing spectacular, but nothing new or crazy that we haven't heard from him. Meanwhile, the orchestra plays several distinctive notes that hint at a slight sound of madness and perhaps chaos; but done so in an eloquent way that compliments the drum line. Afterwards things change up a bit and the drums and guitar let forth an unrelenting march with some chanting and more of the vocals.
Then, out of nowhere, this banshee by the name of " Agnete Maria Forfang Kjølsrud" shows up. Im a big fan of female vocals, but this one took me for a big trip on the first listen. What we have is what many have claimed to be "chipmunk" sounding- you may feel the same way. However, I feel her voice just adds to the intensity of the song. Her vocals have a high pitched wail that just adds this layer of intensity and madness that I honestly have never experienced in anything I have listened to. This is separated by a melodic guitar interlude, nothing fantastic really, but still enjoyable nonetheless.
Regrettably, Shagrath then follows up with his "robot" voice clean lyrics which is backed up by what honestly sounds a bit like a zombie gagging on something. Im not really -against- this, but I really would prefer to hear something a little bit more original. One album of that was enough, thanks.
The whole song continues on the same for the most part until the 3:22 mark, in which we finally hear some of the old black metal riffing Dimmu was so well known for back in the days of Spiritual Black Dimensions and earlier. However, this just only serves as an opening for what I feel is the strongest part of the song.
Shagrath and Agnete trade off lyrics back and forth, while the orchestra uses a mix of mournful strings, horns and chanting to create a truly epic experience. The guitars and drums do a typical on-off again setup here, but it works FANTASTICALLY in conjunction with Agnete's vocals (Which at this point are not so "chipmunk" as earlier) and Shagrath's darker vocals. While the latter does sound a little bit robotic still, it's not as prevalent due to everything else going on. Finally, the whole thing ends on a grand note and fades out.
All in all Im extremely excited for the what the future holds in store for Dimmu. While no one can say exactly what we'll be hearing on Abrahadbra without Mustis and ICS Vortex, this goes to show that Dimmu still has something up their sleeves.
I've been a Dimmu Borgir fan since I began listening to Metal, they've always been one of my favourites, but this isn't the Dimmu I know. They've always had this great, Raw Black Metal edge, but they've almost lost it in this 'Hit Single'.
First and formost, WHO THE FUCK IS THAT RANDOM LADY??? She absolutely killed the entire 'Gateways' song for me, just butchered it. As if it wasn't bad enough, get some old woman to destroy a Symphonic Black Metal song... That's sad. Shagrath kept his usual deep-growling style Black Metal vocals, thankfully, they've always had that great edge, and I'm glad they didn't give it up. If Shagrath wasn't there, I'd have lost all respect.
The guitars are pretty sloppy, usually they play almost everywhere, now they just seem to be repeating one note the entire song... Lame. They move around a bit, but for fuck's sake, let us notice you, at least. 2 guitarists, and not enough tone.
The drums weren't that bad, they stayed with the song, played it right, but nothing special, a little disappointing, when they had Hellhammer for 'In Sorte Diaboli' that blew me away, the greatest Black Metal drummer ever finally in one of the best bands. HE should have showed them how it's done, and they should have made Hellhammer stay. Would have made this a lot better.
Was there any bass in this single, at all? I didn't hear it. WTF? The pianist didn't show much of himself either, just playing chords at random parts, nothing interesting.
And finally, the grand orchestra playing with Dimmu. Sounds too orchestral for Dimmu Borgir, they're original stuff just had some piano and organ, now they've got the whole sha-bang. Waste of it. Should have stayed as who you originally are.
Closing statement for this is that the album better make up for it. It better sound LIKE ACTUAL DIMMU BORGIR. A little disappointing with 'Gateways'.
...And that old bitch better not ruin all their songs. Or I might shoot myself.
For the sake of civility I won't dredge up the recent past regarding DIMMU BORGIR and their sad, sordid descent into madness. Drama for the sake of drama shouldn't exist in the metal world and I find it bothersome that it does show up time and again, overshadowing that which is SUPPOSED to be the most important factor (the music). That would be something to really fall back on if DIMMU had any kind of serious compositional chops, and, let's face it, they really don't. With every successive album it was glaringly obvious that without the keyboards DIMMU's repetitive, watered-down riffs would be made all the more annoying, and yet they still became the biggest musical thing to come from Norway, mirroring a certain, equally repetitive thrash band starting with an M who rose to as stratospheric of heights some thirty-odd years ago.
Yes, my dear readers, this DOES bear some semblance of rationality regarding this "song"...
What we have here with "Gateways" isn't really generic DIMMU BORGIR fare...during their heyday they at least had a minute sense of melody and the occasional bout of blast-beating brutality that still gave the listeners a few moments of enjoyment. But that was then...and this is now. Anyone who's anyone should know by now that this band has a bad habit of kicking out anyone who seems to possess more talent alone than the whole group in general (cases in points: Astennu, who helped sculpt "Spiritual Black Dimensions", their finest hour in my book, and of course a certain two musicians who were the only saving graces post-"Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia"), and this is augmented the most with "Gateways", a fine example of a washed-up act who's best days are far behind them. The rot and decay that started to show on "Death Cult Armageddon" became more inflamed around "In Sorte Diaboli", but all that neglect on their part has given way to a terminal festering that is only hours away from eating the band alive from the inside out. Simply put...this sucks...hard...embarrassingly. The problem with this is that it seems to have potential going for it by way of the eerie synth ambiences and choir voices, but once the “riffing” starts and Shagrath’s tired-sounded croaks take center stage it becomes the musical equivalent of the Hindenburg. Everything just completely falls apart as the song progresses, crashed under the weight of the band’s rock-star ambitions to the point where we long-suffering old timers just shake our heads in bitter disappointment. There is little redeemable value in this exercise in metallic privation, where even the monstrous percussion usage and above average keyboard lines are bogged by half-hearted riff work and the poorest example of “evil” vocals this side of old EPOCH OF UNLIGHT. And when it comes to those backing vocals…no…no no no no NO! Getting a loud, irritating, Anette Olzon wannabe to counteract Shaggy’s brusqueness just makes this whole ordeal that much more of a hassle. I guess, deep down, we always knew it would come to this…the self-proclaimed patron saints of black metal end up losing their way, as they don’t have the tenacity to keep their increasingly sinking ship afloat by their lonesome, and once they jettisoned the ones who actually made things worthy in the ears of the populace it was only a matter of time until self-serving mediocrity swallowed them whole. And we’re the ones who end up enduring the worst of it, in the end…
All in all this was a huge disappointment for myself and others of my seeming ilk. I gave these guys one more chance to redeem themselves and with this they spit in my face and laugh. If this is meant to be the definitive face of the new album then these fuckers are long past their expiration date. Time to call it a day, fellas, before you dig your personal grave even deeper…
First a description of the song, then the impression that it made on me.
The song begins with a brief symphonic intro, and then kicks in with a typical Dimmu style riff, drums kicking and choirs "Ahh"ing. The following riff is more stop and start guitar work with the symphony filling in the cracks and Shagrath utilizing a lower vocal range, almost talking that leads into yelling at the end of each lyric. The section after that reminds me of a God of War soundtrack gone wrong. The choir itself is good, but the part that they're singing over doesn't quite fit without seeming cheesy. Then, out of nowhere, there's a clean female vocal that's both unexpected and pleasantly surprising. At first it doesn't fit, but it eventually becomes very fitting. A melodic harmonized guitar lead - something Dimmu doesn't really utilized very often - separates the clean verses. After the clean vocals there's a dialogue from Shagrath over choirs that are used in a much more intelligent way than before, and fit with the epic guitars and drums that remind me that chugging can still be good under the right circumstances. There's a verse using the symphony and ending vocals that sound like Swans, no, really, Swans. In any case, it's followed up by actual black metal riffage that sounds brilliantly depressing and somber while still feeling epic. It all leads up to the most epic part of the song. More start stop riffage over Shagrath dialogue trading off with clean female vocals as the symphony and choirs constantly build up with emotion, and at the very climax of it all, guitars and drums ring out to signify that it's all over.
Aside from the God of War-esque section, this song reinstalled my hope for Dimmu. When Mustis and Vortex were no longer a part of the band I wasn't sure if they would be able to make music the same way without drastically changing their sound for the worse, and to my surprise, the sound was drastically changed for the better while still holding on to their Dimmu sound. I have a feeling that they’re going to heavily rely on the symphony and choir arrangements more than before, but as long as it sounds good in the end without being the same idea recycled over and over again, then no complaints here.
The decision to make this song the single release is intelligent to me because the end of the song really left me wanting to hear more from the new album. I honestly think that if all of the songs have the same feel to them that this could be just as good, if not a little bit better than Progenies, but definitely better that In Sorte and Puritanical. Let's hope that this isn't just an anomaly with Abrahadabra and Dimmu can actually back up all of the praise that they've been giving themselves.
Until then - well done, Dimmu Borgir.
Dimmu seem to be a bit of a marmite band - you love em or hate em - but I've been a fairly casual follower of their various whatnots. I liked a couple of songs from most of their albums and I do enjoy the odd Enthrone Darkness Triumphant session. New single out and accusations of sell out are on many a lip, and it is a pretty commercial sounding track.
After In Sorte Diaboli's more simplistic sound, 'Gateways' bespeaks a revisit to the slightly faster and denser leanings of Death Cult Armageddon and prior efforts. It opens with an orchestral swirl and moves into a mildly boring chugging verse with Shagrath's robot voice. He's never been a very good vocalist if you ask me, and I rather wish Galder would join in with his gnarly spitting growls which were sounding better than ever on Slaves of the World. A double assault of extreme vocals would be cool. But here, Shaggers is joined by a female singer who is also smothered in electronic effects and who doesn't add too much. With the departure of the insanely talented ICS Vortex to hopefully pastures old in a possible Arcturus reunion, Dimmu could have done all sorts of things for a secondary vocalist. The high pitch of this guest singer made me think that some heavy metal falsettos in the style of Halford could have made this a very badass track indeed, but there it is.
Upon learning Daray of Vader fame would be joining in on drums live I was keen to hear this. Since it's a download single I'm not sure if he is playing session since he doesn't appear in promo pics, but from the crunchy technical attack it sounds like it could be him. The drums add a good bit of value to this song for me. I like Galder's Old Man's Child a lot, but he doesn't really get up to much in Dimmu does he? He chugs away while Silenoz does some melodic stuff which is pretty catchy, a teasing bit of tremolo-picking which is also welcome alongside Daray's (?) rushing drumming. And he chugs a fair bit too. Dimmu Borgir aren't about guitars so much as their general atmosphere of BIG and EPIC.
Yup, fairly predictable Dimmu fare, it shan't be garnering many new fans except from the generation just getting to the age where they might fancy something more extreme than their Marilyn Manson and Linkin Park records. It doesn't deserve to lose them any fans as it's not a million miles away from older stuff, and some of the venomous reactions to this track that you'll read and hear are probably overkill. It makes for a decent, distracting listen for me but no longevity, despite some sweet drumming.
For a while now I’ve been wondering about the characteristics of the upcoming Dimmu Borgir album, and, as the picture became clearer and clearer, some realizations were made. The artwork (for both the album and the single) is basically Death Cult Armageddon version 2.0, while the promotional band pictures are extremely strange, kind of like a “Satanism meets Pirates of the Caribbean in the Himalayas”. Such secondary considerations aside, the music is what’s truly important and Gateways, the first single from the bizarrely titled Abrahadabra, bears witness to a band still doing what they’ve been perfecting during this last decade or so: symphonic extreme metal.
In the context of this last decade of the band’s existence, Gateways stands as an extremely epic, fast paced and aggressive number. While it’s by no means a perfect song, it does a pretty good job of representing the band’s career at this point and is surprisingly enjoyable.
The traditional elements of the modern Dimmu Borgir sound are all present here. First of all there’s the production, which is insanely polished and clean, ill-suited for most forms of black metal but ideal for the kind of metal Dimmu Borgir play: their usual mix of orchestral sounds and metal instrumentation largely reliant on technicality and complex patterns.
The orchestral section has a very important presence here, essentially being the backbone of the entire sound. It’s also quite varied, going from traditional string instruments to the occasional keyboard sounds designed to enhance the overall atmosphere. All this is excellent for the most part, but the massive use of the orchestra renders the guitars very secondary in importance. They’re barely there for the most part, only having a truly important part after the 3:10 mark, for a good 35 seconds. Otherwise they’re a bit too buried in the overall sound. The same can’t be said about the drumming, which is the band’s usual brand of double bass and extremely fast playing. This is basically a better sounding version of the somewhat too dry but extremely technical drumming used on Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. The drumming is used to give a very strong feeling of war and aggression, which when combined with the orchestral section gives off a very epic feeling to the whole thing.
Finally there are the vocals, and they can be divided in two parts. First of all come Shagrath’s vocals, and they’re a nod to his most industrial, computer-enhanced moments (again, some moments from PEM and DCA). This sound is in a way refreshing because for a while he’d been doing the same slightly generic rasp (In Sorte Diaboli and the awful, awful Ov Hell album), which did however give off more of an authentic black metal feeling that his vocals here. There’s also a second set of vocals, those of Agnete Kjolsrud, and her vocals need a bit of getting used to. They’ve very high-pitched, but in a strange, computer-modified way… this isn’t Dani Filth, but a kind of weird witchy thing. Her vocals are tolerable but they don’t bring too much to the song (aside from a bit of variety). In the end, it’s an interesting if ultimately pointless addition to the Dimmu Borgir sound. That said, her more traditional vocal sections are much more enjoyable, such as towards the end of the song.
In the end, this is simply another modern Dimmu Borgir song doing what your usual song of this type does: it entertains. It’s an epic metal anthem that’s enjoyable as an “action song”, with a lot of energy and a good fusion of symphony and metal, but it’s no transcendental masterpiece. It’s not as good as, say, Kings of the Carnival Creation or Progenies of the Great Apocalypse. It’s simply an above average Dimmu Borgir song, and hopefully serves its purpose well as the annunciation of what Abrahadabra will sound like. I like this, and I must say that they’re on an enjoyable path.
Here we have a promotional piece of material for the upcoming Dimmu Borgir album that, before even being released, had caused quite a fair bit of stir due to the departure of ICS Vortex and Mustis. This subsequently caused some discussion over just how Dimmu could continue without what some people considered to be the most important members. However, after just one listen I think it’s quite fair to say that Shagrath and the remaining members have actually progressed very well after the recent events.
Gateways seems to take quite a bit of influence from Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia if you’re looking to compare this track to past material and in itself has a very epic, orchestral sound. In place of ICS Vortex’s vocals Dimmu has opted here for female vocals instead that, after reading some discussions on the track seem to be creating quite polarised reactions, though from the perspective of myself they work quite well and fit with the overall direction Gateways takes.
Dimmu also make us of what they have done before in both Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia and Death Cult Armageddon, and that is a mechanical sound with heavy symphonies played over the top. Perhaps in past efforts this hasn't been done in a manner that can fully achieve the intention, though with the much grander, richer sound that Dimmu have created on Gateways the combination seems to work much better.
If this track is anything to go by then this album will easily top their last three releases that were, in all fairness, pretty awful. Obviously Dimmu will still suffer from the knee-jerk torrents of hate from people who consider themselves above everyone else with their all-knowing selves intrinsically knowing this album to be awful, but if one can assess this track from an objective standpoint it’s very possible many people will find themselves enjoying what Gateways offers.
Confusion and anger are the only 2 words to describe my feeling the first time I heard this lame excuse for art. And I am doing this band a big favor by even giving them enough credit by calling this trash of a song art.
I'm letting it loose - no holds barred on Dimmu Borgir for this album. I was the guy who had contempt prior to investigation for this band due to the amount of mall-core kids wearing their shirts when I'd go see shows. There would be a group of kids with fishnet sleeves donning Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and Dimmu Borgir shirts so I lumped them in with the other mindless drone-following shit. But one day decided to give them more of a chance and gave "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant" a listen and was sold. That album was and still is a masterpiece for many reasons - an instant extreme metal classic. I then acquired a few other albums in their discography and had no real complaints. One thing I determined was that this band is not and never was black metal after "For All Tid". Most of the stuff was very good or tolerable, but not black metal like so many say they are. Those are the same people who think Cradle of Filth is black metal.
This review could be the simplest I've done because it is only based on one song, but there is more than just the one song that needs to be talked about. Metal has paradoxes attached to it. And in Dimmu Borgir's case their falsities and bullshit has now shown itself in the most vile of ways. The theatrics and monetary part of the business have now seemed to become more important to the remaining members of this band than the actual music and art(There's that word again). Unfortunately for them, I have a poseur detecting radar that is still blaring after listening to this cradle of filth knock-off of a song/single. Why do I say it is such a song?
Shagrath. Man, can you make it any more obvious that you want to sound like Dani Filth?! Well, it is a poor attempt to sound like an already horrible vocalist. The range is obviously manipulated by modern technology. He attempts that signature shrill Dani Filth high pitch scream/squeal thing but ends up sounding like what I would consider a muskrat being tortured. He then goes on the other extreme and employs that low-pitch groan like on numerous tracks from "In Sorte Diaboli". A couple little spoken word parts followed by what can be considered a guitar lead. But it's pretty pathetic. And fake - synthetic.
There are snyths and keyboards and what even sounds like sampling present in this song. More electronic orchestral sounding(like Cradle of Filth) than the usual Dimmu symphonic tactics. That brings me to wonder what happened to Mustis and why was he kicked out. Like someone else I know said, "he probably wasn't playing ball". That's right, post listening to this, he's better off elsewhere anyways. Hail Mustis!
The guitar work is so obscured by the already mentioned dull electronic aspect of this album that it really isn't worth talking about. There are a few palm-muted little riffs throughout that are meant to be catchy but come up short. There are sell out forms of catchy and good pure metal grooves, these "riffs" have sellout all over them. Galder is an official member but it would be hard to believe that he had anything to do with the writing of this childish bullshit due to his high skill level of playing. Fuck, I can't believe he is even associated with this.
The drums are the best part of this song but it's nothing new. Blast beat and crash ride, blast beat. I mean, if it weren't for the drums, I would have given this song a 0%. Whoever is drumming on this, is dominating the kit with decent authority. And this band has had more drummers come through than johns at a whorehouse.
I really have tried to give Dimmu the benefit of the doubt on more than one occasion after first condemning them unfairly. I did see this coming but guess I lied to myself. But now I am starting to hate them again, and for good reason. They have sold out. And I don't throw the "selling out" term around loosely. What I mean by selling out is that they have almost fully compromised their style under the name Dimmu Borgir. Should have changed their name. It's just too obvious. This is the kind of selling out that a band does that you see in movies. Yes, officially Dimmu Borgir have sold out. And to put the icing on the cake of "washed up", they do it with a fucking single. What faggothery. I hope their tour with nu-metal fagsters Korn goes well. They'll probably make a lot of money though.
R.I.P. Dimmu Borgir
Within the first few seconds of listening to "Gateways," it's already apparent that Dimmu Borgir is sticking to the same formula that they've used for previous albums' singles; namely Serpentine Offering and Progenies of the Great Apocalypse. This formula is basically a grandiloquent orchestral piece - quite catchy and decently done - overtop double bass drums and a boring guitar line composed of maybe two chords repeated over and over. This part isn't surprising but it still sounds okay.
The vocals are primarily what you would expect from Shagrath, with the exception of the terrible chipmunk vocals that burst in immediately after the first verse. Although as bad as they are, they are kinda somewhat forgivable after a few listens. Shagrath doesn't quite do his robot voice, as I've noticed a few to accuse him of. He does try to do some pretty deep and darker sounding growls, but no robot shit. It even sounds as though he puts in a few words of clean singing at random points.
The redeeming part of this song is from about 3:50 on. It actually turns pretty epic. The chipmunk vocalist does some real singing that actually sounds good and Shagrath goes back to his growling as opposed to his regular froggy voice. The beat and guitars slow down and get really heavy while the orchestra plays a sorrowful and sad piece. If the rest of the upcoming album is anything similar to this part of the song, then I really cant wait. I've found Dimmu to always be barely mediocre, but the ending to the song gave me a little hope for whats in store for Abrahadabra.
Long story short: If you are expecting a new sound from these guys...then you will be barely barely satisfied. By itself the song is overall mediocre at best.
You know, I like Dimmu Borgir. I think they can (or could, at least) pull off some killer symphonic black metal albums. Hell, who else but them could make a masterpiece like Progenies of the Great Apocalypse? What about The Insight and the Catharsis, or Spellbound?
They also like to experiment, you know. Pretty much like a confused teenager kid who suddenly finds himself kind of liking other guys, they experimented a little bit back in the day and produced what was, hands down, the gayest black metal album ever created: Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. The problem with that album was that it sounded like Dimmu Borgir meets Cradle of Filth meets Daft Punk. It just didn't work. I don't know about you guys, but where I come from, black metal isn't exactly associated with elements such as "industrial", "futuristic" or "post apocalyptic". When was the last time you saw a song like Puritania labeled as black metal? Never, simply because it's not. It's an abortion, a mix of industrial poser goth crap with no redeeming traits whatsoever.
Well, most teenagers eventually grow past the "experimenting" phase, and remain straight. That's what I thought had happened with Stormblast 2005 and In Sorte Diaboli. And here I am, reviewing a song that shows me that not only have Dimmu gone back to their homo days, but that they're up there with Dani Filth in the scale of royal cocksucking.
The song starts impressively enough, with some really epic, majestic chants and orchestral work. Holy shit, this is gonna be fucking awesom-- wait. What the hell? No. Please, don't do it. Please, NOT THOSE FUCKING ROBOT VOCALS AGAIN. I THOUGHT WE WERE PAST THAT BULLSHIT, THIS IS NOT WHAT BLACK METAL IS SUPPOSED TO SOUND LIKE, YOU FUCKING DICKHEADS.
Oh, but that's not all. You see, firm to their Puritanical Euphoric Faggotry tradition, the melody itself turns into something that could come straight from Nymphetamine. Think of the gay keyboards in the beginning of Kings of the Carnival Creation. Yeah, it's that bad.
The robot voice continues on for a while, and then the epicness kicks in once again when the choir takes over (not without Shagrath trying to ruin it), and then.. then something happens.
Not satisfied with having raped this song with his own vocals, Shagrath decided to hire Alvin the Chipmunk to sing along with him. I'm not kidding here. You know that Edguy song, the one about the alien bunnies? Remember that section with the hilariously high little voice? This is pretty much the same. Except that one was, you know, a joke. I'd be lying if I said I laughed at this, because I wasn't. I was crying.
The worst part is that if you remove both Shagrath and the chimpunk, this turns out to be an incredibly beautiful song. Take for instance the section that comes after that. The orchestra really shines here, and OH MY GOD IS THAT ROBOT VOICE AGAIN!
Then a lame guitar solo.
Then the same robot + gay melody section I mentioned earlier.
Then some attempts at black metal vocals.
And just then, JUST then, some real black metal riffing.
I won't lie, the section that comes after this is actually pretty nice. Shagrath's still doing the robot vocals, but somehow they sound a little bit darker, and they strangely fit here. And the chipmunk does some amazing job as well, creating a beautiful, sad and mysterious atmosphere. Kind of what the entire fucking song should've been like.
And then it ends. So yeah. What the fuck was that.
This wasn't funny. At all. I fucking knew this was gonna happen when I saw the album cover, but still.. I've been anxiously expecting this album like a 15 year old girl would expect her first real dicking, and now I'm as disappointed as she would be after discovering her boyfriend had chlamydia. The problem with Dimmu is that they have so many ideas, but they just don't know how to put them together. They're like "Hey, let's make an album with symphonic stuff and a giant orchestra and choirs but also industrial, with robot voices and futuristic themes but also it's gotta be black metal so we throw some black metal riffs here and there but it has to have some guitar solos so we put a solo and also THAT HORRIBLE, ANNOYING CHIPMUNK VOICE OF HELL".
You can see this even in their band pictures, or album artwork. Their outfits, their corpsepaint.. It's all a mashup of styles and elements that just don't work together. Black metal is supposed to sound medieval. Not futuristic, and sure as hell not industrial.
So yeah, I'm giving it a 0. Not because it's that bad (remove all the vocals and you have a masterpiece worthy of praise and admiration), but because it symbolizes everything that's wrong with Dimmu Borgir.They sound like they're trying really hard to be like Cradle of Filth, and then suddenly feel a huge remorse and add some black metal elements to their music because hey, that's what they're supposed to be. For Christ's sake, make up your mind guys. You have the talent, you just don't know how to use it.