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Surprised. Both positive and negative - 80%

Svarthavid, April 8th, 2009

Dimmu Borgir, a band bashed and criticised for it’s mainstream approach, both here on the encyclopaedia metallum and in the metal community in genral. By foreigners of course. Here in Norway, Dimmu is much less insulted than internassionally. When I bump into a Norwegian metalhead, and ask what kind of music they listen to, Dimmu Borgir is a band most of them comes up with, me among them.

Enough talk and on to the review. This DVD surprised me both positive and negative. The positive was that there is lots of live footage here, and since I think Dimmu kick major ass live, this was almost like a dream come true.

Well, the negative, Shagrath. Most of the time, his growls sound tired. He needs more exersise. But don’t be too afraid, I have heard much worse.

The musicianship is most of the time great. Tony Laureano’s drums are extremely triggered. It sounds a bit annoying, but other than that, Galder, Silenoz, Mustis and of course, ICS Vortex does a relatively good job. Espesually the latter, but I have heard him do better. Just checkout earlier Dimmu bootlegs.

The graphics, I really can’t comment on, since I’m blind. according to the other reviewers here, it sounded OK to me.
The last thing I’m gonna complain about. From Stormblåst 2005 and onwards, they decided to tune down the guitar a whole note. I’m maybe a sound fetishist here, but the melodies become very different when you do such a thing, but fortunately, it didn’t butcher anything. Although it was a bit unescesary, since most of the time, Dimmu is black metal, and clean vocals are seldom used. and Vortex isn’t falling from grace either like *cough James Hetfield*.

Disc 1 features the concert from Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway. It also includes some songs from Berlin and London. The main show here from Norway is very good, although the production could have been louder. They play many great songs here such as Spellbound, Progenies of the great apocalypse, Råbjørn speider draugheimens skodde, among others. They played only three songs from In Sorte Diaboli, which was a good surprise. Another cool thing is that they use lots of effects on Shagrath’s voice, although many will maybe find this sounding gay. They are of course closing the show with Dimmu’s most overrated song ever, mourning Palace. They always do that. The songs from London and Berlin was a nice feature. It’s always good to hear Puritania and Blessings upon the throne of tyranny, since they have seldom been played in the last few years. Espesually the latter, because Mustis added some new symphonic parts to it, which sounded great. Puritania sounded a bit weird though, because it seems like they have rerecorded the cyber vocals or something, making them sound like a man trying to imitate a robot or something. I got a good laugh there. Oh, they also included some bonus material, which is so so. I’m not really into such things.

Disc 2 features the show from the infamous Wacken Open air festival in Wacken, Germany, some songs from the P3 sessions, and some videos there just to fill up the DVD. The Wacken show is quite similar to the Oslo show, although with more crowd and some songs which they didn’t play in Oslo. An equally good concert. The videos I won’t comment, since you most certainly have seen them on Youtube a thousand times before.

Disc 3 is a CD which is recorded live at the P3 sessions at NRK studio 19, Oslo, Norway. Many of you will maybe comment on why the fuck the crowd reaction is so bad, and why it feels like it’s only about 60 people present there. It’s because P3 is a well known Norwegian radio channel, and the show was originally broadcasted there, so the studio can’t hold more than that. I also think that they are not allowed to stand up, for some weird reason. Isn’t that a big reason to go to a concert? To stand up and headbang till you bleed? The show is also a good one,again very similar to the two previous ones. And Shagrath put up his best vocal performance here, and even Tony’s drums aren’t so mega-triggered.

I recommend you to buy it, although it’s not the ultimate Dimmu Borgir live experience. If you want a real killer performance, try to aquire the Live at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands bootleg. But it’s well worth your money.

3 COPIES ON 3 DISCS!!! - 40%

prometeus, April 3rd, 2009

Cool! It's about time Dimmu releases another DVD! ISD was released a year before this DVD and it was a failure. Still metal, but not the Dimmu we all know (by "we" I mean the fans, not the usual idiots who think Stormblast the original was their greatest album). Unfortunately, there are plenty of songs from ISD, mostly repeated.

Now, I will review the DVD. With this DVD, they have promoted their latest album and have included songs from it, mostly the ones promoted heavily during the last year(s). We also have other overplayed and heavily promoted songs, from EDT 'till DCA. Note that Raabjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde and Sorgens Kammer del II are more recent than the originals from For All Tid and Stormblast!). Progenies of the Great Apocalypse, Spellbound, Mourning Palace, The Insight and the Catharsis, Vredesbyrd, Kings of the Carnival Creation, Indoctrination were overplayed during the past 2 to 6 years. Some of them are great songs, but variation lacks and the element of surprise is non-existent. For those who have watched Dimmu's concerts from 2007 onwards (live or from youtube.com), they know that this is just an average performance. Those who forgot that Dimmu still lives will probably dig this, but this DVD is clearly a cash grab. More proof will be shown soon.

The menus are great. They clearly have worked on them; too bad that they’ve used them on a poor DVD.

Now, let's go to the performance itself. Instead of Hellhammer of 25 bands fame, we have Tony Laureano (known from the Ozzfest live performance from 2004 - the moment when Dimmu reached for the stars). Everybody has heavy make-up, almost escaped from cartoons. I love Dimmu, but this is just outrageous. I am wondering who is promoting who by now: Nuclear Blast is promoting Dimmu or vice versa. Anyway, they managed to have an impressive stage and a great performance, ruined by the awful production: too plastic and lifeless. Shagrath clearly has a ruined voice and needs more exercise. He is fat, bangs less than in the past and needs to do something with his shitty vocals (nothing is impossible, but the comfort is getting larger as it can be seen). Silenoz looks the same to me as it was 5 years ago, plus the chronic back problem and 50 pounds extra. He should switch with Shagrath at the vocals and let Shagrath do more riffs and play the guitar on stage. They both have talent at what they are not doing in the present (well, Shagrath plays guitar in Chrome Division, but that's irrelevant here). Clean performance from Silenoz. Galder has a BIG problem. Since the release of Vermin (the 6th OMC album), he got lazy. Not only he ruined a significant part of Dimmu's reputation as a great brand of musicianship, making a lot of 2nd hand riffs, but now he is destroing OMC (see: "Slaves to the World"). It is clear that massive touring and the burden of doing everything in OMC has exhausted him. He needs a brake, touring with OMC and releasing a DVD with his band will be a most welcomed surprise, but that's a fantasy, because money is getting its point. Also, he sucks at reproducing solos (“Spellbound” & “The Insight and the Catharsis”). Vortex is another lazy guy, getting larger and not searching for something else to do than touring with Dimmu. Also, he is something a bit more than a session member, doing almost nothing since his arrival in Dimmu, as a full member, in 2000. Again, money is the band manager. Fortunately, he does perform well, the same songs all over again (wow, what a conclusion!!!). Mustis also has potential, but at least he's honest. He already said he is lazy, but he does plenty of work with Dimmu (symphonic band, meaning keys are essential). I spare him of the critics, although they've used a lot of samples on the gigs. Tony has very, very, very, very triggered bass drums (annoying as fuck), but he has done a decent job.

Ok, I have said something about the guys themselves, the song choices, the plastic, lifeless production and the awesome stage, with monks (or priests), videos on the background and torches.

I want to go back on the set list issue. Why, I mean WHY the fuck did they play more English spelled songs in Oslo??? I mean, there were almost all Norwegians and they've played an overrated and shitty song from the re-recorded Stormblast and an overplayed song from EDT (not the original, with Shagrath on drums). Now, this is plain stupid. At least, Shagrath interacts with the crowd in Norwegian. A specific crowd needs a specific set list. Dimmu needs to go back to 1996 to remember this. And, if they did not learned that what they have done is stupid, we have a repeated act: the performance at the NRK studio 19, from... guess what... OSLO!!! Now, that's a deja-vu! Good thing they've played Fear and Wonder & Blessings upon the Throne of Tyranny and Puritania in Germany.

Moving onwards, we have the "Behind the Scene..." stuff. I love it in World Misanthropy, where they were dispersed. Now, it's boring. 40 minutes is too much. Maybe an agoraphobic dude will appreciate it.

The video section and the image gallery are filler stuff, already owned and researched. For those fools that didn't know, there is a site called www.dimmu-borgir.com.

OK. Now, here's the ice on the cake. First, I thought: "Cool!!! This had to happen sometime!!!", but now, after listening ISD, I think: "They did NOT deserve it". And I'm speaking of the "Gold Awards Oslo". Mayhem deserved it with their "Ordo Ad Chao" masterpiece or even Dimmu, with DCA.

Now, that my review is over, I still have a conclusion: ISD is the unwanted child borne from Dimmu Borgir, over promoted, overplayed and, by Dimmu standards, it stinks!!! The DVD is close, but can still kick ass for the first or two listens. The DVD is available for purchase only for hardcore fans or rookies, but I would not throw 20 euros or more for this cash grab!!! Beware!!! Try it from isohunt.com, where you can form an opinion about what's going on.

Defining Release - 100%

ManillaRoad, October 23rd, 2008

There is a prevailing attitude in sectors of the metal movement that a band cannot be "true" if they become sufficiently popular, a criticism which is often leveled at Dimmu Borgir. A half-cocked idea that somehow metal and success are mutually exclusive.

Nonsense, I say.

Dimmu Borgir were among the first bands that introduced me to extreme metal in the late '90s. Enthrone Darkness Triumphant was among the first CDs in my collection. The band was intriguing, and newly breaking through on the international underground scene. They presented a rare balance of power and grace, able to be driven by dual-guitars or at times driven by delicate neo-classical keyboard sections. The popularity of Dimmu Borgir is not a negative at all; it's a result of more than a decade of hard work and consistency. Even detractors have to admit their musical prowess, yet they illogically criticize the band's business manuevers as somehow "selling out." In all truthfulness, I can say that from observing the band for almost 10 years, they have not dumbed down anything about their music and every successive album has generally met or exceeded expectations. Not only have they survived the black metal movement, they've taken it to a higher level and redefined it.

There is much to be said for this epic-length collection of media. Altogether the music, videos, behind the scenes footage and special features clock in at a whopping 5 hours! It is also packaged very nicely with a big booklet and foldout cases for the DVDs. It's simply a delight to watch Dimmu Borgir up close and personal, performing their sinister craft. It may be easy for fans and casual listeners to underestimate this band as serious musicians, but they consistently deliver one flawless performance after another. Combining dark imagery with a symphonic/melodic assault to great effect, Dimmu had the crowds of over 75,000 (at Wacken) exploding with furor. Musically, the band offers the best of the black metal genre and on stage they blend together everything one could ask for: Melodic flourishes, relentless speedy riffs, multi-part harmonies, a "beauty and the beast" option vocally with the clean vocals of ICS Vortex. All this converges into a multi-pronged attack -- an extreme metal supergroup. A band with a literal arsenal at its disposal.

In the music you will hear remarkable diversity -- this is due to the fact that Dimmu Borgir doesn't have just one songwriter. In fact, almost every band member participates in this duty. Additionally, several of the older Enthrone Darkness Triumphant-era songs were composed by Stian Aarstad, no longer a member. So you will surely hear many different ideas in the songs that have originated from several different composers. The aesthetic side of Dimmu Borgir is rightly a separate and fascinating entity unto itself. And that's a big reason why they do so well on DVD. The image and sound go together nicely. With the band's sizeable budget, they are able to spare no expense on an explosive stage show. Six of the band's most recent music videos (including 3 from In Sorte Diaboli alone!) can be found on DVD #2, which is a nice feature to have and a great way to scare your friends.

There is nearly an hour of behind the scenes material alone. It isn't always the most entertaining to watch, but occasionally you will get a chuckle out of the band goofing around while on the road or hear a funny story from a crew member. The live CD is also worth hearing, featuring 12 tracks from the P3 Sessions. Overall, this new release represents the peak of Dimmu Borgir's successes. If you're a fan of the band or even a collector, you really need to get this 5 hours of material that you won't soon forget.