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I listened to this album many, many times. Each time that I listen to it, there is another element that I didn't hear the first time, or possibly didn't notice. For one thing, it is extremely well produced, and carries every instrument extremely well, and the way they work together is mesmerizing and absolutely perfect.
Yes, I am one of those fans that like the direction that DimmuBorgir has taken, the synthesizer that isn't just in the background to make the black metal symphonic in nature. I truly feel that Dimmu, as well as OMC (seeing as they are intertwined so thoroughly) are taking the symphonic sub-genre of black metal, and stepping it up a notch.
I guess the first that I will start with is what made me like Nicholas Barker in the first place. He is one of the world's most amazing drummers. Set aside everyone's apparent hatred for him because of his disputes with bands and members of bands that he used to be a part of, or the fact that he is associated with bands that people love to hate. With that aside, he cannot be short-changed on the fact that his feet moving that fast, accompanied with insane fills, and cymbal work...I cannot imagine 1) how he moves that fat ass of his so fast, and 2) how he can keep so many different beats, and time signatures, and variations of the two straight for more than 5 seconds without getting lost in his own rhythms...well it's way beyond me. Which is why I feel drawn to his music, because I appreciate that extreme talent that he has. With that said, the drumming is absolutely spot-on. I honestly have never heard poor drumming from him. He definitely gets better and better with age, and with different bands that he is with.
Galder does an excellent job of vocals and guitar (including bass because there really isn't any distinguishable bass licks on this album, or any BM album for that matter). He adds excellent riffs, and good deep and higher pitched screaming that makes the music just sound good. I don't understand what people's issues with him are either. I think that his riffs are much better than Jardar, mainly because they are more complex and he adds some solos in there which doesn't happen very often in black metal, or symphonic types for that matter. So it's nice to hear every once in a while because it only makes the music better.
The synthesizer work is amazing in this album. He is better than many synth players because he uses different sounds, and there is just enough to add some depth and mysterious-ness to the album. It is not overbearing, like CoF, where it seems that the synth drives the songs. Here, it is atmosphere and fills out the sound.
All in all, this album is probably the pinnacle of OMC's sound. There is not a bad song on this album. They are all top notch. I cannot imagine the band maturing their sound much more, so the other albums will probably be a disappointment from here on out.
Vermin, their latest, is great. But this album is much better.