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Dimmu Bogir's most epic album - 93%

SwagLordPicklePee666, December 11th, 2018

After recording "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia", Dimmu Borgir went on a massive worldwide tour. Then, they gathered together again in the studio, wrote new material, and with the collaboration of producer Fredrik Nordström and of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, they recorded what would later become their most famous and commercially successful effort to date, "Death Cult Armageddon". The album reached excellent positions in the charts worldwide immediately after its release, entering even the US Billboard 200 charts, and saw the band embarking on another great world tour, performing even at Ozzfest.

"Death Cult Armageddon" saw once again Dimmu Borgir evolving their sound, this time reserving even more space to epic orchestrations, giving a quasi-apocalyptic tone to the album. The symphonic elements are expanded to their maximum potential, but this doesn't mean the other instruments' parts weren't carefully composed. The guitar work by Silenoz and Galder is, as always, extremely complex and intricate, although this time they gave more space for the orchestrations to breathe. Lightspeed-fast tremolo picking sessions are still there, but this time the band opted for an even more extended use of chord-driven riffs, serving as a solid foundation for the orchestra. Even dissonant arpeggios in the traditional black metal fashion are widely used (the first track "Allegiance" comes immediately to the mind).

Nicholas Barker is still playing his drums in his usual, amazingly technical style, with surgically precise double bass drumming and blast beats sessions as strong and consistent as ever. The songs are generally slowed down if compared to the previous release, following more of a mid-paced tempo for the most part, resulting imposing and epic, even if a little less aggressive and heavy than what we saw on "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia". Vortex's voice is as beautiful as ever, but giving him a few more sessions where to sing would have been really cool. Shagrath's vocals sound as demonic, haunting and brutal as always, here we have really an amazing performance by one of black metal's most renowned vocalists. Spot on Mustis' performance too, his piano solos are really unique and add depth and complexity to the tracks.

Lyrics are very deep, mysterious, intricate and complex, dealing with matters of occultism, anti-religion, satanism, misanthropy. More and more times during the album Shagrath resorts to effected spoken parts that really give a mystic feel to the songs. We also witness the return of the norwegian language in "Allehelgens død i Helveds rike" and the vaguely power metal influenced "Vredesbyrd". The production this time doesn't sound completely industrial-like, although it's still pleasantly polished, but enhances the orchestrations and the overall epic feel. The drums weren't fully triggered, resulting in a more traditional sound, and the guitar tone is more restrained and a bit softer too. We have again a wide usage of vocal effects and sampling, something that really enhances the songs and still shows some industrial music influences in the process of songwriting and production.

Album's highlights include the first two tracks, "Allegiance" and "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse", sounding really apocalyptic, showing an amazing performance by all the band members and incredible orchestral arrangements, the two epics "Eradication Instincts Defined" and "Unorthodox Manifesto" (made again memorable by imposing riffing, excellent sampling, majestic orchestral elements, Shagrath's vocals and the solos and adornments by Mustis, Silenoz and Galder) and "Cataclysm Children", thanks to the awesome and aggressive main guitar riff.

"Death Cult Armageddon" represented another massive success for Dimmu Borgir, and cemented the band's status as one of the most famous extreme metal acts. The quality in this record is plain for everyone to see: don't miss it for any reason!