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Mediocre - 52%

Felix 1666, April 8th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Nuclear Blast (Reissue, Remastered, Digipak)

I confess: sometimes I hate Markus Staiger, the boss of Nuclear Blast, because he is giving a platform for a lot of commercial, soulless or pompous bands that have nothing to do with my understanding of metal. But I must also say that I admire his capability to see the potential of talented newcomers instinctively. From my point of view, "For all tid" does not show many signs which indicate the later development of Dimmu Borgir - and the same goes for "Stormblåst", at least to a certain extent. Anyway, the further career of the band is well known.

"For all tid" is stuffed with melancholic, woeful and rather slow-moving black metal. Fairly orchestral background choirs emphasize the sluggish appearance of songs. In rare cases, clear (guest) vocals want to add an heroic touch, for example during the third track. But this intention is doomed to failure, because the here presented whining sounds gruesome, completely dissonant and unbearable. Anyway, despite such flaws, Dimmu's debut cannot be blamed for being a totally lousy work. I admit that the band appears a little bit like the lame brothers of early Gehenna. The atmosphere of "First Spell" is almost omnipresent on "For all tid" and the dominant role of the keyboards does not make my heart beat faster. Nevertheless, Dimmu Borgir offer an authentic album and there is no doubting the sincerity and integrity of the band members, at least at this early stage of their career.

The songwriter have a fine instinct for effective melodies and this feature is an advantage of the album. In their best moments, the songs create an aura which matches the cover artwork. A soft wind of desperation blows through the speakers and the full-length mirrors the early spirit of the second wave of black metal, although it is "only" the rather melodic niche of this movement. Compositions like "Hunnerkongens sorgsvarte ferd over steppene" or "Raabjørn speiler draugheimens skodde" achieve a more than solid level. They are equipped with fairly sophisticated structures, do not lack of diversity and possess a certain currishness. But sadly, too many tracks are too harmless to leave an impact. As indicated above, the keyboards have too much room. For example, the restrained opener, which is free from electric guitars, does not kick off the album in a promising manner. The overall impression gets better as the guitars set in, nevertheless, raw and relentless attacks do not show up. Especially the title track fails to offer a suitable degree of heaviness and power. The same goes for the production. Neither the guitars nor the drums impress with a punchy sound.

After considering all the advantages and disadvantages, "For all tid" is a very mediocre work. The bonus songs "Inn i evighetens mørke (Part I and II)" are acceptable, but they cannot increase the quality level of the album in a significant manner. I still wonder how Staiger was able to identify the commercial potential of Dimmu Borgir.