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Dimmu Borgir's volkish spirit - 90%

Taliesin, August 16th, 2006

Once upon a time Dimmu Borgir still created black metal inspired by the spirit of the landscape of their Norwegian homeland. Influenced by the Volkish spirit that also touched other bands like Burzum, Enslaved, Satyricon, etc. they created two albums of darkness and epicism, before degenerating at the exact same time as so many other bands in the Norwegian scene (1996 to 1999 was the end period of most Norwegian bands). This particular album is very raw, the keyboards are left lower in the mix and used to add epic feeling to parts of songs, rather then the over indulgence of Stormblast (my only criticism with that beautiful recording). The guitars are left with the raw trebble blast, while the bass is loud and clear in the mix. And most surprisingly the drums are given a very raw live sound, that fits in very well and illuminates the feeling behind this music. The vocals (done by many people on here) are always very well done, and at times very haunting. The clean singing is done by Aldrahn from Ved Buens Ende and Dodheimsgard, except on here he goes for a sound more like In the Woods... then his usual strange singing voice. His vocals fit much of this material, as it highlights the epic quality of this music that would obviously go on to influence many bands.

The band also brought in some interesting aspects, a lot of acoustic guitars, used much like Immortal on Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism and Satyricon on Dark Medieval Times, with a bit of the Bathory influence (i.e. Blood Fire Death), that combined with very good dynamics and solos creates an always interesting listening experience. However none of this would mean anything if it wasnt for the deep feeling listening to this that you are taking part in something epic and very enchanting. Though not perhaps as good as Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse, this album does indeed bring up some good points in the symphonic genre, as it does not over do anything, unlike nearly everything else by this band. There are no flashy piano pieces ontop of the metal, just simple chords following the music, and sometimes some extra melody. Sure the keyboards sound a bit cheap, but they do even more so on Enslaved's Hordanes Land EP and that is always called a classic. One has to get past what Dimmu Borgir is now and listen to what is on tap here. Many people are narrow minded about bands who ended up playing bad music, but who once were influenced by the deep archtypal spirit of the European past.

The medievalist excercise and dark Norwegian spirit that is behind this album is just as strong in any band who remained "true" simply listen and hear the brilliance contained on here by a young band who would continue down the path of commericalism. The depressive somber tones of this music will last forever, as will their next album Stormblast, which is in many ways better and more important. But lest we not forget, it all started here on this dark epic volkish recording.