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It has its moments - 78%

PhantomMullet, January 4th, 2009

Godless Savage Garden is one of the better Dimmu Borgir releases and it serves as a smooth transition to the albums Enthrone Darkness Triumphant and Spiritual Black Dimensions. So if you found either of those two albums decent, then you'll probably like this one.

Whether you hate this band or love it, Godless Savage Garden (GSG) is at least a pretty strong EP with a few things to offer. There are two brand new songs, a cover song from an old heavy metal band Accept, two re-releases and remasters of songs from the debut, and three live recordings. So you get a pretty mixed bag here.

The two originals here, Moonchild Domain and Chaos Without Prophecy are some of the better Dimmu Borgir songs in general. Both have a killer atmosphere that isn't ruined too much by Shagrath's occasionally silly sounding vocals witnessed on other Dimmu Borgir albums. Moonchild Domain actually has pretty solid vocals that give a harsh, cold, and hateful vibe to the music. It's also one of the more catchier songs with haunting piano passages mixed with a bit of heaviness. Chaos Without Prophecy is a slower song that gives a very ugly sounding atmosphere not really noticed on EDT and SBD. It may drag on a bit, but even so it just adds more to the atmosphere. The keyboards are unfortunately a little cheesy sometimes in that track, as well.

Raabjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde and Hunnerkongens Sorgsvarte Ferd Over Steppene sound great on this version. The foggy atmosphere from For All Tid may not be there, but the mood and style behind each piece is brought out even better thanks to the improved production. Actually, I'll take this version of Hunnerkongens over the original any day.

Metal Heart is a catchy piece and Dimmu Borgir do a great job with the keyboards to add more atmosphere compared to the original Accept version. The long, lead guitar part in the beginning still sounds incredible. The only issue here is when Shagrath occasionally shrieks "Metal Heart!!" over and over; it just gets fairly annoying after a while.

Then there's the 3 live recordings at the end of the release. All three songs sound okay live, nothing spectacular though. The live version of Stormblast is probably the worst because it lacks the feeling of the album version (as well as the beautiful keyboard parts). It also sounds too heavy here. Master of Disharmony and In Death's Embrace are passable as something more than filler because the heaviness in those songs doesn't sound so awkward.

If pre-2000 Dimmu Borgir intrigues you, or you want to hear some melodic, although slightly heavy metal with blackened vocals, then Godless Savage Garden is definitely worth a listen.