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OLD, RAW, FAST VS. NEW, MELODIC, MIDPACED... - 82%

prometeus, September 19th, 2011

This EP was released to capitalize on the success of EDT and to present their newer members: Astenuu and Mustis. With a total time exceeding 40 minutes, it's clearly more than an EP. Even the content suggests a better name for this release: compilation!

It's obvious that we have to divide this compilation in three parts: the first it's the new tracks and the cover song- those that contains Astenuu's solos and guitar playing; the re-recordings, with Silenoz on lead vocals, and the live recordings, with Mustis on keys and Astenuu on lead guitar.

The first thing you'll notice on the studio recordings, featuring Astenuu, is the mid-paced tempo of the songs, leftovers from the EDT sessions. Probably without the solos, the songs would have sounded worse, especially Chaos without Prophecy. The addition of a cover song, THIS kind of song, is another new element in DB's discography. Of course, they've had covered Celtic Frost before, but this is different: Accept is a traditional heavy metal band and not one of the bands primary influences.

Moonchild Domain begins with simple riffing, minor chords and slow tempo, Shagrath is grunting and growling, with Nagash backing him, then evolves into a mid-paced song, with the keys creating an aura of suspense. When the music speeds up, things return to the slow paced beginnings. DB has not being toying with this type of songwriting so much before. Continuing discussing the song structure, Moonchild Domain offers something unique: plenty guitar melodies, accentuated, but not dominated (maybe vice versa) by the keys, and a lengthy solo that stays on key, not flashing around or bullshiting. This is a formula never to be seen on any other DB album, maybe except the guitar melodies that are plenty in PEM.

Chaos without Prophecy is an ugly one, which is much more black metal than the previous one and is more keyboard-driven. It is not that well written, more primitive, but still efficient. Another solo clearly gives the song a fresh air of melodic feeling. Try to speed this song and you will find yourself listening to a SBD song (a combination of Grotesquery Concealed and Masses for a new Messiah).

Metal Heart is quite funny and out of place. Although better than the live recordings available on the Internet, it's only a studio outtake for further proving Astenuu's talent of guitar playing. Shagrath's vocals are also too upfront and, maybe, an gang chorus would have been more adequate.

The re-recordings feature the line-up from Stormblast plus Nagash on bass. Silenoz's vocals are deteriorating fast: just a year ago, on a gig in Oslo, he screamed like a banshee. Maybe the recording and the mixing doesn't make him justice, but it's obvious that there isn't any power left in his throat and/or lungs. Too much smoking and beer! Anyway, the quality of the production does an amount of justice to these songs, as the improved musicianship: no longer can we feel the punk-ish vibe on Hunnerkongens... and the sloppiness and to-slow-for-its’s-own-good tempo on Raabjorn..., but we are treated with much more melodic keys and piano sections and stronger riffs. There is much more confidence in the musicianship.

The live recordings are a mix of old and new DB: the title track from Stormblast, a track from Devil's Path MCD and one from their recent output, EDT. These tracks have the classic line-up of the '90: Shagrath on lead vocals, Silenoz on rhythm guitar, Astennu on lead guitar, Nagash on bass and backing vocals, Mustis on keys and piano, and Tjodalv on drums. The recording is raw, the playing a bit sloppy and the growling omnipresent. The keys are buried in the mix, but still audible.

Stormblast is faster, more primitive and more keyboard-driven. Shagrath doesn't have the power to scream on the beginning, suggesting that proper warming and proper training are excluded, the consequences of this treatment of his vocals will be shown on the SBD and, more obvious, PEM touring. Tight playing from the other guys.

Master of Disharmony feels like a leftover from the Stormblast session, after hearing the previous song. The same song structure, albeit more melodic and containing a solo. Astenuu is having this kind of solos as appetizers. Just to make a remark: is it the production or the rhythm playing of the guitars feel sloppy played? Because I can only hear a reverb, when they are playing the power chords.

In Death's Embrace is the dark power metal track on the album. Throw in a power metal singer from Helloween, Hammerfall or Rhapsody on Fire and you will like it. The primitive production helps this song feel a little more black metal, but the mediocre, power metal-ish riffing still makes this song one of the weakest. No Mourning Palace to be found here!

This compilation marks the end of the beginning for the band, as they would adopt the keyboard-driven type of songwriting and melodies, the mid-paced songs in favor of fast-paced, complicated and less melodic riffs. This is the end of the melodic black metal Dimmu Borgir.