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Dimmu's definite masterpiece! - 100%

DracuLeo, July 30th, 2011

This was my first black metal album, and the one that opened the gates to a whole new genre of music for me to enjoy. Every last second of this album was priceless: from the first key note of the piano from Alt Lys to Shagrath's last shriek on Guds Fortapelse. No wonder Dimmu Borgir was so highly regarded in the black metal scene once they released Stormblast. The only thing I regret is the fact that Enthrone Darkness Triumphant and Spiritual Black Dimensions weren't recorded like this album. If they were, maybe they would've had even more atmosphere! Now let's get down to the review.

The album starts with a piano solo which is accompanied by a synthesized flute and orchestra. This sets perfectly the atmosphere for the chaos which will soon follow. It's just like the calm before the storm, or the menacing storm clouds slowly covering the sunny sky. Once the piano ends, the rest of the instruments kick in, playing a fast riff, afterwards slowing down things, and just then, Shagrath and Silenoz welcome you to the Norwegian land once more, this time with a shriek which would make weak hearted ones have a heart attack for sure. The rest of the song continues on a fast note, with the symphonic keyboards remaining proeminent. Near the second half, Shagrath begins his shrieking, this time with Silenoz on backing vocals. And thus this masterpiece ends with yet another symphonic riff which makes you feel as if you are going deeper and deeper in the cold nordic mountains as the storm turns wilder and wilder. This song is in one word a masterpiece.

The next track, Broderskapets Ring, slowls the things down a bit, having mid-paced drumming and calming and emotional guitar riffing. It also features a narrated Norwegian speech, courtesy of Aldrahn. The song is pretty much monotonous and atmospheric, and it remains that way until it fades away at the end. Nar Sjelen Hentes Til Helvete bumps in suddenly with a keyboard riff and drums and guitars in the background. Once the keyboard finishes its job, the guitars play some riffs which are more than candy to the ear. Shagrath jumps in once more with his demonic shrieks, but just as you get used to it, everything stops and you have a second of silence. Then Stian Aarstad comes in with a piano solo which just adds to the tension. No wonder, since the lyrics tell about the journey of souls to hell. And when the piano slowly stops playing, the guitars bump in once again with their raw riffage, and the two vocalists join in with their hellish screams. The song ends as suddenly as it began.

Sorgens Kammer is a 6 minute piano song with an orchestra and special effects in the background. This song slows things down even more, but also adds even more atmosphere to the album. The over all feeling is of sorrow, darkness and solitude - as if you are caught in a dark room and all you can hear outside is the raging winter storm. You are left all hopeless to drown in the darkness. The perfect feeling for this genre, I must say! Too bad that Stian Aarstad ripped this song off a video game :( Da Den Kristne Satte Livet Til begins and ends like Nar Sjelen Hentes Til Helvete, but this song has less keyboards and focuses more on the brutality of the raw guitars. Shagrath and Silenoz are beasts in this one, bringing loud screams of fury against the Christians (I noticed that most of this album's lyrics are focusing on hating Christianity). The only notable keyboard in this song is the short symphonic solo near the end.

And thus we reach what I believe to be the best black metal song ever: Stormblast! Words would not be enough to describe the epic feeling that this song gives me. It starts with a thunder sound and then the guitars come and play a fast riff, everything seeming normal. Just then the keyboards play an epic symphonic riff as Shagrath and Silenoz both growl in the song... for 17 seconds! Then the epic symphonic riff comes once again, and then the keyboards switch the sounds from strings to choirs. That's when Shagrath begins narrating in Norwegian the epic story of the Soria Moria castle. The keyboards contribute to the atmosphere even more, wether they're orchestral strings, choirs or pianos. The song even features some clean vocals from Aldrahn. The second half has some melodic guitar riffing with choirs in the background, and near the end Stian Aarstad honors us with another piano solo. This song is practically epicness defined - just close your eyes and you will find yourself climbing the Soria Moria mountain on a journey to the Dark Castle on its top (after all, Dimmu Borgir means Dark Castle), all while it's raining upon you and menacing lightnings threaten you. But this song offers you the courage you need to continue the journey, and you know that you will succeed in the end! For this I congratulate you, Dimmu Borgir. You've made the black metal song I've been waiting for.

Dodsferd begins with the drums galloping and having the guitars and keyboards in the background. After 30 seconds Shagrath joins in with a growl that seems other worldly. The song is pretty much fast paced and features raw guitars, blast beat drumming and Shagrath's growl. Though near the end they slow down the rythm a bit and Stian Aarstad joins in with his symphonic keyboards to add more feeling to the song. And thus the song fades away. Antikrist is pure pleasure to the ear. It starts with the guitars and drums, the bass being the main instrument this time, offering us a catchy riff. Then the strings join in as Aldrahn does a narration with a deep evil voice. Afterwards Shagrath kicks in with his high shriek and makes the song more chaotic. But just as he finishes screaming, the keyboard plays a beautiful flute song which adds more to the nightly atmosphere. An owl singing in the background while the flute was playing was also a nice idea. After this, the guitars play another fast riff while Shagrath shrieks some anti-Christian stuff. The song then repeats this pattern once again, and ends with Shagrath screaming: "Jeg er ondskapen! Jeg er Antikrist!" - "I am evil! I am Antichrist!" What an epic feeling this song offers me! It almost makes me imagine the Antichrist taking control and ordering his armies to slaughter the Chirstians from a nordic village on a full moon night - everything being observed through the eyes of an owl.

Vinder Fra En Ensom Grav features some tremolo picking typical for melodic black metal. It also has some keyboards in background, and Shagrath doing his shrieking thing. This song makes you feel as if you are a tired knight which is about to return home from a war which didn't have any winners. Truly epic indeed. And thus we reacht he final track: Guds Fortapelse - Apenbaring av Dommedag! It starts with a 20 second symphonic intro which was taken from Dvorak's works. Then Shagrath comes in with his shrieking and tells us how God shall be defeated in the Judgement Day and how Satan is the true ruler, etc etc. If you ignore this childish aspect of their lyrics, this song is actually awesome. It features blast beats, melodic tremolo picking and of course epic strings. The song even has a piano riff near its end, which adds even more atmosphere. The song ends all of a sudden with the instruments stopping and Shagrath doing one final scream, adding the same feeling I had when I finished For All Tid - the album is over, but the darkness is there to stay.

Over all, I think this might be my favorite Dimmu Borgir release. It has all the conventions of a melodic/symphonic black metal album and features many masterpieces. I would pretty much recommend this album to anyone which would like to get into black metal, but don't know where to start. This might be a good starting point for them. Now if I were to write my favorite tracks, I'd probably have the whole album in there, so I'll put in the recommended tracks instead: Alt Lys Er Svunnet Hen, Nar Sjelen Hentes Til Helvete, Sorgens Kammer, Stormblast, Antikrist and Guds Fortapelse - Apenbaring av Dommedag.