Dimmu Borgir – In sorte diaboli
(Melodic Black Metal)
This band from Norway has established itself as one of the pillars of the blackened Metal scene over the course of the past 15 years, starting with their third release “Enthrone darkness triumphant”. However, they are not entirely without controversy because of their commercial success. To some this may seem untrve. But, and this is much to their credit, not all artists stick to one way of doing music but instead evolve their style. The first two albums “For all tid” and “Stormblast” had norwegian lyrics and as of “Enthrone darkness triumphant” it has been english lyrics ever since. They also considerably increased the overall speed of the music.
“In sorte diaboli” is a concept album telling the story of a once unprofane man who lost his affection to clergy up to the point where he opposes religious belief with profound hate. The main theme throughout the whole album is about spreading the word that any statement of the church is made of lies and one-sided interpretations in favor of the church. A status the story teller never gets tired of fighting by arguing that he’s all about the truth, no matter how bad for the image. “The sacrilegious scorn” contains a very nice metaphor for this:
My word and world holds ground and is real. Your word is like floods of poisoned water, a language spoken with spit from different tongues
But from the beginning start, we shall. This sounds like Yoda from Star Wars and so does the intro to the first song. It is a very atmospheric orchestral piece that transitions into a simple but quick riffing and drumming underlined by the still Star Wars like bombastic keyboard sounds. If you think this is fast drumming you should be patient and excitedly await the middle of the second song. There’s a reason why Hellhammer is considered one of the better Black Metal drummers. It’s nothing complicated, but hell, this is fast!
The focus is on atmosphere through intelligent arrangements. The songs range from easily accessible to very complex thus creating a diverse and entertaining musical experience. Even after having listened to this album many times I still discover some riffs or drumming or combination thereof I haven’t noticed before. No songs share any similarities so you’re never in the situation of thinking “haven’t I just heard this in any of the previous tracks?”.
The music is constantly dark, sometimes even depressing and menacing with a few reliefs here and there. Good examples of this are “The conspiracy unfolds” and “The fundamental alienation”. The first is built around an easily accessible melody with dark keyboards and more atmospheric than heavy guitars and the latter is the direct opposite. The guitars are heavy and produce an aggressive wall of hate in conjunction with the drums, again underlined with dire keyboard sounds. Both release all their built-up energy in an impressive manner, with guitar and drums creating a machine gun like rapid fire assault or a strong Death Metal-like groove respectively. For all these very thought-of arrangements, have no fear, there are lots of blast beats included, heavily and intelligently! “The sacrilegious scorn” is another song which suddenly explodes in furious rage but unlike the ones mentioned before, you wouldn’t expect it from this one as it is more of a relief kind. Fantastic!
The overall impression is very good. If you’re just listening to the music it’ll blow you away. If you care to read the lyrics alongside the music you’ll see that many songs repeat themselves quite often. This doesn’t surface until you really focus on it but it leaves a stale after taste. Without these this could be one hell of a release. Nevertheless, if you are into Melodic Black Metal this is a must-have.
With profound defiance to religion I award: 7 of 10 pentagrams
Tracklist and links:
- The serpentine offering (7 Pentagrams)
- The chosen legacy (6 Pentagrams)
- The conspiracy unfolds (8 Pentagrams)
- The ancestral fever (7 Pentagrams)
- The sacrilegious scorn (8 Pentagrams)
- The fallen arises (4 Pentagrams)
- The sinister awakening (6 Pentagrams)
- The fundamental alienation (8 Pentagrams)
- The invaluable darkness (6 Pentagrams)
- The forshadowing furnace (7 Pentagrams)