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Dimmu Borgir: Death Cult Armageddon

Here at the Sea, we've gotten away from reviewing most death/black-metal bands per your requests. But every so often, a band in that subgenre releases an album that incorporates progressive elements and packs wider appeal. In Flames, Borknagar, Opeth and Children of Bodom come to mind. So should Dimmu Borgir. Granted, the (sac)religious imagery on Death Cult Armageddon, the Norwegian black metal band's seventh album, may be a bit too much for some listeners. But unless you open the graphically offensive booklet and try to read along with singer Shagrath, you won't understand a damn lyric, anyway.

What makes Dimmu Borgir's melodic malevolence rise about the hellacious heap of its peers is the band's uncanny sense of songwriting. Often eschewing faster-than-thou speed in favor of tempo changes, classical-music influences and songs that actually sound different from each other, these six sons of Satan maybe the image is all an act, who knows? sound convincingly brutal and exceedingly musical. Part of the reason for that is because Dimmu Borgir employs a full-time keyboard player that dominates many of these songs. And on Death Cult Armageddon, the 46-piece Prague Philharmonic Orchestra also plays a crucial role in the band's epic sound. Think Rhapsody with extreme (and, frankly, weaker) vocals.

I don't profess to be a black-metal aficionado, nor will I leave this disc anywhere within reach of my young children. (The photos of a bloody Bible, an eyeless naked woman on all fours with a chain around her neck and bare-assed nurses holding long needles could scar them for life.) But judged on sheer musical merit with an open mind, Death Cult Armageddon impresses.

Added: October 23rd 2003
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Official Dimmu Borgir Web Site
Hits: 1884
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Dimmu Borgir: Death Cult Armageddon
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-01-24 18:41:09
My Score:

It was at the suggestion of some Friends who tread the path of much darker and heavier metal than I normally listen to that I decided to find some music by Dimmu Borgir. Dimmu, who hail from the Nordic Lands are currently considered the Kings Of Black Metal and for good reason. I will admit to you all that the Black Metal genre has escaped my notice until I played this CD. I instantly became a fan of this group, and hoped I would get to see them perform in a live situation soon. It was late December last year that I was able to sate this urge at a L'Amour appearance and they were brutal when experienced in person. The band is fronted by Shagrath (vocals), and rounded out by Silenoz (guitars), Galder (also known for his work with Old Man's Child on lead guitar), Mustis (keyboards), Vortex (bass guitar and clean vocals) & Nick Barker (drums). Standout tracks for me are most certainly "Progenies Of The Grand Apocalypse" which has a lush orchestral power to it. There is a philharmonic playing on the CD but live I believe Mustis is playing the samples on the keyboards. This tune also has a great video which I recommend you take a look for. I know it can be found on Yahoo by looking on www.launch.com . Some CDs have it included and I believe you can also watch on the bands official site (provided for you below). Watching it was like witnessing a Nightmare gone even worse. The intense visuals combined with the searing power of Dimmu Borgir's music make this a video to call your local station about to make them play it. It truly captures the level of presence they are trying to get across. There are a couple of tracks sung in their native tongue of Norwegian. Of them I leaned towards "Vredesbyrd" the best, for it is a speeding number with a killer guitar riff. "Allehelgens Dod I Helveds Rike" is the other one. "Cataclysm Children", and "Allegiance" also won me over. Regarding the CD packaging, they did not fall short in this area. Lyrics to every song are listed as well as the addition of some good production liner notes. Pictures are in abundance throughout the entire booklet which is about 24 pages in length (not bad if you ask me). The pictures of the band members are shot in a manner of shocking poses, or evil natured settings. Fits with the mood and format of the group. It gives a good take on the workings of these Black Metal masters. There are those who are accusing this band for selling out or not staying true to their "cause" by using orchestras and keyboards and even gathering a wider acclaim. I review that as a crock because despite what anyone thinks, this is Dimmu's career and steps must be taken to ensure longevity, growth and regions performed. What good would it serve if the same 20 people bought records or attended shows? No good whatsoever. Fans of bands like Slayer and Pantera can appreciate the heaviness of the band, for it is more stand out than other Black Metal artists that are around today. Check it out, and if you hate it, give it to someone you know.
Track Listing
1. Allegiance
2. Progenies Of The Grand Apocalypse
3. Lepers Among Us
4. Vredesbyrd
5. For The World To Dictate Our Death
6. Blood Hunger Doctrine
7. Allehelgens Dod I Helveds Rike
8. Cataclysm Children
9. Eradication Instincts Defined
10. Unorthodox Manifesto
11. Heavenly Perverse Some developments have happened in the group by the time you read this. Drummer Nick Barker is no longer a part of the lineup, they are working with some people at present four tour and recording purposes. I should also make mention that in regards to touring that Dimmu Borgir will be one of the featured Main Stage bands at this years Ozzfest. They will appear before Slayer, and trust me they shall not disappoint. If you are attending this years Fest, don't pass on them purely because you never heard them before.



2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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