Dimmu Borgir have been around for so long that it’s hard to calculate where they entered any realm of consciousness. They’ve evolved through industrial metal, black metal, and before nu-metal was given a name. Their focus centres around the black and bleakness of everything around them while adding operatic and emphatic themes to give extra layers of atmosphere.
When writers use the term ‘operatic’, they’re often describing a vocal background to create some extra atmosphere behind the main vocalisations (of which someone has done in their previous reviews, guilty as charged). The difference with Dimmu Borgir is that they have lines of their own which give a very unique interplay between the verses and choruses, but aren’t overly repetitive.
The main vocals are focused down in the croaked end of the spectrum, a mixture of a scream and growl while continuing clarity of lyrics, focusing on the dark theme of the album. Intermixed are more extreme elements to provide variety, but they typically revert back to its operatic vocal focus, which undoubtedly would be a magnificent live performance to experience.
The guitars flow in and out on the interchange of vocal styles, with the drums providing a constant flowing rhythm to each part of the songs. Synthesised sounds are also utilised to create different intros and spacious interludes, but use more original sounds from their early releases to create a common theme amongst the constant darkness. ‘The Unveiling’ starts with an industrial theme which is a herald back to previous albums as they were often associated with the music genre at the time.
‘I Am Sovereign’ is the most dramatic of the songs here, starting off in a strumming of demonic guitar notes to then lead into an ensemble of a full orchestra and choir incorporated with the gutteral low end croaks from vocalist, Shagrath. This is then incorporated with breaks in rhythm and interchanges with the orchestra and some distant progressive guitar sections.
Dimmu Borgir certainly know who they are, and stick to the guns of their original incarnation from its earliest releases. No doubt there’s more to come and will be just as well written, but in ‘Eonian’ the backing layers often override the focus of darkness from the main subjects.
BSc (Hons) Audio and Recording Technology graduate from De Montfort University | Bass Guitarist | Festival Veteran | Dead Press Contributor