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Dimmu Borgir: Death cult Armageddon

24/09/12  ||  BamaHammer

Well, while I’m reminiscing and digging some excellent, long-forgotten releases from the black metal universe, I might as well pull out one from the shitter. Dimmu Borgir’s extremely successful (in the sales department, assholes) 2003 release “Death cult armageddon” is an album that I vividly remember enjoying the hell out of for quite a while almost a decade ago. Well, I did at least until I discovered there were countless other things out there that were better in pretty much every respect.

What’s hilarious is that I thought this is what black metal was supposed to sound like for a while after this release. I hadn’t really explored the genre, and the extent of my knowledge was really only regarding the Euronymous/Varg saga and not the actual music. Don’t get me wrong. DCA a fantastic sounding album. But knowing what I know now, I think we can all agree that this album and this band was simply black metal in the loosest sense that was made and marketed for the masses. There’s really no substance behind the bombastic orchestral arrangements, and the sense of “evil” that the band tries to portray with the music and in the booklet is actually just ludicrous and quite silly.

Let’s just forget for a second that this album was created by the ridiculed and abhorred “Demon Burger” and instead focus on the music itself. The main focus of the music is obviously the orchestration, and in my opinion, it should never be that way. In most cases, the guitars on the album are merely a support instrument instead of a driving force. Riffs are pretty simple and nothing you’ve ever heard before. Take the first two tracks, “Allegiance” or the semi-hit “Progenies of the great apocalypse” (with its awesome cameo from Abbath), for example. If you were to take the guitars out either song completely, I feel like each one could get by based solely on the fact that they are driven by the string accompaniment. Granted there are moments where the guitars chug and slice through, but for the most part this is a classical album with black metal vocals and blastbeats.

Which reminds me. The drums sound so triggered and artificial that it sometimes defies belief that the band would decide to stick with that particular sound. I guess Nic Barker is a decent enough player, but who knows. In this set up he sounds like a fucken infallible machine laying down beats for the Oslo Philharmonic or some shit.

The orchestration, despite its overly massive prominence on the album, is actually quite good. In fact, it probably features some of the best and most well-written orchestral parts in metal. It goes far beyond the simple keyboard-synthesized spaciness many black metal bands opt for. It’s grandiose. It’s stunning. It’s even beautiful. However, the bottom line is that regardless of how great it may be, it should never be the featured aspect of this type of music, and quite frankly, it is. It’s not that the guitars of Silenoz and Galder can’t be in the spotlight, it’s that they just aren’t because of all the other stuff going on. This is an album that could have really afforded many, many more guitar leads and interesting changes in the dynamics of the music. Instead, it’s just a glossy, highly produced classical recording with a handful of semi-black metal spices sprinkled on top. This isn’t a great album by a long shot, but it’s also not really that bad. It’s also not kvlt. At all. I’m willing to bet you’ve heard it before, but if you haven’t, it’s worth at least one listen.

6,5

  • Information
  • Released: 2003
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Website: www.dimmu-borgir.com
  • Band
  • Shagrath: vocals, keyboards
  • Silenoz: guitars
  • Galder: guitars
  • Nicholas Barker: drums
  • Mustis: keyboards, piano
  • ICS Vortex: bass, vocals (clean)
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Allegiance
  • 02. Progenies of the Great Apocalypse
  • 03. Lepers Among Us
  • 04. Vredesbyrd
  • 05. For the World to Dictate Our Death
  • 06. Blood Hunger Doctrine
  • 07. Allehelgens Død I Helveds Rike
  • 08. Cataclysm Children
  • 09. Eradication Instincts Defined
  • 10. Unorthodox Manifesto
  • 11. Heavenly Perverse