» Blog Archive Op-Ed: Dimmu Borgir Isn't Black Metal Anymore -

dimmu borgir There is a really good chance your first “black metal” band was Dimmu Borgir, and it was probably “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” that shocked and surprised you because it wasn’t your average metal band. I’m not saying this is verbatim your situation, but there’s a good chance you fit somewhere in this situation. But, essentially, this is where I found myself in 8th or 9th grade, and a lot of people were in the same situation as I when that Nordic metal scene became larger than just the UK and America. Eight years after their last album, however, and many years of silence, Dimmu Borgir have returned, and things certainly are different than they were before.

“Interdimensional Summit” is a very straight forward track by the band, yet while tracks like “Gateways” from their 2010 effort, Abrahadabra, served as a first single that was a more accessible take on symphonic and black metal blends, “Interdimensional” is leaning far into symphonic metal territory. I mean, heavily, and far more than the band used to. “Gateways” was polarizing when it first came out, but when you step back and look at it as a song regardless of genre, it’s really a nice blend of black metal blast beats, symphonic metal dynamics, and leviathinian changes that keep you on your toes throughout. “Interdimensional” doesn’t have that, and judging by YouTube comments, people are going to be joking about how close this might edge to Nightwish.

ShagrathIs removing yourself from black metal entirely that bad, thought? The most black metal aspect of this song is undoubtedly the minor chords that the genre is known for employing, but at the end of the day, Dimmu Borgir have gone so far into one direction that they’ve come out a different band than they were ten albums ago. Twenty-five years of playing in this band and you can’t expect a band of such a huge sound to be confined to just the black metal aspect.

I’m really not a huge fan of Dimmu Borgir, but I’ve enjoyed them over the years. Enthrone Darkness Triumphant is really an awesome album, and there have definitely been some pickings in the following releases I’ve enjoyed, but “Interdimensional” and the forthcoming Eonian have me genuinely interested. Does it have blast beats? No. Is Shagrath sounding like he did on earlier releases? Not at all, but he still sounds great for doing this as long as he has.

Are we not going to talk about what’s great in this song. Galder and Silenoz have some tasty guitar parts, and the sequence starting around the last minute and a half of the song is totally awesome. Hell, the entire bridge section where the dynamic dips is very theatrical and something in that the band has been doing for years. At the end of the day, just face it, people are going to not like it because it’s not fast and it isn’t 200 bpm. You’re absolutely allowed to not like the song for your own reasons, but agree with me in knowing a great many people won’t like it because of the tempo alone.

Dimmu 2Call it what you will, but while it may not be the greatest thing the band has written, Dimmu are pushing out of your vanilla symphonic black metal territory and into a broader spectrum of sound. “Extreme symphonic metal” seems appropriate in the end, especially in a day and age where symphonic black metal is so generally looked over and forgotten. Feelings aside, it’s really just nice to have a band the size of Dimmu Borgir back out there making music again. I quite missed knowing that the band was still together.

Eonian is due to be released on May 4th of this year. “Interdimensional Summit” can be heard below.

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