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Death Cult Armageddon
(Nuclear Blast Records)

Let's face it. They know how to write and play their brand of extreme Metal. Dimmu Borgir have never been a favourite band of mine, nor will they be after "Death Cult Armageddon". However, this album, which will be released in early September, could easily turn into one of my top ten albums, especially when I get hold of the vinyl version. The band have naturally developed the symphonic style which they founded back in the times of "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant" and which they performed with elegance on the former "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia". This time they have collaborated more or less with a full orchestra, and in my opinion succeed extremely well. For, it could easily have been cheesy and bittersweet. Although 'Blood Hunger Doctrine' starts off with a rather nice piece of orchestral music, the album as a whole is rawer. In fact, I dare say "Death Cult Armageddon" is their rawest album to date. And no, you don't need blastbeats to be raw. 'Allegiance' is a brutal piece of Dimmu Borgir Metal which shoots off straight after the short introduction (to this track). And damn be, it has to be the most varied track they've ever made. Every verse is different from the next and Shagrath exceeds the varied use of his vocalisation. Even though it doesn't contain neither Vortex' tenor vocal or the full orchestral effect, it is varied and growing. Just listen to the playing between the 5th and the 6th verse, where the trumpets create a major effect, despite being there in just a glimpse of a second or ten. However, it's the 'Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse' that will make people go nuts. And yes, it's everything you need from a Metal track. It's big, majestic, varied, symphonic, grim and spine-tingling. Silenoz and co. have invited Abbath of Immortal to do some verses in a couple of songs, and in this track..., well, you'll be surprised. In fact, I had to listen to the album like 10 times before I really understood what was going on. One cool thing is how Dimmu Borgir vary the same verses. Like, when they repeat the 1st and the 2nd verses in this track, they are not equal. And that, dear readers, is ingenious work. Dimmu Borgir have also chosen to write a couple of Norwegian lyrics, which is great because it makes the album even more varied. Personally I think the English language has more power inside, but the Norwegian language makes the vocal grimmer. And 'Vredesbyrd' begins pretty simple and a bit grim. Slowly but safely (nah, not that the song in itself is slow) the song develops into this majestic track which grows and grows. Once again they repeat a verse or three, but still they vary these. And before they repeat the first three verses towards the end they make one of the most majestic part I've heard in a long time. In itself it's not as grandiose as the 'Progenies...' track which is majestic all way through, but the way it grows make the outcome more majestic and sticks to my mind with a wider chilling smile in my face. However, if I wrote this track I wouldn't do those three verses towards the end while rather end the track right before they repeat. Dimmu Borgir are, as a whole, more thrashy and varied than ever. I know that their live performances will improve even more as they have written such coherent tracks with the necessary space for headbanging. They have, once again, avoided the trap of misusing Vortex' vocals. By all means, he has a magnificent vocal but the effect would've been less if he sung a little in every track. They have also avoided the misuse of the orchestra. Of course there are some parts that are basically orchestral, but I'm impressed by how they have managed to incorporate the metal and the orchestration. In fact, and I'm slightly surprised, nothing feels out of place. But, and this is what I have waited for since Tartaros released "The Red Jewel" some years ago, Dimmu Borgir have made THE track. I have been waiting and waiting in impatience. They have made a track that could just as well have been released as one full-length album in itself. It could have been repeated 10 times and I wouldn't mind. And they have done the genius thing to place this is track nine (at least on the promo-tape). Every time I listen to the album (between two and five times a day) I await this track, while I fully enjoy the songs before and the last two tracks as well. Because, and believe me on this matter, Dimmu Borgir have made a close to perfect Metal album with nine super songs, one that is a bit sloppy but still has its place, and one perfect song. It's simply a spine-chilling experience. 'Eradication Instincts Defined' is such a track that makes all the money I have lost on Imhotep make it worth it all. From the imperial symphonic introduction (which are later ingeniously repeated later in the track, though in a totally different shape which I won't reveal here) to the MAJESTIC last two verses before they repeat the 1st and 6th verse. These, the 7th and the 8th verses are the best musical piece of Metal music I've ever heard together with some 30 second of Tartaros' 'Into The Faculty Of Wonderful Secrets' (you have heard it, haven't you?). Dimmu Borgir have really made my life worthy and I think this track have to be played the last 5 minutes before I die. Then I could easily die in piece, peace, or horror if you will. You have understood what I'm trying to tell you. "Death Cult Armageddon" shall, if I have any influence in this matter at all, sell at least 666.665 copies.

Roy Kristensen

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