014: DIMMU BORGIR

While Dimmu Borgir started out as a promising melodic band, nobody could have predicted the glorious, bombastic monster they’d become. Throughout the 90s, they released multiple well-received albums, incorporating more and more symphonic elements, but it was 2010’s ‘Abrahadabra’ that really signified their development into a true symphonic black metal band.

On it, alongside the influence of Darkthrone, Bathory, Celtic Frost, the band took inspiration from the likes of Wagner and Chopin.

In 2011, Dimmu Borgir teamed up with the Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra and Schola Cantorum Choir for a special performance titled ‘Forces of the Northern Night’. For the performance, the band enhanced and reimagined songs, utilising the orchestra and choir to their fullest. The following year the band – choir and orchestra in tow – brought this same performance to Wacken as headliners, finally cementing them as the symphonic black metal juggernaut they’d become.

But it would be another 6 years (and 8 years since Abrahadabra) before Dimmu Borgir would demonstrate at last the sound they had built towards throughout the previous decade, when they released their tenth studio album, ‘Eonian’.

Every song on ‘Eonian’ feels as though it could serve as the score to a climactic battle in some sprawling fantasy epic. The orchestra and choir are so masterfully woven through the music that they are an intrinsic part of the songs (rather than simply being an embellishment added to an already fully formed black metal song). These songs are symphonic metal in such a way that the two elements cannot be separated.

Dimmu Borgir are responsible for some of the most majestic and magnificent music you will ever hear, certainly in the black metal sphere, and I can only imagine how grand their next album will be.

We are the current sum of all the ages
Leaving a trail of burnt pages
Thrown into darkness as stars
We travel alone as one