Dimmu Borgir - Death Cult Armageddon
Nuclear Blast
Symphonic Black Metal
11 songs (63:24)
Release year: 2003
Dimmu Borgir, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Jay
Album of the month

Here’s a joke my friends and I have. What has three words and makes no sense? Answer: A Dimmu Borgir album title. Think about it. Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, Godless Savage Garden, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, Spiritual Black Dimensions and now Death Cult Armageddon. When we first heard of the new album title, all we could think was “They did it again!” However, what they didn’t do again was rehash old material. This album is more similar to Cradle of Filth’s Damnation and a Day than any other Dimmu Borgir album. Has Cradle’s influence expanded or has Dimmu Borgir just matured? Let’s take a look.

We cannot overlook the fact that Nicholas Barker who handles drum duties on this album used to be with Cradle. His drums are truly awe-inspiring on this album. I challenge you to find a drummer who executes blast beats faster and with more accuracy than he does. The entrainment that this man possesses is insane. From doing blast beats to fills to intricate double bass parts, he can do it all. His technical skill might be the best in metal today. The sound he gets from his drums is great too. It’s sharp and they’re mixed to perfection. This is the second point. This record has ZERO production errors. By far, it is the best produced, best sounding record I have listened to this year. Every instrument sounds the way it should with unbelievable clarity. Even when you get the perfect sounds, an awful mix can ruin it. That is not the case with this record. The mix allows perfect discernment of each sound, each note, and each tone that has been layed to tape. Peter Tagtgren is a superb producer but in terms of getting Dimmu Borgir to sound incredible, Fredrik Nordström smokes him.

No slouches in the effects department either, Dimmu Borgir got the Prague Symphony orchestra to record the symphonic parts. No longer will keyboard samples create the massive aire of their music. They put the symphony in symphonic black metal as they prove time and time again. The symphony plays a huge role on this album, especially on the single, “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse.” This is the most grandiose song on the album and demonstrates the meshing of all the elements of the ideal song. Leave it to the guys who created the genre to redefine it once more.

My criticisms of this album are minimal. The main one is the use of sound bytes and clips at various points during the album. It didn’t bother me at first but as I kept listening to this album, they got more and more annoying, especially when they were in the middle of a song. They should have taken Cradle’s lead, got a professional narrator for these parts, and kept the sound effects to a minimum. The second problem is one that I’ve always had with Dimmu Borgir in general. Shagrath’s vocals never really did much for me. He does turn in his best performance ever on this album though so I cannot fault the band for their vocalist.

You can pick what style songs to listen to. There are some straight up black metal cuts, some truly symphonic cuts and then there are songs that are in between. “Cataclysm Children” has elements of thrash during its intro but quickly becomes reminiscent of older style Dimmu Borgir, especially with the piano part during the coda. Black Sabbath influence is also evident near the end of the song with the riff evoking shades of the classic masters of doom. “Vredesbyrd” is another killing song. Making use of the orchestra again, they manage to accentuate their music once again. The riffage is a true attack and worthy of black metal majesty. “Eradication Instincts Defined” begins with a symphonic intro reminiscent of Bizet’s Carmen in parts. The song however, is as far from traditional opera as you could imagine. Thundering drums, a grinding pace and hammering guitars seal the fate of this song as another metal masterpiece.

Should you decide to purchase this disc be advised that there are SIX different versions of this album. A regular edition, a digipak, the “journal” edition, a vinyl issue, a DVD audio version (which I can’t wait to hear) and a limited edition box set. While the music is good, the marketing is a little much. It’s all worth it because this album is sure to please any fan of theirs and it will win over many new fans.

Killing Songs :
Progenies of the Great Apocalypse, Cataclysm Children, Vredesbyrd
Jay quoted 95 / 100
Jeff quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Dimmu Borgir that we have reviewed:
Dimmu Borgir - Spiritual Black Dimensions reviewed by Tyler and quoted 88 / 100
Dimmu Borgir - Abrahadabra reviewed by Tyler and quoted 87 / 100
Dimmu Borgir - Gateways (Single) reviewed by Tyler and quoted no quote
Dimmu Borgir - The Invaluable Darkness DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Dimmu Borgir - In Sorte Diaboli reviewed by Dylan and quoted 79 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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