When fans fall in love with a band they tend to find themselves loathing the artist the moment they change their style or, become part of the “mainstream.” Despite arriving late to the Black Metal scene, the Norwegian act DIMMU BORGIR have always delivered a unique aesthetic as they are now labeled as symphonic black metal. It is unfortunate that there are people out there claiming DIMMU, along with CRADLE OF FILTH, have tainted the sound of their beloved black metal. However, if you break down your judging walls and open your ears, you will eventually accept their innovative brilliance.
With that being said, it’s been eight long years since we heard anything new from DIMMU, back when they unleashed Abrahadabra back in 2010. After years of perfecting and fine tuning their new album, Eonian will finally arrive on May 4 via Nuclear Blast Records. With the band already having an interest divide, it’s no surprise that you will find yourself loving or hating this album. There really is no in between.
The record opens up with “The Unveiling” as you hear sounds of muffled machines before it escalates with distorted riffs and a diabolical sounding choir. The track moves into tales on our corrupted reality as the melody spirals through different musical experiments. Chaos continues to unravel with “Interdimensional Summit” as it opens with bold symphonic elements. However, do not compare this with bands such as NIGHTWISH as that would be similar to comparing soy milk with whole milk. It is the catchiest tune as the orchestra reveals an ensemble rhythm while the instrumentals bring a classic-ish DIMMU BORGIR sound.
After two tracks, you are entranced with the evolved 2018 DIMMU as “Aetheric” crawls in with a slow guitar riff, which inevitably sucks you into a blackened abyss. There are an ample amount of elements and melodies in this one that will require you to listen several times. For example, at roughly 2:30 in, you feel as though you are listening to the instrumental version of CRADLE OF FILTH’S “Summer Dying Fast” as this melody lasts for maybe five seconds. Disturbing ambiances mixed with merciless melodies continue with “Council of Wolves & Snakes” as black metal gets re-introduced during “The Empyrium Phoenix.”
Regardless of what subgenre you feel obliged to categorize the group into, Eonian is one ambitious record and you can hear that in “Lightbringer.” The track fades in similar to an opening of a 1920s horror film followed by harsh guitar riffs making it one of the darkest songs. However, with the mix of an alluring keyboard, the song has a small dose of serenity. The diversity continues with “I Am Sovereign,” beginning as though you are walking through a parade of darkness.
However, it’s “Archaic Correspondence” that is undeniably the song you hope never ends. The lyrics provide an interesting perspective on humans and morality with, “Life is a trial and the passage is death.” Proving that there are no filler tracks, as this is one sustainably strong album, “Alpha Aeon Omega” closes the piece as it captures the album’s melodic variance. However, there’s one more number that guides the listener to reflect on the nine chaotic tracks as the record closes with the haunting instrumental “Rite of Passage.”
With Eonian, DIMMU BORGIR have certainly delivered a strong album. The amount of layers used between raw black metal sounds to orchestrations has made it a near flawless and yet risky record. Well done.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM, but pay special attention to “Archaic Correspondence.” You will thank us.
-ZENAE D. ZUKOWSKI