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In Sorte Diaboli (Deluxe)

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Album Review

Dimmu Borgir's brand of symphonic black metal, industrial rock and near-classical melodic fare has been developing nicely since their beginning in the 1990s. The crew backing Shagrath's lead vocals — killer guitars by Hellhammer and Erkekjetter Silenoz and some wonderfully harmonic backing vocals that are near operatic, or at least influenced by Jon Anderson and Yes — have become a brand in metal. With In Sorte Diaboli, the band has gone the route of Therion and numerous others in creating a concept album about a man who grows up in fear and ignorance and believes in the Christian church, and somehow, after studying for years as a monk, rejects everything and becomes a heretic who runs afoul of the church. In doing so, he understands his fate is at stake. Musically, Dimmu Borgir are unrelentingly brutal and harmonic all at once. Songs meld and blend into one another, becoming a nightmarish brood of shred and scrape dreamscapes. The transitions in tunes such as "The Conspiracy Unfolds" and "The Sacrilegious Scorn," the former with its intense blastbeats and ranging power riffs and the latter tune's classically themed melodic invention, are simply seductive as keyboard and snares and toms give way to powerful guitar and bass thrums. When the chorus enters, full of four-part harmony and key changes that open onto a vista of darkness, it's almost irresistible. One can't fault Dimmu Borgir for their position that manmade Christian religion is a form of control and has been from the beginning, though their own ignorance — willful, no doubt — is almost laughable. After all, if the only accounts of the dark spirit known as Satan are from the same ancient Hebrew narratives in Genesis, how is the worship of Satan supposedly closer to the animal instincts of human nature and different than another set of manmade beliefs with even less textual evidence? This is part of what's wrong with all of the these narratives that claim, at their basest, that Christianity is bad and full of bondage while Satanism is good and promises freedom to do what thou wilt. It simply inverts the paradigm, but it's the same paradigm. Therefore the lyrics here are cheesy, as is the narrative in the liner notes that precedes the music. Oh yeah: one needs a mirror to be able to read the lyrics. Luckily, they are high enough up in the mix to actually hear. Ultimately, how is this album different from the Who's Tommy? Musically yes, but lyrically it's consciously more venomous, the darkness that lurks within them both is similar, and both promise a kind of freedom, only Tommy's doesn't come with death by the Church. There's really great stuff here in the music, the production, in the sound effects. Too bad it all melts down when it comes to the concept, which is ho hum at best — at least Slayer made a case against Christianity and war while choosing the devil. This all boils down to having to make a choice. The humanist perspective is the freedom not to make a choice at all. This all amounts to sermonizing and creating propaganda for the other side. It's still boring. Perhaps Dimmu Borgir should have spent more time listening to labelmates Therion's Gothic Kaballah for a truly interesting concept. [A limited-edition version of the CD contains bonus material.]

Customer Reviews

top 10 list

the anticipation for "In Sorte Diaboli" has been off the scale, and the good news is that it is another skillfully assembled symphonic black metal album. I do believe "In Sorte Diaboli" to be at least of equal greatness to its predecessor. Aside from those equating the commercial success of an extreme metal band to some sort of lessening of its artistic relevance, most objective fans would have to at least praise the effort for its grandness of construction and consistency of quality.What it really comes down to with DIMMU BORGIR are the arrangements. The group has always excelled at it, and "In Sorte Diaboli" is the ultimate example of it. Not only are the arrangements written for maximum impact, but also the album as a whole succeeds smashingly as a one-sitting listen, particularly compared to previous discs. It could be that this increased musical cohesiveness relates directly to the fact that "In Sorte Diaboli" has been written as a concept album.It is nearly impossible to pick a highlight track here, as not a blemish is to be found anywhere. "The Serpentine Offering" and "The Chosen Legacy" offer striking stop-on-a-dime pace changeups, amazing riffs, and memorable vocal lines,The highlights are many. It is the quick, rolling rhythm of "The Sinister Awakening", a nasty riff on "The Fundamental Alienation" that puts a snarl on the face, the stop-start riffing and sinister majesty of "The Invaluable Darkness", and the ominous chords of "The Foreshadowing Furnace", which serves as the album's climatic end. "In Sorte Diaboli" offers the listener so many opportunities to revel in its sonic bombast DIMMU BORGIR is a band with few equals. "In Sorte Diaboli" is proof of it. Put it on your year-end top 10 list now. its in mine

In Sorte Diaboli

Fantastic opening song, while the entire album is familiar with its heavy melodic sounds, it reminds me of death cult armeggeddon in style, but it still delivers as a magnificent experience.

An Album which does not dissapoint!

DIMMU BORGIR HAVE DONE IT AGAIN! THESE SCANDANAVIAN NORWEGIANS ROCK, A MUST BUY ALBUM AND THE MAKING OF 'In Sorte Diaboli' video doco as well. The Sepertine Offering has got to be one of the best oppenings ive heard, The Ancestral Fever its a wicked song and both Shagrath and ICX Vortex have done well in it. PLEASE ITUNES PUT SOME DIMMU BORGIR VIDEO CLIPS ON THERE ESPECIALLY THE SERPENTINE OFFERING THAT VID ROCKS! There Digital Booklet is great and has a really good story in there from the old medieval black pleage times. Just Brilliant this album Hail Dimmu Borgir and the Fallen Angel! Tippa P.S It Sure Beats HILLSONG ANYDAY!


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Blending black metal's most brutal tendencies, the melancholic beauty of opera, and industrial metal's production techniques, Dimmu Borgir carved a niche in the metal world as one of the most savage and creative acts to hail from the Norwegian scene. The group first started in 1993, when members Shagrath (vocals), Erkekjetter Silenoz (guitar), and Tjodalv (guitar and drums) came together to join the emerging metal scene. Although some groups like Emperor and Mayhem had already been making noise for...
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In Sorte Diaboli (Deluxe), Dimmu Borgir
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