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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

Mediocre is saying too much.

I'm baffled at why Dimmu fans say this album is on par or better than their past releases. This album holds very little entertainment value. This is one of the only albums I've listened to all the way through where every song sounds the same. The Serpentine Offering and The Invaluable Darkness are the only songs on here worth listening to more than once. If you buy this album and like it it's probably because you think it's cool to like Dimmu Borgir. Buy their old stuff, this is their worst release in my mind. Galder doesn't do a single thing on this album that is noteworthy. Powerchords and palm mutes with double bass matching it, that's about the only guitar on this album... Shagrath doesn't do much either, just your standard Shagrath. Vortex has very little vocal time on this album and when he does vocalize it's not that good, really the only song where his vocals were any good was Progenies. The thing about this album that stands out to me is that it sounds like they didn't try. Every song on this album melds together. I can count the number of guitar riffs that were catchy on one hand... and I wouldn't need all of my fingers either. Two... two times this album kept me entertained. The Serpentine Offering and The Invaluable darkness, as I said before, are the ONLY highlights of this album. This album was poor, Dimmu Borgir's Black Album as my friend put it. This album is nothing more than a publicity stunt. Every song on here could be played on a metal radio station with no complaints because this album is incredibly mainstream sounding. All Dimmu Borgir cares about now is "expanding their audience" they're trying to "reach out to new fan bases"... in other words they're trying to make money. Stick with their old stuff if you actually listen to black metal... if the only black metal you like is Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir then get this... then go out and buy another Slipknot album and go mosh at a Trivium concert.

Dimmu Borgir does it again!!!!

Another year, another amazing album that is released by black metal legends Dimmu Borgir. They've kept it similar to Death Cult Armageddon, but making it heavier and A LOT more melodic. With Shagrath's vocals as flawless as ever, Mustis' haunting keyboards and Galder's godly guitar playing, they make a killer album that all metal fans will love!

Another good Dimmu Album

Not Dimmu's best album in my opinion but has a few great songs that i love to listen to. Serpentine Offering: One of the best songs ever recorded. Chosen Legacy: In my opinion 2nd best song on the album, hell hammer does this song justice as well. Sacrilegious Scorn: Another great song thats always fun to listen to. I havent had much of a chance to listen to some of the ending songs much but from what i can see most are well composed at worth the buy.


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...
Full Bio
In Sorte Diaboli (Deluxe), Dimmu Borgir
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Customer Ratings


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