Vault Review: Dimmu Borgir – Stormblåst

Introduction

Band: Dimmu Borgir
Album: Stormblåst
Origin: Jessheim, Norway
Genre: Melodic / Symphonic Black Metal
Label: Cacophonous Records

Dimmu Borgir – the name is synonymous with epic, but it wasn’t always so. There was a time during the height of the second-wave when the thought of this band playing a festival like Wacken Open Air in front of – I don’t know how many thousands of people – backed by an actual orchestra was about as ridiculous as the idea of seeing them in a club setting these days. In 1996, Dimmu Borgir were far more in touch with the spirit of what’s referred to as true Norwegian black metal, and this truth is evidenced by their first two albums. Each one saw the project harmonizing with a much different kind of vibe than what other bands like Mayhem and Satyricon were giving off at the time. Both recordings apically composed yet well within the scope of reason when it came to the utilization of symphonic elements… Only in service to the music without overpowering every second of runtime…

The Album

Following the release of their debut, “For all tid”, Dimmu Borgir released what is undoubtedly their finest album in 1996’s “Stormblåst”. What you get with this brilliant work of artistic charm and soulful elegance is not anything misanthropic or crudely irreligious, but something authentic in its classically inspired style and warmth for both the language and the ever-proud Norse spirit; that ancient energy that binds each and every Scandinavian black metal congregation together despite all variations in style. It’s this essence of Heathenism that has – over the years – been lost by Dimmu Borgir as they’ve ascended further and further into the realm of mainstream notoriety. You’re more likely to see kids eating nachos in front of Dimmu Borgir as they play these days, rather than seeing people being actually moved by a truly artistic musical experience. A sort of traveling black metal circus… But I digress…

As you take in the opening track, “Alt Lys Er Svunnet Hen” with its gentle piano lulls that carry seamlessly over into easy melodic parts consisting of mellow, yet potent guitar riffs accented by the ethereal quality of the keyboards, you’ll either discover, or remember as if for the first time just how influential this band was. Other even more soulful cuts like the titular-track and “Dodsferd” unfold in stream with a different kind of energy this time… With these two, you’ll find yourself immersed in the amber glow of a certain kind of soul-stirring satanic radiance; the kind by which it seems most of the early Norwegian black metal horde were bound. The album closes with a foreshadowing of the grandiose symphonic approach that would later be taken by the band in “Guds Fortapelse – Apenbaring Avv Dommedag” as a flamboyant intro brings forth what feels like a maelstrom of a track compared to its predecessors.

These days, the Dimmu Borgir experience is pure world-class entertainment. Big labels, big budgets and killer costumes are the name of the game. It’s all festivals all the time, and you can’t really blame them. They’re just too big for any kind of normal stage. Shagrath, Silenoz and crew are making a living spreading Satan’s message of war and apocalypse across the globe… and there’s nothing wrong with that. The industry needs bands like Dimmu Borgir, Nordjevel, 1349 and the like who show the world just how epic, surgically precise and dynamic black metal can be when the restrictions are taken off and the throttle pressed to the floor. Save the genre-purism for the Taakes and the Gehennas of the scene.

Experience “Stormblåst” by Dimmu Borgir right here:

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Thoughts on Dimmu Borgir – Stormblåst

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