Dimmu Borgir – Forces Of The Northern Night Review

Released by: Nuclear Blast Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Black Metal

Links: https://www.facebook.com/dimmuborgir/

 

Line up:

Shagrath | vocals

Silenoz | guitar

Galder | guitar

 

CD1: LIVE AT OSLO SPEKTRUM

01 Xibir (orchestra)
02 Born Treacherous
03 Gateways
04 Dimmu Borgir (orchestra)
05 Dimmu Borgir
06 Chess with the Abyss
07 Ritualist
08 A Jewel Traced Through Coal
09 Eradication Instincts Defined (orchestra)

 

CD2: LIVE AT OSLO SPEKTRUM

01 Vredesbyrd
02 Progenies of the Great Apocalypse
03 The Serpentine Offering
04 Fear and Wonder (orchestra)
05 Kings of the Carnival Creation
06 Puritania
07 Mourning Palace
08 Perfection or Vanity (orchestra)

 

DVD1: LIVE AT OSLO SPEKTRUM

01 Xibir (orchestra)
02 Born Treacherous
03 Gateways
04 Dimmu Borgir (orchestra)
05 Dimmu Borgir
06 Chess with the Abyss
07 Ritualist
08 A Jewel Traced Through Coal
09 Eradication Instincts Defined (orchestra)
10 Vredesbyrd
11 Progenies of the Great Apocalypse
12 The Serpentine Offering
13 Fear and Wonder (orchestra)
14 Kings of the Carnival Creation
15 Puritania
16 Mourning Palace
17 Perfection or Vanity (orchestra)
+Documentary

 

DVD2: LIVE AT WACKEN OPEN AIR

01 Xibir (orchestra)
02 Born Treacherous
03 Gateways
04 Dimmu Borgir (orchestra)
05 Dimmu Borgir
06 Chess with the Abyss
07 Ritualist
08 A Jewel Traced Through Coal
09 Eradication Instincts Defined (orchestra)
10 Vredesbyrd
11 Progenies of the Great Apocalypse
12 The Serpentine Offering
13 Fear and Wonder (orchestra)
14 Kings of the Carnival Creation
15 Puritania
16 Mourning Palace
17 Perfection or Vanity (orchestra)

 

Traditionally, when you hear black metal, you tend to gravitate towards Celtic Frost, Bathory, Mayhem, Venom, Darkthrone, Emperor, Immortal, and Marduk. However, two artists who both formed in the early nineties stand out as the kings of symphonic black metal or extreme metal or considered as “sellouts” in the sub-genre. These two are Norway’s Dimmu Borgir and England’s Cradle of Filth, who both captivate a unique cinematic style with harmonic arrangements. Both are part of the Nuclear Blast family and with COF’s consistent activity from their comeback album 2015’s ‘Hammer of the Witches’ and frontman Dani Filth’s Devilment project latest effort with 2016’s ‘II – The Mephisto Waltzes,’ it’s finally Dimmu Borgir’s turn.

These giants have experienced quite a few lineup changes and nearly fell off the radar since 2010’s ‘Abrahadabra.’ However, lucky seven years later, they assured their fans of a huge return. A return that begins with a live album surpassing a collection of songs throughout their evolved career. ‘Forces Of The Northern Night’ is a huge 2 CD/2 DVD bundle released on April 28th via Nuclear Blast. Marking it their first live album to date and containing not one, but two live performances. One being their May 28, 2011, concert at the Oslo Spektrum in Norway supported by 53 members of KORK (the Norwegian Radio Orchestra) and 30 members of the Schola Cantorum choir, who were featured as musical guests on ‘Abrahadabra.’ The second live ritual includes their outstanding performance at the famous Wacken Open Air festival in 2012, assuring it as the only European festival with an orchestra and choir consisting of nearly 100 members.

The double CD captures 90 minutes worth of material from their Oslo performance. The first DVD includes this performance along with a documentary and the second DVD features professionally shot footage from their Wacken Open Air 2012 show. Essentially, you are getting well over three hours of material for $20 (money well spent).

For the CD portion, it will remind you of Metallica’s 1999 S&M live album with the San Francisco Symphony which exceeded from traditional live albums that made it a stand alone record. ‘Forces Of The Northern Night,’ has a similar effect. We are transported back to 2011, a time when the group was promoting ‘Abrahadabra,’ an album that had mixed reviews or needed seven years to fully adjust to it. Therefore, a chunk of it features songs from the album including the cinematic introduction of “Xibir” similar to a ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Lord of the Rings,’ or ‘Star Wars’ movie (depending on which film the listener prefers). Following the cinematic meets classical intro, it transcends to songs “Born Treacherous,” and “Gateways.” The mix between electronics, standard symphonic, and bold orchestration boost brings out a chaotic eruption making you appreciate these tunes much more than you did years ago.

Moving forward, there’s an orchestral shift with “Dimmu Borgir,” as it plays twice; one with orchestra only and the second being the full live version of the tune. At this point, you begin to question if it’s an orchestra and choir version of just the latest album as tracks such as “Chess With The Abyss,” “Ritualist,” and “A Jewel Traced Through Coal” flowed in next.

After eight back to back tunes from the aforementioned record, it moves to 2003’s ‘Death Cult Armageddon’ with the vibrant instrumental concluding disc one, “Eradication Instincts Defined.” Disc two opens strongly with “Vredesbyrd,” and “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse.” Listening to their classic tunes with the orchestra and choir adds a powerful intensity and you can hear that in “The Serpentine Offering” taken from 2007’s ‘In Sorte Diaboli.’

The listener will fall into a gothic trance during “Fear And Wonder” from 2001’s Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. This trance doesn’t last long as everything intensifies during “Kings of the Carnival Creation.” Disarray melodies continue to peak with “Puritania” followed by their classic tune “Mourning Palace” from 1997’s ‘Enthrone Darkness.’ After reaching full heights of melodic bliss, the pace significantly drops to its haunting and dramatic conclusion with the instrumental of “Perfection or Vanity.”

The movements between merciless aggression and jaw-dropping beauty of the orchestral sounds should make anyone gets lost in this album. It’s the perfect addition to any Dimmu Borgir fan as we reminisce a few highlights and learn to embrace their latest effort. However, we can only predict this means a brand new album is in the works. In the meantime, ‘Forces of the Northern Night’ will distract us from this suspense and anticipation, something Tool should have done.

 

Rating: 9/10

Written By, Zenae Zukowski

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