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Music / Dimmu Borgir

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Dimmu Borgir!
The deviants seek but one place
Dimmu Borgir!
Forward onward march!
— Dimmu Borgir, Abrahadabra

Dimmu Borgir are a Norwegian symphonic black metal band that, along with bands like Keep of Kalessin and Cradle of Filth, represents the more commercial and accessible end of black (or quasi-black) metal. Instantly recognizable for their clean, keyboard-laden sound, and their staunchly anti-Christian lyrics, Dimmu Borgir have carved out a unique niche for themselves both inside and outside of the Black Metal world, particularly in recent times. Still, they are quite divisive in the anti-commercial black metal scene; many hardcore black metal fans lament their steady move towards a more commercial, less raw sound.

In 1993, the year of their formation, Dimmu Borgir played pretty standard Black Metal, very similar to what their fellow Norwegians were doing at the time. While you'll find the occasional fan of their early work, most of the black metal community agrees that it was nothing particularly special or innovative. Only with their third release, Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, did Dimmu Borgir begin to do anything particularly original. While still quite similar to the work of a band like Emperor, Enthrone Darkness Triumphant was where Dimmu Borgir began to set themselves apart from the stock standard Black Metal tropes and techniques.

Since then, Dimmu Borgir have kept up a steady schedule of releases and tours, with no signs of stopping.

Tropes associated with Dimmu Borgir:

  • Black Metal: Particularly the symphonic metal variety.
  • Concept Album: In Sorte Diaboli.
  • Cue the Rain: "Alt lys er svunnet hen" gets its plagiarized piano intro replaced with rain sounds in the rerecording.
  • Dark Is Evil: To be expected, but then again, Evil is Cool.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Both the original and rerecorded versions of Stormblast have this in their opening, though the MMV version's is longer and a little more dramatic.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first two albums and the EP's and singles from the same era have fairly lo-fi production and lyrics written more-or-less entirely in Norwegian. Starting with Enthrone Darkness Triumphant they upgraded their production considerably (working with Peter Tagtgren probably helped there) and began writing lyrics in English, establishing the sound they've had ever since.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener:
    • "Alt lys er svunnet hen" (Albeit plagiarized from British prog rock band Magnum)
    • "Master of Disharmony" (The Devil's Path EP version)
    • "The Promised Future Aeons"
    • "Eradication Instincts Defined"
    • "The Serpentine Offering"
  • Epic Rocking: Not that long, but the band does enough twists and turns in them.
    • "Chaos Without Prophecy"
    • "The Insight and the Catharsis"
    • "Arcane Lifeforce Mysteria"
    • "Kings of the Carnival Creation"
    • "Eradication Instincts Defined"
  • Ethereal Choir: Occasionally synths are used to mimic the sound of one of these. They are mainly prevalent in the rerecording Stormblast MMV, arguably improving a handful of songs.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: Shagrath's Harsh Vocals have this going on, though that's not unusual given the genre of music they play.
  • Folk Metal: "Antikrist" and especially "Stien" could pass as such due to their flute atmospheres.
  • Gorn: The cover of Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia just barely averts this.
  • Harsh Vocals
  • Hell Invades Heaven: "In Death's Embrace", where Hell not only invades Heaven, but manages to subject God to Cold-Blooded Torture. A similar call to this is made in "The Blazing Monoliths of Defiance" through the verse: "Hunt the heavens". While in Norwegian, the songs "Guds fortapelse - Apenbaring av Dommedag" and "Allehelgens Dod I Helveds Rike" also follow the theme of heaven's fall.
  • Hot as Hell: In the video for "The Sacrilegious Scorn", Satan appears as a painting of Baphomet that morphs into a beautiful woman.
  • "I Am" Song: "Puritania" is the best example. "Antikrist" could also fit in due to its final lines.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Sorgens Kammer", even though plagiarized from an Amiga game, still evokes a depressive atmosphere and gives the listener a sensation of loneliness.
  • Namesto Run Away From / Names Ending In Th: Shagrath.
  • New Sound Album: Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, most prominently.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Avmaktslave" features an 'Ave Satani' choir. "The Chosen Legacy" and "The Sinister Awakening" also have choirs chanting in Latin 'In Sorte Diaboli' and 'Antichristus Spiritualis'.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: "Spellbound (By the Devil)", "The Promised Future Aeons" and "Kings of the Carnival Creation" feature a few of these.
  • Rearrange the Song: "Hunnerkongens Sorgsvarde Ferd Over Steppene", "Raabjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde", the entire Stormblast album, "Master of Disharmony" and "Devil's Path".
  • Religion Rant Song: Pretty much Dimmu's modus operandi.
    • "Antikrist", while its lyrics being in Norwegian, the violent anti-Christian message was still easy to decipher, hence Antikrist and Dodsferd were switched around by Cacophonous Records in a futile attempt of copping themselves out.
    • "The Sacrilegious Scorn"
    • "The Serpentine Offering"
    • "Tormentor Of Christian Souls", whose lyrics were apparently so extreme that even their label at the time (Nuclear Blast) refused to print them in the liner notes.
  • Revolving Door Band: Shagrath and Silenoz are the only two members who have been in the band since the beginning.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Well, they are a Black Metal band...
  • Sad Battle Music: "Det Nye Riket" opens the album For All Tid with a pretty dark and depressing orchestral and piano instrumental that would fit well into a battle scenery. Its lyrics also speak about an upcoming kingdom and there are many symbols from the Book of Revelation reversed. Later in the album's rather chilling title track, the predicted battle seems to have begun.
  • Sampling: A few times on the more recent albums. Usually a result of slight Industrial Metal influences on their sound. Symphonic parts from Dvorak are also incorporated in "Guds Fortapelse - Apenbaring av Dommedag".
  • Shout-Out: Shagrath's stage name is a reference to a certain Orc from The Lord of the Rings. Silenoz's stage name is a reference to Silenius, a satyr from Greek mythology.
  • Soprano and Gravel: On a few songs — and, more often than not, a result of two male vocalists rather than a male and a female. Not normally, though.
  • Spikes of Villainy: In an interview, Nagash mentioned that the band make those spikes themselves by shopping for items from Gothic shops.
  • Succubi and Incubi: "A Succubus in Rapture'' and "United in Unhallowed Grace" are about these.
  • Symphonic Metal: One of the defining bands of the Black Metal wing of the genre. Also, they've used an actual orchestra on several of their albums, beginning from 2001's Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, though Mustis had tried imitating one with his keyboards on several occasions in Spiritual Black Dimensions and In Sorte Diaboli.
  • The Quest: Quite a few instances, such as the lonely Viking's travel from "Over Bleknede Blaner Til Dommedag", Attila's journey from "Hunnerkongens Sorgsvarde Ferd Over Steppene", the quest of hell to defeat heaven from "In Death's Embrace", the journey of souls to the afterlife in "Nar Sjelen Hentes Til Helvete", "Dodsferd" and "Entrance", the quest to conquer Azunda in "Chaos Without Prophecy", and to an extent, the quest of one through occult meditation to other worlds which is a prevalent theme in Spiritual Black Dimensions, especially in "The Insight and the Catharsis" and "Arcane Lifeforce Mysteria".
  • Title Track:
    • "Inn I Evighetens Morke" (both parts)
    • "For All Tid"
    • "Stormblast"
    • "Devil's Path"
    • "Prudence's Fall" ("I, Enthroned Darkness Triumphant, with the searing trident of the inferno")
    • "The Insight and the Catharsis" ("Join the forces, the Spiritual Black Dimensions")
    • "Puritania" (of Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia)
    • "Blood Hunger Doctrine" ("A reality so convincingly justified, feeding from the Death Cult's gown")
    • "The Chosen Legacy" (has "In Sorte Diaboli" chants)
    • "Endings and Continuations" (has "Abrahadabra" chanted by choirs many times)
  • Voice of the Legion: Sometimes this effect is achieved by overdubbing multiple layers of Harsh Vocals. "Monster vocal" effects are also used in "The Night Masquerade".


Video Example(s):


Dimmu Borgir

Dimmu Borgir is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1993. The name is derived from Dimmuborgir, a volcanic formation in Iceland, the name of which means "dark cities" or "dark castles/fortresses" in Icelandic, Faroese and Old Norse. The band has been through numerous lineup changes over the years; vocalist Shagrath and rhythm guitarist Silenoz are the only original members who still remain, with lead guitarist Galder being a longstanding member.<br><br>The song example is "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse".

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