Juggernauts in the Symphonic Black Metal world, Dimmu Borgir had finally returned to NYC. The show would find Kataklysm, Devildriver and Unearth providing support and it was an event to be remembered. We were on point to bring you the full story and take photos of every band. To learn more just scroll past the logo below.
Artist: Dimmu Borgir
Venue: Nokia Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Kataklysm, Devildriver, Unearth
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
“The Invaluable Darkness Tour” would be the title of the event and how fitting this would be to mark the triumphant return of Dimmu Borgir to New York City. We had not seen them since the Ozzfest in 2004 which found them as one of the main stage attractions alongside the original Black Sabbath, Slayer, and a reunited Judas Priest with Rob Halford. This incredible Final Four of Metal made this particular Ozzfest perhaps the best one in years past and to come. As someone who attended this show I felt that it definitely raised the larger public awareness of the incredible music and showmanship that Dimmu possesses. Before the referenced Ozzfest I had only caught Dimmu Borgir once before at the now defunct L’Amour in Brooklyn. This particular show was reinforcing my belief that Metal was indeed back with vengeance for I was in a jam-packed club with about an 800 person capacity and opening the show would be Nevermore, Children Of Bodom and Hypocrisy!!! Yikes, give me more lineups like this one please. After a truly killer and brutalizing set that supported their new album of the time (“Death Cult Armageddon”) I could hardly wait to come back and see what the club would have in store for the Metal faithful next. Sadly, they would close forever only a few weeks after this show but lucky for Metal fans in New York venues like the B.B. King Blues Club and Nokia Theatre would pick up the slack with apparent ease. Tonight, the tour would make a stop at The Nokia Theatre – a great venue for this kind of event with their spacious stage and room for a couple of thousand screaming Metal fans. It would also feature Katakysm, Devildriver and Unearth as support. The mighty Dimmu would be celebrating their newest release on Nuclear Blast Records “In Sorte Diaboli”.
Kataklysm would come up first and I have to say they were really impressing me tonight. I had only caught them once before and I did not remember liking them all that much since there was such a weird sound of the room it was. The Nokia is pretty close to being one of the better sounding venues and perhaps this is because of it being a movie theatre at one time. For the lead off band I was giving high kudos to Kataklysm since they were owning the stage with ease and I vowed to look a little deeper into their music. It was also impressive to see most of the fans in the venue already as everyone there was seeking the best spot for when Dimmu Borgir would hit the stage. They would be supporting their own latest release on Nuclear Blast Records entitled “In The Arms Of Devastation” and in the live sense this stuff was even more powerful than on recording. Always a good thing to realize.
Devildriver was next up and these guys are fronted by Dez formerly of Coal Chamber. I admit right now that I never liked CC and even having seen them on several tours with other bands they just never did it for me. Devildriver on the other hand is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to a current Metal scene aggression that has roots in the Traditional Thrash Metal movement of the eighties. Dez also seems more energetic and aggressive as he performs with this group and from the moment they hit the stage the circle pits begin to form. “Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand” is their latest release and I believe we shall see a new one from them soon. I hope it continues along with the working method they are currently using.
Unearth is probably one of the most unlikely of choices for direct support for a Symphonic Black Metal band but this group of Metalcore champions definitely do not take the assignment lightly. Another great tour for them after completing the brief Slayer invasion where they were the only opener, the visit of Dimmu Borgir allowed them to reach new demographics and convert them to their own cause. As a band they are electric and enthusiastic and essentially a photographers nightmare as they bolt and bound all around the stage in an effort to get everyone in the audience involved at the exact same time from every different location. I have to say that I enjoyed them as they continued to do some older stuff and tracks off their latest release “In The Eyes Of Fire” but as their set drew close to a close all I wanted to see was the mighty ones from Norway. I would soon get my wish.
Dimmu Borgir would come on very quickly after Unearth and you could feel both the anticipation and electricity in the air, a feeling I tend to notice at some of the larger shows based on the audience and who it is that is playing. Being in the photo pit for a few moments to snare the action as they begin would be exciting to me as well because there is just something so overpowering about their presence that it becomes more a physical thing as opposed to an ethereal one. Suddenly the intro music began to play and the massive curtains were drawn back to reveal Dimmu in all their glory. Each member of the band was standing with arms held high making the horns and it was truly an imposing visual that everyone around me was rushing to capture. Their opener would be “Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse” and I did not expect this since it’s the perfect closer. It serves well as an opening track as well, and made for a true spiked gauntlet in the face to the audience. Shagrath is really an incredible front man and perhaps one of the best in the Symphonic Black Metal genre for he demands your attention and manages to keep it for as long as he decides he wants it. He prowled the stage and glared at the audience like a sinister King observing his loyal subjects and all of us hung on his every word when he would speak. Visually they are a band that is totally on point and guitarists Galder and Silenoz were shredding it up very nicely. While sinister presences on their own, they really seemed to be enjoying the response that they were getting from the crowd as they smiled evil grins back at them. My vantage point was a little obscured when it came to figuring where the hell Mustis, the keyboardist actually was. His presence was felt on every track but with the smoke and the lighting I did not get a clear glimpse of where he was hidden. Of course two other members of the band remained and they were not hidden by any aspect and that was the thundering drums coming from the left side where Hellhammer was causing absolute destruction on the kit. The legendary drummer of Mayhem fame has been touring and recording with DB of late and he is a welcome replacement in the lineup since Nick Barker had left. Also very visible would be ICS Vortex who handles bass guitar and the “clean” aspect of the vocals. He is the light to Shagrath’s dark in some fashion and with him in the group there is a lot more room for development and adventuring with their sound. The demonstration as to what can be done with the genre in Dimmu’s case is best showcased on their latest release “In Sorte Diaboli” and from these comments would throttle the audience with “The Serpentine Offering”. It is the bands first concept album a really is a musical monster-piece for their catalog. It features the kind of storyline that fans expect from them in terms of content and musically it is deeply symphonic and atmospheric yet brutally aggressive all around. Shagrath talked about it briefly before they launched into music from the CD.
As I listened and watched it seemed as though they were getting to every song that I liked from their catalog and that feeling seemed to be the same around the venue. As each tune ended the roars of applause was deafening and while Dimmu is used to capacity crowds in Europe, it was great to see this response in the States, and New York especially where there really is no place to enjoy this kind of music on either radio or video network. Despite this absence in media outlets the faithful still gather to support their bands. Dimmu Borgir shows the Metal world how an intensely visual and powerful band handles this role. Their message might not be for everyone but those who do follow them into the depths truly embark on a journey that they shall not soon forget. Dare you falter in step as Shagrath leads the charge into the night? I don’t think this wise so step up like the proud acolytes of Metal he commands you to be. With Dimmu Borgir at our side we are all cloaked by the thunders of the North wind.
While I had loved the performance without any hesitation or questions I was left a little in want based on the length of the Dimmu Borgir set. Given the presence of four bands in total, they would play just over an hour and fifteen minutes it seemed. I would have gladly sacrificed any one opener for the chance to enjoy a little more DB to be very honest.
Update: The following morning as the flood of Symphonic Black Metal essence slowly began to wear off I read that the mighty Behemoth would be opening for Dimmu tonight instead of Unearth. That was depressing for while I liked Unearth and found them kicking ass there is possibly no better pairing than a Dimmu Borgir/Behemoth billing. The fans in Philly really were going to go home numb from this one.
1. Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse
4. Kings Of The Carnival Creation
5. Sorgens Kammer
7. A Succubus In
8. The Serpentine Offering
9. Hellhammer Drum Solo
11. The Insight And
13. Mourning Palace
14. The Fallen – Outro