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Reading “Dimmu Borgir: Dark Fortress” by Terminal Press

dimmu borgir logo

Artist: Dimmu Borgir
Title: “Dark Fortress”
Publisher: Terminal Press
Release Date: June 2009
Genre: Comic Book
Rating: Good

I have been a comic book geek since the earliest days of my youth when I remember being focused on the Adam West “Batman” TV show from days long passed. I watched it intently and am pretty sure that at one point during these formative years that I actually wanted to be Batman but of course life circumstances and a healthy dose of something called reality this would never be a pursuit that I would follow. Of course the love of comic books continued and I religiously followed the adventures of Spider-Man, Green Lantern and far too many more than I can outline in this brief space. My passion for music grew at the same time and when my favorite band KISS was forever immortalized in a Marvel Comics Super Special, I thought I had died and gone to heaven and think that I read these adventures no less than 100 times. Musical artists in comic books were not something entirely new, but in the past decades had been immortalized more as themselves making guest appearances in a particular title as opposed to carrying out their own adventures. We would eventually find The Beatles and Alice Cooper doing Marvel Comics releases and then KISS would return for a follow story which was god awful in comparison to the first incredible story but beyond that we would not see many bands crossing over into the four color realm. That is until the last few years at least. Believe it or not KISS returned for a new comic that presented them as an elemental force of mysticism and for the most part this was a solid read and the better thing about it was its being able to present the band as something much more than we know them to be. This leads us to the subject matter of “Dimmu Borgir: Dark Fortress”.

Comic - Dimmu Borgir - Dark Fortress
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“Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” (reloaded) by Dimmu Borgir

Artist: Dimmu Borgir
Title: “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” (reloaded edition)
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 9/2/2008
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Rating: 4/5

“Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” was the third album for Norway’s Black Metal elite Dimmu Borgir and their first release on Nuclear Blast Records. It was an album that was met with some level of controversy based on how it was musically composed and about the label that the band had chosen to sign onto. Those who considered themselves “truer” to the Black Metal cause felt that with these actions Dimmu had indeed sold out but those who took the time to listen to it learned that the band had simply evolved to the next level of performance and delivery. Initially released in 1997, the album comes to us in 2008 as one of the Nuclear Blast Records “reloaded” editions and as result receives a production upgrade and has additional features built into it. Traditional Black Metal is not music that I would recommend to everyone since it might contain terms and references deemed offensive by certain people but I feel that when it touches upon the Symphonic edge as Dimmu Borgir began to manifest with this album that the demographic is a little easier to expand upon. “EDT” is a fantastic step in a new direction for a band that is destined to become leaders in the Symphonic Black Metal genre and as “Mourning Palace” kicks off the release you are immediately presented with a brooding and dramatic piece that proves this change has promise in the bands style.
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“In Sorte Diaboli” by Dimmu Borgir

Artist: Dimmu Borgir
Title: “In Sorte Diaboli”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 4/24/2007
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Rating: 4/5

If you translate the title from its Latin origins, “In Sorte Diaboli” leaves you with the meaning “a faithful connectivity with Satan”, and how appropriate this is as the title of the newest album by Norway’s Dimmu Borgir. This would be the first new recordings by the band in a couple of years as their last effort was a redo of the classic “Stormblast”. The new album also marks the band adventuring for the first time into the concept album and what a concept it is. “In Sorte Diaboli” tells the story of an apprentice Priest living in the times of medieval Europe and the main premise of the tale is that this apprentice for whatever reasons begins to find himself questioning his beliefs and becoming dissatisfied with the doctrines of Christianity. The feelings of doubt and the circumstance around them begins his journey into a darker and more sinister realm of belief. It’s the kind of storyline that really falls right in place with the brand of Metal that Dimmu Borgir excels at delivering in their unique fashion. Fans of the band will find this to be an epic release that is loaded with the expected dramatics and thundering power as one often finds in their music and it all begins right away with “The Serpentine Offering”. This opener sets up the apprentice’s descent into the Dark Side and seems to be sung by the Adversary himself. In the musical sense this as sound a release as anything we loved most about “Death Cult Armageddon” and the redone “Stormblast”.
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“Stormblast MMV” by Dimmu Borgir

Artist: Dimmu Borgir
Title: “Stormblast” (re-recording)
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 2/7/2006
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 8/10

Across their catalog of recorded music, one album that has always received acclaim is “Stormblast”. It is considered to be one of the best Dimmu Borgir albums released and the album that began the journey into Symphonic Black Metal. The release originally came out in 1996 but suffered a limited production value which, as a listener, takes too much away from what is happening. As a result of this, lead singer Shagrath, along with guitarist Silenoz sat down and decided to recreate the entire album and not simply remaster it to get a better sounding original piece. Instead, the whole album was modified a little to make it closer to where the band was now and re-recorded. Such actions always come with two opinions, for one side will say “how dare they do this to such a masterpiece?” and there are others who might be more accepting and take this as a new piece of music. Twisted Sister tried this with “Still Hungry”, a re-do of the classic “Stay Hungry”, and this was not well-received by most. Looking at the larger whole, this is a brilliant production. By the addition of talent from current member Mustis (keyboards) and drumming by Hellhammer, the music of “Stormblast” now sits better along with “Death Cult Armageddon”. The album is still sung in Norwegian, but even I found myself able to keep up with the pace of the record. It’s cleaner, more interesting, and definitely a tad more technical than its predecessor. As a band, Dimmu Borgir has shown the levels that Black Metal can be taken to by adding the Symphonic element to the style. As a fan who did not have the original CD, I was interested in this release, especially when it was released that Hypocrisy’s Peter Tagtgren would be handling a lot of the production work. Tagtgren has proven his skill level with Dimmu before and surely knows how to deliver in the studio in this capacity. While many traditionalists might feel this takes away from the purity of Black Metal’s appeal for them, I feel that it instead guarantees their existence and dominance in the genre for many years to come. Bands like Opeth and Hypocrisy, while labeled Death Metal, at one point have progressed in such a manner that people who never took this music seriously are now enjoying it and buying records. In the end, that is what this is all about. Fans might have preferred a new studio album with new songs but that is still being worked on. The project that Shagrath and Silenoz took on allowed fellow member Galder to release his latest effort with Old Man’s Child (“Vermin” released on Century Media Records).
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“Death Cult Armageddon” by Dimmu Borgir

Artist: Dimmu Borgir
Title: “Death Cult Armageddon”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 9/9/2003
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Rating: 8/10

It was at the suggestion of some Friends who tread the path of much darker and heavier metal than I normally listen to that I decided to find some music by Dimmu Borgir. Dimmu, who hail from the Nordic Lands are currently considered the Kings Of Black Metal and for good reason. I will admit to you all that the Black Metal genre has escaped my notice until I played this CD. I instantly became a fan of this group, and hoped I would get to see them perform in a live situation soon. It was late December last year that I was able to sate this urge at a L’Amour appearance and they were brutal when experienced in person. The band is fronted by Shagrath (vocals), and rounded out by Silenoz (guitars), Galder (also known for his work with Old Man’s Child on lead guitar), Mustis (keyboards), Vortex (bass guitar and clean vocals) & Nick Barker (drums).
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