Looking back at Dimmu Borgir's 1997 album, entitled "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant," it's interesting to see the differences of this album compared to their newer ones. In certain aspects, they've continued to incorporate specific elements throughout their career. For instance, they always manage to capture that symphonic orchestrated image in almost every album. Also, lots of fast double bass drumming continue to carry on the rhythm of their music. However you will notice a couple of changes as well. For example, lead vocalist, Shagrath, put out some harsh growling in "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant" but he's slowly been able to produce more wicked black metal vocals in their latest album, "Abrahadabra." The change has definitely impacted the bands sound in a positive way however there is still so much to love from the 1997 album.
A dark melody of string start off the album in "Mourning Palace." This is followed by pulverizing guitar riffs as Shagrath lets out a roaring growl. The drums explode into detail with constant snares and rapid kicks. You'll be bobbing your head immediately. The vocals offer some monstrous growling full of rage and evilness. The guitar work is really catchy throughout the entire song and even have a couple piano parts that run up and down the scales. "Spellbound (By The Devil)" is the following track that automatically starts with rumbling drums. Cymbals are splashing everywhere while the toms and snares come rolling through destroying everything in sight. Demonic guitar riffs carry through the verses and provide the dark background the Shargrath needs to set an eerie image. The instruments are interesting as you will find a lot of different synthesizer mixed with the distorted guitars to add a dark yet beautiful sound. There is even an organ in certain parts that completely consume you. About two and a half minutes in there is a bridge that has nothing but melodic synths in it. Then heavy toms come flying in echoing from ear to ear. The overall structure is just phenomenal.
"The Night Masquerade" has got some depressive strings that give such feeling to the album. There's so much double bass in this one that there's just no time to even breathe. Dominating snares hit you in the face constantly. The verse is full of echoing screams and growls that are layered with roughly distorted guitars and gorgeous orchestral strings.It's definitely another head banging track. Bente Engen is a female vocalists who was given a guest spot in this song. She jumps in on the last 30 seconds of the song with evil clean vocals provide some great imagery. At the very end, a horrific voice enters as the song fades out that will literally make you shit yourself the first time you hear it. Lyrics like "Blood is life and it shall be all ours!" will throw an immediate chill down your spine.
Another great song is "Master of Disharmony." Devilish riffs fill the air while you are beaten down by the ridiculously fast double bass pedaling. The speed of the drumming is absolutely mind blowing. Even "Prudence's Fall" starts out like this. Nothing but rapid drum rolls right off the bat completely knocking you off your feet. The strings in the verses surround Shagrath's deep growling while the guitar provide a solid punch of energy behind them. Its awesome to see the album to go from this to "A Succubus In Rapture" which opens with beautiful orchestrated instruments and a slow tempo. Even the vocals go from reckless growls to eerie spoken word in between. This keeps the songs unique and refreshing. They also include an awesome guitar solo at the end giving off beauty and excitement all at the same time.
Overall, "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant" is one beast of an album and is definitely one of my favorite's from Dimmu Borgir. Comparing this to their newest album, I'm glad to see that they haven't had the need to change to much in order to continue making fresh and original music. Being able to mix the dark sounds of demonic guitars and growls with soaring strings and epic piano riffs and organs is incredible. This is symphonic black metal at its best.
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