In Sorte Diaboli
posted on 4/2007 By:
I'm always disappointed by new Dimmu Borgir albums. Not because they're particularly poorly written, played or produced albums. Ironically, it's because they never live up to the titillating negative press I read about them before I listen to them. I'm always expecting a bombastic black metal circus with all the unnecessary and over the top trimmings. But, what do I get? I get a solid, but pretty underwhelming blackened/melodic death metal album with some clean vocals and a few keyboard parts. As outrageous as people make these guys out to be, I always find their albums to be pretty tame, middle of the road affairs. In Sorte Diaboli is really no different. Again I was hoping a new Dimmu Borgir release would serve as a decadent and raucous guilty pleasure, and again me and my short memory are served up a workmanlike and unspectacular album that doesn't pack nearly as much audacious punch as I hoped it would.
Opener “The Serpentine Offering” begins with a brief Romantic orchestral march before giving way to triggered double bass and machine-like power chords. Not surprisingly, Dimmu Borgir put their best foot forward, as “The Serpentine Offering” is probably the best and most diverse track on the album. There's a break that features some actual black metal riffing and a welcome clean chorus by the regrettably under utilized ICS Vortex. “The Chosen Legacy,” “The Conspiracy Unfolds,” “The Sinister Awakening,” and “The Fundamental Alienation,” are mid paced, melodic, and unspectacular. Sadly, these tracks betray Dimmu Borgir as a painfully average group big on budget but short on inspiration. Elsewhere, “The Sacrilegious Scorn,” and “The Invaluable Darkness,” break the monotony with some satisfying crooning by Vortex, but still come up short in the riff and melody department. For a band so endlessly panned for being pompous, there's very little pomp or excitement to any of these songs.
In Sorte Diaboli is a well produced album, but the band has written so few heavy parts that their potential to truly crush the listener is never fulfilled. I've heard groups with a lot less money sound a lot heavier purely on the strength of their material.
Dimmu Borgir will undoubtedly move units. Likewise, the elite metal crowd will always consider them a joke. I find this pardigm kind of baffling, as every Dimmu Borgir album I've heard has sounded neither particularly marketable nor slag-worthy. In Sorte Diaboli is no exception. Despite my expectations for something more, for better or worse, this is just an average and pretty typical sounding album.
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