Enthrone Darkness Triumphant (Reloaded)
posted on 9/2008 By:
As part of Nuclear Blast's excellent ‘Reloaded’ CD editions, we get arguably one of the finest symphonic black metal albums ever, and possibly the band’s zenith.
Amid all the symphonic black metal released of late (i.e. Sothis, Abigail Williams, Algalzahanth), along comes Dimmu Borgir and Nuclear Blast to remind everyone how the genre should be done. Originally released in 1997, slap bang in the middle of symphonic black metal’s apex (1996 saw Cradle of Filth release Dusk and her Embrace and Arcturus’ Aspera Hiems Symfonia, 1997 saw the release of Emperor’s Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, Borknagar’s The Olden Domain and Arcturus’ La Masquerade Infernale while 1998 saw Cradle of Filth unleash Cruelty and the Beast. Dimmu Borgir while certainly an underground stalwart with For all Tid (1994) and Stormblast (1996), were not yet on the level of their aforementioned peers. Enthrone Darkness Triumphant changed that.
I’m not going to rehash an album that’s been reviewed and dissected to death in the last 11 years, if you love it, you already own it. If you don’t own it already, you will probably never really get it. However, I actually can still remember the day I purchased Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. When the opening throes of “Mourning Palace” and the subsequent keyboard tinkling that arose in the “chorus”, I was blown away and to me, it remains one of the band’s most stellar moments and still one of my favorite symphonic black metal tracks ever. And that was just the opening track. Followed by the likes of “Spellbound (By The Devil”), “In Death’s Embrace”, (with a just classic segue at 2:11 that gives me goosebumps), the controlled majesty of “The Night Masquerade” and regal “Entrance”, blistering “Master of Disharmony” and perfectly paced closer “A Succubus In Rapture,” almost every track here is a classic.
What made this album, and still makes it today was Stian Aarstad’s swelling keyboard work and one could certainly make the argument that Dimmu Borgir’s slide into creative doldrums was in part to Aarstad’s departure after this album. His orchestral, sweeping synths were neither too hokey nor too gothic, but added the right amount of romantic, classical darkness to Silenoz and Shagrath’s biting and perfectly varied guitar work. Admittedly, current bassist ICS Vortex has added a brilliant dimension to the vocals since this album, as there are no clean vocals here, just Nagash’s black roar, but in truth, musically, the lineup on this album simply reached their peak of sweeping, orchestral and truly memorable black metal.
For the reloaded edition, there’s really not that much to get exited about if you own the original or any of the subsequent reissues since it came out. There’s a ‘bonus’ track, (which isn’t really a bonus track), there’s a live video for “Entrance”, some screensavers, a photo gallery and a couple of winamp skins, and as far as I can tell, it hasn’t been re-mastered or anything, which isn’t a problem as it still sounds as great as it did 11 years ago. Pretty unspectacular extras if you ask me, and personally not worth grabbing unless you simply missed this album or require a new copy to replace a worn out one.
Every metal band has “that” album; their pinnacle and peak that the band never matched and is often an album that defined the band if not a genre. For Dimmu Borgir, Enthrone Darkness Triumphant was that album. And while, Spiritual Black Dimensions and Puritanical Misanthropic Euphoria were solid albums, they started to show a creative lull and repetition that lacked the sheer malevolent majesty and epic, sinister sound that Enthrone Darkness Triumphant oozes.
A classic album worth more than this rather weak “reload".
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