Dimmu Borgir – “Eonian” (Nuclear Blast)
Wow, I can’t believe its close to a quarter of a century since I first saw these guys back in the mid 90s at the Dynamo Open Air festival! Still with founders Shagrath (vocals) and Silenoz (guitar) and even remarkably still on the same label as they started, Dimmu Borgir have been somewhat low key in the run up to this 10th album, but if the title (meaning ‘everlasting’) is anything to go by, then these guys have made a truly bold statement that will resonate with their long time fans. Long renowned for their brand of symphonic black metal, little has changed in that regard, with the 10 tracks on “Eonian” reflecting every aspect of that definition from rich, atmospheric keyboards to bombastic choirs and grand orchestrals, all the while propelled by the core of Shagrath’s harsh vocals and Silenoz’s decadent riffs. Some 8 years in its making, the composing has been stretched over that period but true to their pedigree, there is consistency in the songs thanks to all the material being brought up to date prior to recording, making “Eonian” one powerful opus in its entirety! From deep Scandi melodies atmospherically bolstering the highly catchy ‘ÆTheric’ along with majestic choirs, flowing strings and double bass beats to ‘Lightbringer’ with its twisting riffs and tribal drumming vividly contrasted by the delicate but catchy keys, whatever the setting or mood, this material is going to go down a storm live thanks to the masterful performances here by Dimmu Borgir! With the suave keys continuing on the somewhat faster paced ‘Archaic Correspondence’ adding ominous tones throughout its furore where Shagrath’s evil vocals are backed some equally menacing femme sopranos, on ‘Alpha Aeon Omega’ the contrast couldn’t be greater with the tempo changing to a dark, gothic tone with epic choirs providing the surrounding background to some intense drumming, while clanging guitar melodies resonate amid Shagrath’s passionate drawls and rasps. A truly powerful record in every sense along with its unmistakable pedigree refinements, “Eonian” is proof there is life in everlasting darkness!