Released: 2003, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Some cold facts as for starters... First off, Dimmu Borgir is probably one of the biggest Norwegian metal export items out of Norway nowadays. The selling for their last three albums have been huge; their albums are still selling like hot pan cakes and that obviously is a damn positive thing for the band itself indeed. Money rarely hurts anyone... or does it? And it surely isn´t whoring, dammit!!
Secondly, after their real break-through album titled ENTRONE DARKNESS TRIUMPHANT turned eventually to be one of the best selling extreme metal albums in 1997, it seemed like many of these so-called ´troo´ fans of the band´s first two releases abandoned them just because they were signed to a big, successful and financially stable metal label almost recently and therefore couldn´t be considered as a grim and evil underground Black Metal act any longer. After this wise move they had done, Dimmu Borgir started making a huge impact basically on every corners of the world; their faces were everywhere in sight; they were interviewed and reviewed in every single metal magazine on earth and people were generally talking about constantly. Then, due to all these stone-hard and cold reasons, Dimmu Borgir kind of became every bro´s and sis´ own ´love-or-loathe´ -act; either you liked them because of what they had become and achieved due to their infernally symphonic ´Black´ Metal hymns – or you just couldn´t stand them any more ´coz their releases were everywhere available for sale and that wasn´t supposed to be a part of the band´s masterplan in the first place, cynically thinking, of course!! Somehow, they had lost all their credibility to be an underground cult act out of the darkest forest, valleys and highest and coldest mountains of Norway. Many surely thought that the Dimmus had sold their souls for the chords of commercialism and mass acceptance - and that´s why they simply just couldn´t be worth of any respect and admiration any longer. Sounds almost too familiar, doesn´t it?!
It´s already the later half of 2003 and Dimmu Borgir´s new album (or a promotional cassette to be more precise!) titled DEATH CULT ARMADEGGON is playing in my stereo system 5th time in a row. Yes, 5th time in a row and guess who´s loving and sucking every second of what is coming out from the loudspeakers at high volumes... Damn, I must be very ´untroo´ by spitting this much plain venom out of my mouth by claiming shamelessly that Dimmu Borgir have recorded so far their best album to date without exaggerating a bit. Not anything more at least than what your favorite doctor orders anyway!! Even if both PURITANICAL EUPHORIC MISANTHROPIA and SPIRITUAL BLACK DIMENSIONS were sheer masterpieces of their own kind, I have to say this new effort from them, pleases me even more. And it certainly pleases me just even more because all the 11 songs they have written for this particular album, were obviously written very carefully and with a good amount of time in their hands, seem to have more sondtrack´ish, even more symphonic and more orchestrated parts; even a more horror-like and more apocalyptic feel than ever before. The songs have altogether more diverse nuances and more variable sections due to things I just said earlier that make the whole album to stand out slightly better and more strongly than the band´s previous works of art and power. For instance the album´s 2nd song, “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” is most probably the best example of Dimmu Borgir´s strong tendency to reach and suck more of those horror and apocalyptic things into DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON soundtrack-wise with its truly yet chillingly dark and nightmarish atmospheres that are surely meant to send some cold shivers down your spine once the song has hit to you. That´s what honestly happened to me when my stereo swallowed the tape for the very first time and that particular song was spitted out from the speakers against my ears after a little while. Also some good nominees for the ultimate senders of ´chilling shivers´ could well be such songs on DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON as “Allegiance” or “Vredesbyrd” or “Allehelgens Dod i Helveds Rike” or just about any other song off the album as well. I guess it´s all depends on what mood you are in at certain times actually. The key factors for the songs on DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON, are the very orchestrated, epic and astonishingly massive soundscapes that make this album such a strong and powerful listening pleasure all in all in my opinion.
DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON is also a bit slower album song-wise as wholeness than its predecessors. “Blood Hunger Doctrine” (I suppose... hard to follow the songs that accurately ´coz I only have a cassette promo for the album!) is the album´s slowest and most beautifully composed track and as strange as it even may sound to some of your ears, it also happens to be one of those songs that I kind of never thought Dimmu Borgir could have written for any of their albums as it sounds almost like a ´ballad´ song in the hands of these blackish extreme metallurgists. “Blood Hunger Doctrine” is an immensely beautiful song ripped through a pitch-black darkness and an endless doom if such cliché words can be thrown into the black hole in the air...
Overall the sound on DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON is very monumental, crystal-clear, rather sophisticated, somewhat polished, heavy and top-notch... What else did you honestly think to expect from this gigantic release anyway? How ´untroo´ again, isn´t it?! But to hell (and back) with all this ´untroonism´; DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON could possibly be, already in my books for sure, one of the finest and most matured ´emertxe (now that´s utterly ´troo´, ain´t it, ha!)´ Metal albums that has been created in the history of an infernally extreme Heavy Metal and I bet it will surely leave something for younger generations to remember for a long time.
A beautifully apocalyptic-infested, extreme Metal music for the masses...? Most probably! An impotent collection of worthless ´untroo´ sounds from the ´$$$-makers´ for minority...? Probably yeah...! A pompous creation of a true talent, never-ending ambition and bottomless passion... Absolutely!!! DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON is meant to cauterize deep scars in people´s mind in a positive sense; it´s been made for those people who are entitled to crave for an absolutely quality as far as Extreme Metal is concerned. And let´s face it. Ultimately, DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON is one of those extreme Metal album where lots of talent and a great amount of innovative ideas cross nearly a very perfect way and that shall that be noticed by the masses eventually, too. No fuckin´ doubts.
DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON is here indeed... shall that reign at all your homes forever and ever.