Year 1993 A.D.: based on a volcanic surfance which is considered to be the gate to Hell and goes under the name “dimmuborgir”, or “dark castles” otherwise in the tongue of Iceland, Stian Thoresen and Sven Kooperud create an overthrower band for the black metal scene of that era. Its’ name, Dimmu Borgir. Their music was not evolved in the archetype of the then-known black metal cut, but included elements from other, more complicated genres and bands that hadn’t known a bright (by then) career in the metallic scene. Some of those, were Stormlord from Italy, Cradle of Filth from England and their fellow Norwegian Carpathian Forest. Dimmu Borgir managed to gather in general, a wide audience of fans in the black metal space, since the early days of their career.
Despite the fact that their first record, which was scheduled to be released in 1994 under the title “Tusen Vinters” and was already recorded, has never been released. Thus, their first release is considered to be the EP “Inn i evighetens mørke”, which was initially considered to be “terrible and nothing special” for fans of the genre. This taboo was broken by the band’s official debut album “For All Tid”. No Colours records delivered an outcome which halted for the black metal audiences of Norway. Not because of the performances, but of the final mix. All effects and keys used, somehow made it sound weird. Having been used to stiff, raw, bloodstained releases, “For All Tid” brought a strange atmosphere that made Dimmu an object of controversy. Let’s not forget that was the year “Storm of The Light’s Bane” by Dissection was released, as well as “Wolfheart” by Moonspell and “Panzerfaust” by Darkthrone. The bar could not get higher, as it was.
Ηowever, they took on the high road and managed to shut everyone’s mouth, who was eager to come to conclusions. Cacophonous Records, along with Dimmu Borgir, presented “Stormblåst”. It’s the first album where Shagrath takes on the reins, and the last one where the band sings in Norwegian. More keyboards, more intense atmosphere, majesty at it’s finest. To most, the band’s peak. The album that defines their good era. The keys are now the protagonist, since they are not used as a support for each composiion. It doesn’t differ tremedously much from the first one, it’s just a level up, and the band’s fans fairly raise their standards for what to expect. Always, something more.
One of the best records of the decade in general, comes in 1997. “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant”. Even today, it’s still on a harsh fight compared with “Moon in the Scorpio” by Limbonic Art and “Dusk…and her Embrace” by Cradle of Filth, or even Ancient’s “Cainian Chronicle”. Majestic, romantic, touching, “grande”. It doesn’t have a single weak moment, and is also the band’s first album released through Nuclear Blast, a step that shows big things for Dimmu Borgir’s future. Once more, keyboards are on spot. Arpeggios, melodies, solos, everything. With this album, the Norwegians break the established and stereotypical “black metal archetype” of the era, which was, for many people sounded like a single riff. Synonym of magic, without any doubt.
After the release of the “Godless Savage Garden” EP, “Spiritual Black Dimensions” comes in March 1999. Or else,the legion that they built in the mid-90s, starts to disappear, as it’s writing her swanson. But let’s be a little realistic. Dimmu Borgir iare where they are up to today for some reason. Boring? Maybe. Repeatable? It can be. In no case whatsoever, bad. Dark, massive and fast with the addition of Vortex’s pure vocals and with its cover being included for the Blender Magazine, among the 10 best heavy metal covers of all time. It should also be noted that the original plan was the clean vocals to be performed by Carl McCoy of Fields of The Nephilim on the record.
The “modern” era of Dimmu Borgir has already begun and on March 20, 2001, “Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia” is released, while the band is almost a dream team – Shagrath, Silenoz, Nicholas Barker on drums, Vortex on bass and Galder on guitar . The orchestras, this time come from a regular recording of the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra and not from keys. The album was successful, leveling Dimmu Borgir up to the European charts after five years. Barker takes the album to the top with his drum parts, while the whole set proves that a black metal band can experience mainstream success without getting stuck in the stereotypical sound of the scene.
The series of success continues in 2003 with “Death Cult Armageddon”. The perfect anomalie, conspiracy for the Day of Revelation. The disc that sets their new era’s beginnings. The ultimate cluster of black symphonies in the name of Satan, eschatology, misanthropy blended with various experiments they sometimes try. Pretty much an all-hit compilation. “Allegiance”, “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse”, “Blood Hunger Doctrine”, “Unorthodox Manifesto”, among others. It may have been somehow rejected by the black metal scnee, but is one of the most epic symphonic metal albums of the 21st century. Also, the video for “Progenies Of The Great Apockalypse”, among the most loved ones, for obvious reasons. Under the auspices of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
With Hellhammer’s addition (Mayhem, Arcturus) to Dimmu Borgir, there is a storyevolving behind their new work, In Sorte Diaboli (2007). A priest, having begun to question his faith, favors the Antichrist. But the story does not end with the record, giving evidence that it will continue at some point. Blabbermouth, Metal Hammer and Kerrang!, honored the album, giving it the title of the best record of the year. For others, due to concept and production was quite bitter. For LA Weekly, its cover was the 9th among the 25 most frightening heavy metal covers of all time. The music follows her own recipe. A winning team does not change. With “In Sorte Diaboli”, Borgir reached No. 1 in the Norwegian charts, managing the impossible; a black metal band, made a national success. In the United States, it quickly descended from the charts, though.
Following the commercial success of “In Sorte Diaboli”, Dimmu Borgir announces “Abrahadabra”. As it was sensible, most were eagerly awaiting for it. However, it seems that the band has begun to repeat themselves and stay attached to very basic ideas, something no one has been accustomed to, regarding them. Although they also collaborated with the Schola Cantorum Choir and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the result did not glow. They were already commercially successful, but on that disc the compositions reached the level of the basic playlist of a rock radio station. As the band went on a tour in the middle of the writing, they were heavily influenced by that, Silenoz said. Shortly afterwards, Vortex leaves.
Seven years of silence followed. Although the two live performances included in “Forces of the Northern Night” had already been filmed since the beginning of the decade (one with the Oslo orchestra in 2011 and Wacken 2012), many personal affairs postponed the release of their next album, as well as the DVD itself. With the live DVD, however, they reminded the world who they are. In the meantime, family issues were involved as well as parallel projects, and they had to renew their contract with Nuclear Blast, as it was natural after so many years. So in 2018, now, eight years after the release of “Abrahadabra,” comes “Eonian”.This album was a challenge both personally and musically They had to re-establish themselves, while their music needed some additions and extractions. Thus “Eonian” is a little bit above all. More black, more symphonic, more metal. They have never surpassed themselves, not even the triptych “Stormblast – Enthrone Darkness Triumphant – Death Cult Armageddon”, but it was a very dynamic comeback in the world’s disc cases and thus, the wold’s scenes.