DIMMU BORGIR – Death Cult Armageddon

Emerging from Studio Fredman and with the help of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, DIMMU BORGIR charge horns-up back into the metal scene with Death Cult Armageddon. Following 2001’s Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, Death Cult Armageddon is as inventive as it is brutal. “Allegiance” begins the disc on a lightning-fast flurry of black metal discharge, recalling earlir DIMMU material such as 1996’s Stormblast. But, don’t expect anything traditional from that point on. “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” combines the grace and mastery of the Prague Philharmonic with DIMMU‘s brand of heaviness, creating what has become the album’s single – a beast of a classical/metal hybrid. Also, bassist Vortex uses his operatic pipes to weave a chorus that is nothing short of brilliant. “Blood Hunger Doctrine” does the same, showcasing DIMMU‘s growth as songwriters by their more subtle use of guitars and more prevalent use of the orchestra and melodic keyboard passages. All of this is a far cry from the all-out Satanic fury of fan favorite For All Tid, as vocalist Shagrath and guitarist Galder have clearly taken steps forward in the realm of metal creativity. However, don’t write off DIMMU as selling out simply because of their implementation of an orchestra. The album’s cover artwork is none too subtle in suggesting the band is still flashing their affinity for things of a darker nature, be it for image or not; along with the even-less-subtle CRADLE OF FILTH-like closer “Satan My Master.” Unfortunately, this song seems to be nothing more than an image-oriented afterthought, and Death Cult Armageddon could have stood just as well without it, as its weak and contrived structure is a bit too generic for this reviewer’s tastes. Conversely, the two-minute symphony arrangement at the beginning of “Eradication Instincts Defined” is an exercise in beauty, as conductor Adam Klemens‘ baton leads a jaw-dropping complement to an already impressive track. All of this is sure to get any metalhead’s juices flowing, as Death Cult Armageddon stands out as one of last year’s best, towering above a sea of competitors who will probably never reach DIMMU‘s level of brilliance. (Nuclear Blast)

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