Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Dimmu Borgir "Stormblåst MMV" (2005)

Nineteen years after the original record, Dimmu Borgir stepped into the studio to re-record the memorable "Stormblåst", stating it had always been their intention to produce the album with a similar, modernized aesthetic to "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant". The original is its own gem within the bands discography from the low fidelity era where their symphonic side really came to fruition. I remember not being optimistic at the time this was announced and upon its release Ive never cared for it much. Its enjoyable at least, I know these songs inside out but practically everything about the production value dispels the magic I remember so fondly.

Gone is the opening melody composed on strings and pianos, straight into the majestic cosmos we are hurtled and after the opening riff the shift to epic choral choir synths is rather persuasive but probably the records best moment as the following riff feels hollow with the synths dropping out and this is where its problems are first heard. Shagrath's scream despite being meatier and strong doesn't have the same charm. Much the same could be said of all his growling, guttural vocals. They have more oomph but that doesn't magnify anything about the Norwegian words being sung. The clean Norse chants however sound solid in comparison.

The production here is simply to much for the music, its charm was in its strangely soft and thin production which had a lot of magic extruding from instruments that sounded individually narrow and weak. On MMV the opposite is so, the drums are loud, powerful and the base pedals rattle away constantly under many riffs where they never reached such speeds previously. Theres more blast beats, the tom rolls and fills are much more dense and they become quite an intense part of the music. Between them and the loud polished synths the guitars get buried and smothered. The base guitar rumbles low and gone are its higher notes which stepped into the fore front. With all these changes much of the chemistry is dismantled by lacking subtleties, the synths implore rich dense tones in the mix, so loud they take a large focus of attention where once they complimented the other instruments.

The simplistic nature of the music is stretched by this high octane mix. There is so much oomph and energy in the instruments sound that any changes in tone, the coming and going of synth keys, sounds out of balance and disproportionate. This is literally what it is, music written for a vastly different aesthetic. The drumming is especially disappointing, Hellhammer is a legend and I mean no disrespect but his style is to fast and ferocious for this record. Everything is done with double pedals and feels twice as fast, its simply nauseating.

The origin of original track "Sorgens Kammer" means it was dropped for a newly written track "Dell II". This is possibly why the introduction melody for the record was dropped too. With that new track Shagrath and Silenoz also re-recorded a left over "Aumaktslave" which has one riff sounding nothing like what they were writing in that era. Maybe they filled in the gaps on an old demo. These two tracks are the only reason to listen to this record, everything else is vastly inferior to the original.

Favorite Tracks: Sorgens Kammer - Dell II, Aumaktslave
Rating: 4/10