Thursday, 24 March 2016

Dimmu Borgir "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia" (2001)

With a recent revitalization and hunger for the music of my favorite band we come to the third in a string of records, Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, Spiritual Black Dimensions, at the bands creative peak. Playing on the three word album titles, PEM is another unique experience that takes Black Metal to a blistering, hate fueled peak of orchestral symphony and octane instrumentation firing on all cylinders. Its an anti-humanity hate vehicle on a mission to dissect and dismantle the human condition, exposing the worst of our traits that still manifest into the power structures of our 21st century modern society. As always with loud, aggressive, heavy music it is that exposure of evil that brings the strengths of inspiration to create intense and wonderful music.

Stylistically PEM defines itself in the absence of low fidelity, traditional values, focuses on highly energetic and pristine instruments. The keyboards push into new territories with ever a truer sounding symphony comprising of a fuller range of orchestral instruments composed by Mustiis. Of course the band would later go on to record with a live orchestra. With a personal change the band acquire long time fan Galder from Old Mans Child, his band who have followed a similar journey in sound to that of Borgir. With his arrival comes fiercely sharp guitars and heavy chugging riffs syncopated to the machine gun firing pedals of drummer Nick Barker's, formally of Cradle Of Filth. The album is once again blessed by the voice of bassist ICS Vortex who gives and infectious dose of clean, manly vocals into one of the latter tracks.

The records chemistry is ferocious, continually pummeling the listener with an onslaught of rip roaring instrumentation. Behind its aesthetic charm, calculated, yet adventurous music takes the listener through inspired melodic leads, head banging riffage and evil symphonies that do more than compliment the guitars but become fully involved in a songs direction, queuing the shifts in tone and occasionally taking the lead. "Architecture Of A Genocidal Nature" plunges into an mysterious astral soundscape with deep warping synths that break into bells playing eerie melodies with the sound of glimmering stars. The slow, brooding breakdown at the end of "Absolute Sole Right" also forging atmospheres of the cosmic nebular. Its counterpart, a more expected orchestral sound, can be heard throughout but is so brilliantly executed on the records opener "Fear And Wonder" which so immaculately glides through a gorgeous, glorious ride between the opposing forces of good and evil. A true symphony to paint a picture.

It ends where "Blessings Upon The Throne Of Tyranny" opens up, throwing us into the pits of hell with a blazing blast beat and menacing guitars riffs to set the bar high for this record that doesn't disappoint. From song to song so many identities are formed for songs that take this genius sound to the many corners of hell. Beyond its musical veneer, Shagrath solidifies the albums theme with his remarkable use of the English language. As a Norwegian his construction of words can seem blunt, or unrefined for a non-native speaker. At the same time his extensive vocabulary and imagination for the language may just be a stroke of genius. There are many deep and extensive lyrics regarding many aspects of human behavior, especially in group dynamics and power systems. Of course the church finds itself under constant criticism. "Inconceivable moral priest, hides in preferable dress, invite to another pleasured feast, the concealment of joyful laughter". The record is smothered with cryptic musings to ponder and may take a while to get your head around, or perhaps find your own meaning within. "Peace means a reloading your guns" comes to mind as one of the lyrics less poetic, yet most striking and meaningful lines on the record.

The record might find a weak spot where the flow disrupts for a dropped tuning, short and more "accessible" track "Puritania". Its a great track but definitely operates with a different energy. The production is at its finest, all instruments sound crisp and clear, with lots of volume and punch, finding a stunning balance where they don't crowd each other. It has less of an immersive or atmospheric quality compared to the previous direction however Dimmu really home in on something sharp and tangible here that suits the listener who needs to get fired up, or let of some steam. Along with the other two these are my three favorite records by the band and I'm keen to talk about more in the future.

Rating: 10/10