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Dimmu Borgir - Eonian (2018) - Review

Band: Dimmu Borgir
Album title: Eonian
Release date: 4 May 2018
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

01. The Unveiling
02. Interdimensional Summit
03. Atheric
04. Council Of Wolves And Snakes
05. The Empyrean Phoenix
06. Lightbringer
07. I Am Sovereign
08. Archaic Correspondence
09. Alpha Aeon Omega
10. Rite Of Passage

"Drama and controversy" is what should have been the main title of Dimmu Borgir's album - if it was released a few years prior to this year's major surprise in the realms of black metal – which is a masterpiece called Eonian. It is no secret, Dimmu Borgir is one of those bands you either love or hate, but whether you love them or not, it is undeniable that in their quarter of century lasting career they have released a few ground-breaking albums, which will set them in stone for all eternities. Now, eight years, eight long years after Abrahadabra has seen the light of a day and – in my opinion – seventeen (17!) years after the band has released their last truly, remarkably good album, here it is –a progeny of apocalypse; a progeny of black and symphonic metal. And it is astonishing.

As I don’t want to waste your time, let me just be clear, that before you peer anywhere deeper into my words – if you are one of those black metal enthusiasts, who believes additions such as choirs and orchestrations alongside melodic soundscapes are costing the genre its edge, then read no further, because Dimmu Borgir have never been as melodic and symphonic as they are on Eonian. So, what is so majestic about it, you may ask? They have had all those elements present in their music since legendary Enthrone Darkness Triumphant was released in 1997, so nothing new here. But it is new. While Death Cult Armageddon was full of fillers, In Sorte Diaboli lacked spirit and Abrahadabra was setting them somewhere near point up a white flag and calling it quits, because it was absolutely boring and soulless, Eonian is a tremendous, almost monstrous step forward in the evolution of the band’s sound. While nothing new emerges the surface, their sound hasn’t been as elegant, sophisticated, well-equilibrated, pompous and tenebrous at the same time in ages. The use of luscious orchestrations is so perfectly balanced with the underlying melodies, which are marvellously melodic, yet stygian and profound, as black metal should be, it almost surreal. There are some interesting guitar passages found spread over the tracks and momentarily Dimmu Borgir sound like they are flowing in the vein of black’n’roll set by Satyricon, especially in the beginning of “Aetheric”, but the main attraction of their newly born sound lies in the grandeur orchestrations. I cannot go by without pointing out “I Am Sovereign”, a track which simply stands out, as it carries such grandeur and vigorous atmosphere; as the title suggests the song is defined by its strong, epic and glorious atmosphere and I daresay the band hasn’t created a song with such power and strength for fairly over a decade. For fans of the classical Dimmu sound, “Lightbringer” might be the top pick of the album, while the ending “Rite Of Passage” announced farewell with its melancholic, emotional and haunting atmosphere.

Dimmu Borgir will always have a place in my heart as well as their albums in my discography, because it was “Mourning Palace” after all a song that got me intrigued about black metal. And if it wasn’t the first who knows, would I even feel the need to explore this wonderful and broad genre? So you can imagine I am always a bit overwhelmed when Dimmu Borgir release comes by. But as I was mainly disappointed by their efforts in the last ten and more years, Eonian came as such an amazing surprise, that show picks the band has truly matured, found a new way to present and upraise their trademark sound and presented their new work with a lot of self-confidence. Head up high and deservedly so.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 9/10


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