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Album Reviews : Dimmu Borgir – Forces of the Northern Night

By on April 6, 2017

Live albums have pretty much always been hit and miss affairs. Much of it has to do with the production and sound of live albums, some are too slick, some are too raw, it must be difficult to get the balance right.

Recorded at performances at Wacken and in Oslo during 2011 and 2012, the new live record from Norwegian symphonic black metal monsters Dimmu Borgir walks that fine line with great skill. And this is even more worthy of high praise since the mix must find space for a 50 piece orchestra and 30 voice choir, on top of the blazing guitars, pounding drums and screeching vocals. In total there were almost 100 musicians onstage during these shows, a serious handful. It’s well produced enough to be eminently listenable, but not so slick that it sounds like a studio album with an applause track dubbed in at the end of each track. And this is precisely what you want in a live album.

The tracklist is excellent too, with 17 tunes culled from their immense back catalogue, although focusing more closely on the more bombastic symphonic tracks. And why not, considering they have the full-blown orchestra and choir at their disposal for this recording. That juxtaposition of black metal mastery and orchestral and choral majesty works an absolute treat here, especially on Progenies of the Great Apocalypse, Vredesbyrd and The Serpentine Offering.

My only small beef is that I would love to hear a full-blown, heavy version of Eradication Instincts Defined. The original studio rendering of that track is one of the most monstrous things ever put to tape.

The band is in typically shredding, evil form, and the orchestra lends proceedings that epic, grandiose vibe that they have become world famous for over the last 20-odd years of their existence. The crowd certainly appear to be enjoying themselves too.

It’s been a long time between drinks, as far as Dimmu Borgir studio albums are concerned, and hopefully Forces of the Northern Night precipitates something brand new from these legends.

Band: Dimmu Borgir
Album: Forces of the Northern Night
Year: 2017
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Origin: Norway


Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine,, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.