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Album Reviews : Dimmu Borgir – Eonian

By on April 25, 2018

My favourite extreme/black metal release of all time, of any description, is Dimmu Borgir’s Death Cult Armageddon. The sheer monumental majesty of that record cannot be touched, in this humble writer’s opinion. So it’s difficult to be unaffected by the vast shadow it has cast since its release in 2003, cast over the entire genre generally, and of course over the subsequent releases of the band that spawned its magnificent and unholy symphony.

Three albums down, since that watershed moment in extreme metal’s history, and things are not holding up overly well. Quite possibly it’s the aging process, these guys are all well on the wrong side of 40 now, but Dimmu appear to have lost their edge, lost that extreme metal fire in the belly, and they are now churning out lazy-sounding (by their illustrious standards) albums that aren’t even particularly extreme anymore.

Viewed in isolation, which ultimately is the way things should be viewed and reviewed, Eonian is a solid symphonic metal release: the orchestral and choral flourishes are typically ear-pleasing, and provide a sound melodic and ambient counterpoint to the moderate chaos that accompanies them. Then, of course, there is the hell-born voice of Shagrath, which is shred-worthy as usual. But on this occasion, it’s impossible to ignore and compare to what you know this band is capable of.

The songs generally tend to plod along in mid-paced fashion, rather than veritably explode violently into your consciousness as they did during their peak years of the late 90s and early 2000s. There really are very few exultant moments across the course of this album’s almost hour-long span, moments that this band used to create as easily and naturally as breathing.

A fairly difficult to find highlight would probably be I Am Sovereign, which manages to conjure up a facsimile of their former epic glory. Its use of the choir is quite compelling. Archaic Correspondence attempts valiantly to light a fire, but at track eight it’s a little too late.

It’s been a long time in between forays for this band, and in all that time they have come up with something fairly uninspired and lacking a special something. Dimmu Borgir seems content to go fairly quietly into the night as they enter the twilight years of their career. After 10 albums and almost a quarter of a century together, they’ve earned it I suppose.

Band: Dimmu Borgir
Album: Eonian
Year: 2018
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Origin: Norway

About

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, themusic.com.au, 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.