Dimmu Borgir – In Sorte Diaboli (2007) Album Review

It’s time to get serious and dig more into the underground side of metal. I am here to review the 2007 album release of the Norwegian symphonic black metal band, Dimmu Borgir (translated means, Dark Castles) entitled, In Sorte Diaboli (A Connection with the Devil). I find myself a fan of Dimmu Borgir for many years. Though this is probably one of the most controversial albums up to date, it is also probably the most successful album they ever made, peeking at top charts in Norway.

Dimmu Borgir without further comments is the best and the most successful black metal band in Norway and outside of its country of origin, with the biggest disk sales. They show us throughout their works that singing and performing black metal with symphonic influences is not that easy. In Sorte Diaboli is not much different from their other works. Though the concept of this album mostly tries to underline the satanic and anti-christian trait, it is not an album that resumes at this simplistic thing only.

Dimmu Borgir is a band that never jokes. Visually, they might not seem very different than the other black metal bands from the underground metal. Corpse paint, outfit that is pretty much common for a black metal band, and a reputation that will always prove to be true. I can’t claim that they are satanic or if they truly worship Satan but one thing is for sure, all satanists are rockers but not all rockers are satanists and I think that this concept applies for Dimmu Borgir as well as for the other bands.

In Sorte Diaboli begins in a royal way, as expected from a black metal band, with a very expressive song entitled The Serpentine Offering. Of course, you don’t need to be Einstein to figure it out, what this song means, the title already spoils everything. Artistically speaking, this song is also accompanied by a video where the band tried I think a little too hard to seem what they are already, a black metal band. Commendable as it may be, but this album gives me the impression of overreaction and an excess of work that in the end proved to be in vain, because in my opinion it is not even close compared to their more older works.

This album, sound-wise has many similarities with their 1997 release, Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. Unlike Death Cult Armageddon (2003) which makes use of electronic and technical sounds or Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia (2001), this album has an attempt to return to their older sound but without much success.

Another notable song from this album is The Chosen Legacy, the second track from this album, once again accompanied by a video, sending the image that it intends to and the never changing message through their lyrics. This album in concept is way too repetitive. All songs, throughout their lyrics in a way or another, denigrates Christianity in a way or another so I don’t really see why should I review each one at a time.

The last song that I want to mention in this review, probably the best, and the most intelligent, if I could say so, is The Sacrilegious Scorn. Lyrically, same story like in the other two, visually, a true feast. This song represents a paraphrase of Christianity symbolism and motives. We see roman soldiers gambling for Christ’s garment, a mockery as well. But this time we see it reversed when the presented Antichrist does this thing to St. Michael. From an artistic point of view, I think this video is very good, a notable performance.

Now, good old Dimmu Borgir, another album, a half-failure. The voice did not change, Shagrath’s shrieked voice is probably one of the best there is, judging from the fact that live his performance is even better. Vortex also gets the same attention in this album as well. Nothing much changed with this album.

This album is also notable for Hellhammers presence at drums. His presence is surely noticed because of a sudden improvement in the drum quality in the songs. He also contributed in the remastered 1996 album Stormblast (released in 2005) with a splendid performance in the song Sorgens Kammer.

Probably the only thing that changed is their supposed orientation. Usually black metal bands tend to be non-commercial but I think that with this album, Dimmu Borgir kinda broke this myth but this is my opinion, only they know what did they want to accomplish with it. However compared to other material, this was more intended for a bigger fan-base rather than the typical non-conformist black metal that they’ve played until now.

Nonetheless, Dimmu Borgir was the first black metal band that I came in contact with. It still has a special place in my shelf and it won’t be removed very soon. Those that like them will like this album too, though I say that it is not really better than the other albums they released. For All Tid and Stormblast (1996) are the most notable albums they ever made and I think that they will remain as such for a very long time.

Overall Impression: 68/100