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Review: Dimmu Borgir - Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
Dimmu Borgir
Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2001
Duration: 57:50
Tracks: 11
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: April 10, 2001
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia

Rated 3.18/5 (63.69%) (65 Votes)

Hmmm... Ok. Hmmm... Hmmmm. Yep. Let's start with the impression that this CD leaves me with: It seems like Dimmu Borgir are moving more and more towards a Cradle-of-Filthesque sound. Some will find that a good thing, some others won't. I just ask myself why. Let's introduce some evidence: The singer often sounds like he's trying to sing like Dani. The overall musical atmosphere sounds as happy as Midian. Let's just add that the promo pictures and the members' pictures in the booklet remind me more of the extremely gay looks of CoF than that of band that still calls itself Black Metal. I know, looks don't make the sound, but in this particular case, well... They do. I think Dimmu is definitely now into the vampiric-gothic metal realm dominated by CoF. They should at least have the decency to distance themselves from the Black Metal categorization. Let's just leave it at that.

For this album, Dimmu Borgir have teamed up with an orchestra. That's right. And unlike some SF Bay area posers, I have to say that at least Dimmu did the job right. The result is an interesting sound, very impressive at first. There's one problem though, when you add the other instruments to that, it's just too much. The sound is completely overloaded, there's no room left to breathe. That just makes me eager for the album to end, and rejoice when it's finally over. Too much is as bad as too little. Still, that doesn't mean it's actually bad, I find it kind of hard to express my thoughts about this. The music is still interesting to listen to, and there's no contest that those guys know how to play. They just overdid it a little... (!)

The album starts up on an orchestral intro, kind of solemn-sounding, not bad but it gets boring after a few listens (gotta love the skip button.) The outro is more of the same. The nine actual songs in-between are a mix of the usual metal instruments with the orchestra more or less in the background, sometimes taking over the "foreground duties." Somewhat interesting, if overloaded - very. The vocals vary a little, and as mentioned previously, the singer sometimes try to go on a Dani fit. There are also some clean vocals on a couple of tracks, nothing to shock the anti-clean vocals freaks out there, they're quite fitting in the context. There are also some hmmm... "electronically-enhanced" (?) vocals on Puritania, just downright annoying. I hate it when bands play with useless gadgets for no reason.

Putting aside the fact the they just did too much, this album contains some good stuff, and the musicians are by all means very competent. The drumming is insane, although sometimes a bit too "present" in the mix. It is obvious that the orchestral parts were written to go hand in hand with the metal parts, and actually I think this would be quite tolerable without the vocals. I'm bad. Anyway, there are some good tracks on this, although I couldn't find one I can't be critical of, there's always a little (or big) something that ruins the track for me. Go figure. There are some very catchy riffs and orchestral parts dispersed throughout the album, just enough to keep some interest. I'm curious as to how they will perform this live though...

Bottom line, while I can appreciate the musical skills depicted on this album, in the end what really matters to me is how good an album sounds to my ears. Unfortunately, most of it just get on my nerves. Too bad because there's some good stuff hidden inside that sonic overload. Some will dig this, I don't. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go listen to some Darkthrone. Now.

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