Nuclear Blast Records
Release: May 4, 2018
Eerie shadows are lurking in the dark corners of spring 2018; the spirit that denies, a force able to distort our conception of space and time. Over seven years, deathlike silence has filled the halls of the world’s biggest black metal forge, DIMMU BORGIR, whilst powers have been gathering to resurrect the band right in time for their 25th anniversary. Now they finally mark their return with a vicious work of art that can be defined as timeless in the truest sense of the word: ‘’Eonian’’.
From a musical point of view, the band explores their boundaries in every direction with this new record, with the black metal parts even rougher and darker than before, and the epic, orchestral moments pushed to their ultimate limits. This time DIMMU BORGIR were aiming for a more organic sound for their devilish offerings, and reached out to Jens Bogren, who engineered the 10 new tracks inside his Fascination Street studios. The cover artwork was designed in fascinating detail by Zbigniew M. Bielak.
1 The Unveiling
2 Interdimensional Summit
4 Council of Wolves and Snakes
5 The Empyrean Phoenix
7 I Am Sovereign
8 Archaic Correspondence
9 Alpha Aeon Omega
10 Rite of Passage
The songwriting core of DIMMU BORGIR furthermore consists of charismatic vocalist Shagrath, as well as the string wizards Silenoz and Galder, but other familiar faces also emerge from the darkness: Drummer Daray and keyboarder Gerlioz are still part of the team, and Gaute Storaas helped with the choral arrangements for the majestic voices of the Schola Cantrum Choir.
“Eonian represents the illusion of time, everything that is and always has been. For us, it also marks the 25th anniversary of DIMMU BORGIR and the album itself is a tribute to our own history and the Norwegian black metal history”. - Shagrath.
I have seen a lot of people complain about the heaviness of ‘’Eonian’’, and I think that is a matter of preferences and interpretations of the word. I’m not very familiar with the earlier work of Dimmu Borgir, but when I heard ‘’Interdimensional Summit’’, I loved it right away! That might be because I am a bit more symphonic (metal) orientated, bands with an orchestra and a choir easily grab my attention. It’s normal for a band to experiment with sounds and evolve over time. If the band does not change their sound there will be complaints that ‘’it is always the same formula’’.
‘’The Unveiling’’ is overall a super good track, but I dislike the intro. I thought something was wrong with my headphone in the beginning. If you are looking for more a more devilish sound, ‘’ÆTheric’’ is perhaps your thing. The song is very rhythmic and melodic as well. In this song we also hear the choir again, but I am very happy that they don’t overuse it. I think a lot of people will find the guitar riff in the verses annoying, but I like it.
Songs like ‘’Council of Wolves and Snakes’’ and ‘’Lightbringer’’ are by the band considered experimental, and I have to agree with them. They both have some kind of influence from folk, while still keeping the black metal intact. It is a nice change of pace next to the more ‘’mainstream’’ sounding songs, for instance: ‘’Archaic Correspondence’’ (except for the clear vocals!) and ‘’I Am Sovereign’’.
‘’Eonian’’ ends with ‘’Rite of Passage’’, which is a completely instrumental piece. It is a nice ending to a black metal album, while still keeping up that spirit. Overall I enjoyed ‘’Eonian’’ a lot, and it’s no secret that Dimmu Borgir has gained a new fan with me. With their new, more symphonic direction they might lose a handful of fans, but they might gain the whole symphonic metal fandom on their side. I think this was a very smart and well executed idea, and therefore they deserve a good rating: a 9 out of 10!