Dimmu Borgir - _World Misanthropy_
(Nuclear Blast, 2002)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 for the music, 5.5 for the DVD)
As one of Nuclear Blast's more successful acts, it was only a matter of time before another Dimmu Borgir DVD was released. (The first DVD, _Live and Plugged_, was released back in 1997.) The first _World Misanthropy_ DVD (it is a double DVD set) consists largely of selections from their 2001 tour. The focus is on songs from the last two CDs; fans of Dimmu Borgir's black metal days will be disappointed, though the second CD does feature some older material from a 1998 tour and a few clips -- though old in this case means _Enthrone Darkness Triumphant_ era Dimmu, with only one song from _For All Tid_ and two from _Stormblast_. First the good news: judging by the 2001 live concerts, Dimmu Borgir have evolved into a tight, intense and totally impressive live band. The sound for the concerts is astounding and songs such as "Tormentor of Christian Souls" have never before sounded so powerful. The songs from the last two full-lengths may be those most despised by the black metal purists, but if truth be told, these are the most complex and layered songs Dimmu have ever written, a far cry from their raw and primitive early days. They scored a coup by taking on former Cradle of Filth drummer Nick Barker; however at times his
drumming feels too robotic and machine-like, making one long for the return of Tjodalv's less adept but more human touch. On to the bad news: Dimmu also seemed to score a coup through the hiring of Vortex on bass and clean backing vocals. As a bassist he is easily replaceable, but as
a vocalist he is indispensable, having provided some of the best examples of clean vocals in black metal to date as demonstrated through his work with Borknagar and Arcturus, amongst others. Yet here his vocals sound strained and forced in both of the concerts he performs. I could excuse bad clean vocals from one concert (everyone has their bad days) but two? Perhaps he has relied a bit too heavily on studio tricks. Too much time is wasted on showing Dimmu Borgir clowning around backstage; the space these inane, less than sober antics occupy could have been put to better use by showcasing several songs that are conspicuous by their absence
(such as "In Death's Embrace" or "Reptile"). The obvious answer is that perhaps there was a desire not to feature the same songs that were on their first DVD. Which initially sounds acceptable and understandable, yet the exact same performance of "Puritania" is to be found on both _WM_ discs! Did Nuclear Blast really think that the average Dimmu Borgir fan would be so dim as not to notice? This DVD will likely be appreciated by anyone who has an interest in Dimmu Borgir. But when one considers the amount of money a label the size of Nuclear Blast must have put behind an ambitious double DVD by one of their top-selling artists, then one cannot
help but feel that with this DVD one hasn't exactly received their money's worth. The songs deserve an 8 out of 10 but the DVD as a whole is only worth 5.5 out of 10.
(article published 3/26/2003)
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