Dimmu Borgir - _Devil's Path_
(Hot Records, 1996)
by: Henry Akeley (8 out of 10)
This four-song MCD has been out for awhile now, but I only just got around to tracking it down. My mistake, because the two new songs presented here are quite good. They're also noticeably different from the band's earlier material: melancholic keyboard lines are no longer the center of the sound (in fact, Stian Aarstad, who used to handle synthesizers and piano, is apparently no longer in the band). This time, the sonic focus is on (great-sounding) guitars and drums, which gallop at compelling speed through moody black metal, featuring lots of fluid changes in rhythm and tone. Well-performed, melodious guitar solos appear in each song, further enhancing the overall feeling of flow. The agile, riff-heavy style of Old Man's Child definitely comes to mind, especially in the title track's flowing time changes and (this is a cliche, but) epic-sounding riffs. Opener "Master of Harmony" is somewhat harsher, showcasing plenty of blackened speed with some cool changes and unexpected breaks. In addition to these two new songs, there are two versions of Celtic Frost's 1984 classic, "Nocturnal Fear". (The difference between the two versions is in the vocals: first, there's Shagrath's fairly standard black metal technique; then, vocals done more in the gruff Celtic Frost style.) As covers go, this is pretty good, since they nicely recreate the original's killer groove, in addition to livening up the song with some cool soloing. Anyway, the two new songs demonstrate musical proficiency that ranks with the best in the genre. The band's black metal image may be utterly generic, but their talent is definitely distinctive.

(article published 9/4/1997)

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5/13/2001 A Bromley Dimmu Borgir: Majestic Visions, Triumphant Sounds
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