Black metal, black studded waistcoat. From Norway
There’s a certain type of music
fan (like Amen’s Casey Chaos)
who admires black metal for
its complete lack of compromise; however much you dress it up, it’s never going to appear on MTV. Norwegian black metallers Dimmu Borgir are testing this assertion to the limit. They sold 150,000 copies of their last album, and in here have switched from singing (if that’s not too strong a term) in Norwegian to the more commercial English.
‘Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia’ continues the crossover (or sell out, depending on your opinion). Clean production makes sure that the lyrics are not just audible – they’re even occasionally comprehensible. Jean Michel Jarre-esque keyboards ripple in and out of the familiar black metal din, while some tracks even feature the 12-piece Gothenburg Opera Orchestra (obviously an outfit with a sense of humour). No wonder rival acts have started to claim that the six-piece are the black metal equivalent of a boyband.
That said, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Dimmu Borgir on [I]Total Request Live[/I] just yet. While the music aims to be loud, aggressive and evil-sounding, it’s basically pure prog, with interminable solos, pompous synths and time signatures changing all over the place. Vocalist Shagrath – a man with a natty line in black studded corsets and the band’s only card-carrying Satanist – sounds, in every sense, like a man who’s just swallowed the dictionary. Say what you like about ex-Cradle Of Filth drummer Nick Barker, mind – he can certainly play faster than anyone you’ve ever heard.
And that’s kind of the point. It may be slick, but ‘Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia’ is still black metal, albeit dragged into the, ooh, 17th century. And if Dimmu Borgir were a boyband, you’d have to call them ‘NSick.