Dimmu Borgir - Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia (remixed) 9/10
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their first truly brilliant album, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, Norways Dimmu Borgir have completely remixed and remastered their modern masterpiece.
An essential album that is improved upon in all ways Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia reminds you and for the uninitiated how powerful and ritualistic Dimmu Borgir were compared to many, many others. It is dark, brooding, the grandeur majestic, the arrangements complex and the music quite simply extreme. The original release heralded the arrival of drum Talent Nick Barker and the original favours his considerable talents.
The new version of the album? Quite simply stunning. The primal urgency of the original is still present yet the brittle harshness of the original that maintains the true black metal aesthetic has been replaced by a richer textured sound that not only allows you to enjoy the fullness of the live orchestra but also the fantastic riffs of at the time new recruitment Galder. ‘’The Maelstrom Mephisto’’and ‘’Hybrid Stigmata’’ sound magnificent with a larger symphonic element however ‘’ Blessings Upon the Throne of Tyranny’’ is now an even more beastly and massive as is the equally brilliant ‘’ IndoctriNation’’. The new release enhances the bottom end without distracting from what is an incredibly dynamic record with many elements fighting for dominance. It is a deeper more immersive experience that introduced for the first time many of Dimmu Borgir’s now recognizable motifs. “Perfection or Vanity” is now a sorrowful harmonic piece of introspection albeit still far too brief whilst the guitar precision of ‘’Puritania” still remains.
Exhaustive in their efforts to release the complete package’’ Dust of Cold Memories’’ is a complimentary release of demos, rehearsals and pre-production which is a must for any fan and lover of music to track the progression of an album. Plus, you also get the fantastic cover of Twisted Sister’s ‘Burn in Hell”
A monumental piece of work that sounds as vital as it did upon release. ‘’Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia’’ demonstrated their burgeoning greatness. Consider this an alternate release to the original created with much affection to the source material. This is pure symphonic Black Metal as it was intended, lavish, layered and simply unmissable.
Exordium Mors - As Legends Fade and Gods Die 9/10
Metal can be many things, multi-layered, deep, atmospheric, and full of introspection. And sometimes you just want a record that sucks the brains out of your head whilst stripping the hairs off your back. ‘’ - As Legends Fade and Gods Die ‘’ is such an album. An intricate beast of a thing that is unrelentless in its brutal attack
It’s been eight years between albums for this ferocious New Zealand act. “A Pyrrhic Sacrament “is simply searing in its assault and pace. Exordium Mors excel at frantic time changes, superb riffing and tie it all together brilliantly into moments of utter chaos that defy anyone who challenges them. The solos on ‘’Surrounded by Serpents’’ are brilliantly unhinged and the vocals are utterly scathing in their vitriol.
“Flesh of the Heathen “and ‘Crown of Dust” are more masterworks of excellence and pandemonium, their speed work and deft touch of brutality stems from their excellent musicianship. Not a moment is wasted from the bass intro of “I Saw Oblivion” to the closer “The Triumphator,” Exordium Mors are a hard band to classify as they combine the raw terror of eighties European speed with the ferocity of technical death metal and moments of sheer black metal fury. Its disdain for modern humanity palpable, they are society’s outliers, their violence unleashed in a sonic maelstrom that is as nuanced and technical as it is immediate and punishing.
‘’ As Legends Fade and Gods Die’’ is a damming statement that is as demented as it is merciless. It precision and sonic terror tangible. Quite simply every track is an avalanche of excellently executed ideas of extremity that will leave the senses battered. Blistering.
DARKTHRONE - Astral Fortress 8/10
Darkthrone is a name within extreme metal circles that carries its own reputation, needs no introduction, and creates its own set of mandates. ‘’ Astral Fortress’ ’is the Norwegians 20th Album that further pursues their journey down a more traditional metal path.
The expectation of each release makes Darkthrone almost impossible to view objectively. Their fan base is so rabid it often begs the questions, is it a good record? Or is it good because it’s the new Darkthrone record? Astral Fortress is a great Metal record, that separates them further from their famous past. The album cover with the Panzerfaust hoodie skating on thin ice has many multiple meanings as the distance between their unshakeable black metal legacy and their obsession with all things metal continues.
“Kevorkian Times ‘and ‘Stalagmite Necklace” are true traditional metal songs the latter with some well-placed synth that merge their punk along with first wave (Venom, Celtic Frost) infused aesthetics. Some of the ideas however are greater than the execution. “The Sea Beneath the Seas of the Sea” is a late 70s inspired behemoth of a song that literally begs some Dio touches and some clean vocals so grand is the idea. You get clean singing for a brief moment before it finishes as an instrumental with the second half far superior to the first. The riffs are incredibly heavy however and now carry a lot of that now famous Darkthrone Duuuung.
“Caravan of Broken Ghosts” is pure metal with its layered synths and doom creativity, it is raw and muscular in its delivery, and you would expect no less. If you are looking for the Black Metal Darkthrone it is barely recognizable under the guise of “Impeccable Caravans of Satan’’ with its great riffs and more of its hidden irony. ‘Eon 2’ returns you to Soulside Journey such is the awareness of their own legacy.
Astral Fortress is tough and unapologetic, its ode to the 70s and the style presented with much affection without compromising any of the Darkthrone sensibility that now includes classic doom and some psychedelia. They have perfected their ‘true’ heavy metal style and created a beast of an album that cares little for reputation and more about the love of metal.