As much as Dimmu Borgir’s Deathcult Armageddon put the band on the mainstream metal map, In Sorte Diaboli seeks to grab a stranglehold on the newfound fame and cling on for dear life.
That’s not to say In Sorte Diaboli is a snapshot of a band â€œselling out,â€ but more of a band seeing what worked on the last album and ratcheting up only the most successful of elements.
What Diaboli has to offer, it delivers in spades. The vocals are even more sinister, especially the screeching inflections littered throughout â€œThe Conspiracy Unfoldsâ€; the band is much tighter (if that was possible) than on Deathcult; the drumming, truly the highlight of Dimmu Borgir’s sound, is off-the-charts — the double-bass on â€œThe Chosen Legacyâ€ is especially noteworthy; the orchestration, while toned down, is even more â€œscene settingâ€ in nature, and really adds a special dimension to Dimmu Borgir’s attack. Of special note is the U.S.-only bonus track â€œThe Heretic Hammerâ€; it does little to mess up the album setlist and would actually make for a perfect lead-off single, with some of the best rhythm guitar and orchestration of any Dimmu Borgir song.
The mis-steps, while few, are still impossible to miss. The harmonizing on â€œThe Sacrilegious Scornâ€ seems way too forced; much of the album’s piano interludes detract too much from the song at hand (â€œSacrilegious Scornâ€ is once again most at fault here). The band also skipped any non-English tracks, which is shame given long-time fans’ appreciation of DB’s roots.
At the end of the day, the band’s surprising success with Deathcult and stint on the Ozzfest mainstage obviously had an affect on the group’s follow-up effort. Far from a swing and a miss, Diaboli still has that air of â€œnot quite hitting the markâ€ given the steps taken over the past few albums in terms of the band tweaking and modifying its sound.
Website: Dimmu Borgir.