Dimmu Borgir – In Sorte Diaboli Review

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 “selling out,” 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 “The Conspiracy Unfolds”; 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 “The Chosen Legacy” is especially noteworthy; the orchestration, while toned down, is even more “scene setting” in nature, and really adds a special dimension to Dimmu Borgir’s attack. Of special note is the U.S.-only bonus track “The Heretic Hammer”; 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 “The Sacrilegious Scorn” seems way too forced; much of the album’s piano interludes detract too much from the song at hand (“Sacrilegious Scorn” 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 “not quite hitting the mark” given the steps taken over the past few albums in terms of the band tweaking and modifying its sound.

Website: Dimmu Borgir.