Dimmu Borgir - Eonian
Nuclear Blast
Symphonic Blackened Metal
10 songs (54:19)
Release year: 2018
Dimmu Borgir, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat

For all the justifiable fuss around the Gateways single and the still annoying guest vocals from Agnete Kjølsrud, Abrahadabra was otherwise a perfectly acceptable album from Dimmu Borgir, experimenting in interesting ways and pushing the band's sound onwards rather than taking any easy steps towards pop. Of course, they're still a long way from being the most gritty black metal band out there, and Eonian doesn't do much to distinguish itself from its predecessor, yet simply in terms of making good music the band are still worth your time. Opener The Unveiling draws you in with a brief intro section before a surprisingly straightforward symphonic black metal riff takes over. The instrumentation and backing symphonic elements sound terrific, of course, with a solid production that even allows the bass presence, and is even enjoyable thereafter where the guitars drop out for a piano-backed verse, Shagrath's usual snarl sounding more theatrical than ever.

Sure, the following Interdimensional Summit sounds unmistakeably like Nightwish initially, and the choir-sung sections make you think you've accidentally put a recent Therion album on by accident. Yet around the halfway point a wonderfully old-school plinking keyboard comes in and Dimmu switch into a fast, thrashy riff, instantly elevating the track and reminding you that the band can still live up to older material. The groovy Ætheric supports the symphonic elements well with a solid metallic core, a superbly overblown choral chorus as epic as intended and the lead guitars and return of plinky keyboards woven in perfectly. And the downright odd experiments work well, Council of Wolves and Snakes featuring tribal percussion and chanting like some forgotten Soulfly collaboration. The only real dull spot is outro instrumental Rite of Passage, which after the rest of the album's rich array feels a little boring.

Yet there's little criticism to make of the likes of The Empyrean Phoenix and Archaic Correspondence with their approach closer to the band's older days, Galder's guitar riffs still excellent and helping give moments here an Old Man's Child feel. Lightbringer's Satyricon-esque opening, full of sinister groove, soon turns galloping and downright black n'roll, while Alpha Aeon Omega has possibly the most epic choral peak. For all the justifiable criticism of Dimmu that is easy to make, from the ridiculous costumes to the still woeful lack of ICS Vortex's clean singing, they've made an enjoyable album here that fans will love. Those resistant to the band's charms will probably remain so, as they've not so much changed their sound as performed it well.

Killing Songs :
The Unveiling, Ætheric, The Empyrean Phoenix, Archaic Correspondence
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Dimmu Borgir that we have reviewed:
Dimmu Borgir - Spiritual Black Dimensions reviewed by Tyler and quoted 88 / 100
Dimmu Borgir - Abrahadabra reviewed by Tyler and quoted 87 / 100
Dimmu Borgir - Gateways (Single) reviewed by Tyler and quoted no quote
Dimmu Borgir - The Invaluable Darkness DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Dimmu Borgir - In Sorte Diaboli reviewed by Dylan and quoted 79 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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