Sound — 8
Dimmu Borgirs' ninth studio album is an ambitious project in scale and scope which the band pulls off with equal parts brutality, and dare I say beauty? Firstly I'm not a fan of the Black Metal genre as a whole, it never did anything for me so my expectations were low from the start. But this album delivers from the entertainment and musical side of the field. Its huge firstly, the bands' sound is monstrous and couple that with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Schola Cantorum choir this album utilizes over 100 muscians and singers! Its an overwhelming thought when you think just how they kept their vision while writing these parts. Great performances all around here with all sides to involved seeming just to understand each other.
Lyrics — 7
Shagrath gives a very impressive performance here, full of emotion and venom coupled with the odd clean vocals on a few songs gives a nice counter point. Guest vocals on the single Gateways from Agnete Kjlsrud are very interesting and give the song another angle. The chorus' though can get stale after a couple songs into the album because they seem to follow a formula of just chanting or repeating the song title.
Overall Impression — 8
I love this album, the energy, the aggression and the sheer quality of the songs. The Orchestra sounds amazing and their work is sometimes the best parts of the songs, not to take away from the band itself who crafted the music. It's not just a Black Metal album or a Dimmu Borgir album it in my eyes is a bench mark for following symphonic albums to be measured against. Very solid, hugely entertaining and musically satisfying, get this album.