In Sorte Diaboli Review

artist: Dimmu Borgir date: 02/18/2009 category: compact discs
Dimmu Borgir: In Sorte Diaboli
Release Date: Apr 24, 2007
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genres: Scandinavian Metal, Heavy Metal, Death Metal/Black Metal
Number Of Tracks: 10
From the soaring, operatic vocals and live string accompaniment to the beyond-fast riffing and drumming, In Sorte Diaboli is the perfect music to annoy parents and satisfy fans of overindulgence everywhere.
 Sound: 7.9
 Lyrics: 6.7
 Overall Impression: 8
 Overall rating:
 8.3 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.5 
 Users rating:
 9 
 Votes:
 136 
 Views:
 680 
reviews (7) 63 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7.7
In Sorte Diaboli Reviewed by: UG Team, on may 07, 2007
6 of 12 people found this review helpful

Sound: It seems like a new fashion among metal bands now is to record concept albums, telling you some story instead of just a few songs with scary words. After Manowar released their Gods Of War earlier this year, Norway black metalists Dimmu Borgir are ready hit the charts with their opus album In Sorte Diaboli. It is a well-known fact that the best metal is created in the North part of Europe, so the guys just couldn't go wrong recording in Fredman Studios in Sweden with a Swedish producer Fredrik Nordstrm. This is Dimmu Borgir's eighth album and the first new material in four years (after Death Cult Armageddon in 2003). The epic part of the CD carries an intricate story about a priest's assistant that suddenly understands he belongs to the dark side. The first single of the album and its opener The Serpentine Offering with the orchestral intro gives you an idea of what the album is about. You won't be bored listening to In Sorte Diaboli as things change so fast here, just be quick enough to follow. The songs are complex and it might take a while to realize what's going on. The band tried to make the album sound as close to a theatre play as possible. There's occasional piano that pretty much sounds like an ancient clarinet and of course they couldn't avoid a dramatic voice that reads the text. The record is also rich for different sounds to draw a vivid picture in your mind like bells, fire burning, people walking. Dimmu Borgir are known for their melodic metal, but that feature appear as sudden as it disappear. Most songs consist of two parts -- brutal and melodic and this change doesn't always sound organic, more often these are two different pieces. Some tracks even feature a catchy riffs and melodies -- like The Sacrilegious Scorn. The Fallen Arises could well be played at somebody's funerals, just take away the neighing horses. This is the only peaceful track among the fury of the record. // 8

Lyrics: The album carries a huge intense and most of it goes from the lyrics and vocals. Vocalist Shagrath growls throaty, more often speaking than actually singing. His screamo is diluted by Vortex's chorals on the background. The lyrics' quality is somewhere in between the singing poetry and well-written tale. It's better than most things we usually hear in the songs, but still nothing close to a good story from a book. // 7

Overall Impression: In my very own opinion the metal genre is running dry (let angry metal fans tear me into pieces in the comments). There are already quite a few bands on the scene that have guitarists playing incredibly fast, drummers shooting like machine-guns and vocalists screaming like devil incarnates. All that metal bands are left to do is vary their lyrics with some deep meaning. What matters now is if you like the tail they are telling you or not. The idea is quite fresh though; after a few more band use, it would all sound trite (I would suggest the next step would be making a video for every track). But so far there were no bad examples and this latest effort by Dimmu Borgir is no exception. // 8


- Kosh (c) 2007

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overall: 8.7
In Sorte Diaboli Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 22, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: They're a great band, this is a great album. It's very dark and melodic and it manages to tell a story and still not bore you. I think Metal is great for story telling because it has classical influences to get you hooked and agressive influences to keep you interested. The album is a concept album based around the faults and evil doings of the Christian religion in mideval times. Reguardless of the story beind the album, this is a classicl Death/Black metal band and their excellent instrument playing here is an example to everyone that you don't NEED shred guitar solos in order to be a really good metal band (although one or two on the album wouldn't hurt). // 9

Lyrics: Probably one of the hardest things to do in this genre of music is develop not just coherant lyrics that make sense, but ones that hook the listeners/readers and can deliver a meaningful message. While they aren't toally original thoughts or feelings that the band members had, they tell a compelling story about a member of the Christian church who converts to Paganism after seeing the evil the Christians did to the common people. // 8

Overall Impression: I could compare the album and the band to a bunch of other stuff, but that would probably get me yelled at. I will say this though; If you like metal, real metal, then you'll like this group. It features timing changes mid-song, great vocals (both soft singing and intense screaming/growling) wonderful writing of both lyrics and music and that's about the jist of it. If you can listen to and enjoy technical music (it really does take an advanced ear to appreciate this type of stuff) this is a really great album. I'd definately buy it again if it were damaged, lost or stolen. These guys deserve it. Number 14 on the Bilboard 200 debut is an insult to such great music. // 9

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overall: 9
In Sorte Diaboli Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 23, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound on this album is amazing, a huge improvment on the bass heavy Death Cult Armagedon, and it is a lot less distorted than their previous efforts. The guitar playing is a lot more technical and progressive than some of there other works but it fits in well with the overall vibe of the album and you will find yourself becoming lost in the spellbinding riffs. The sound is crystal clear essentially, recorded by Frederic Nordstrom, it is the best that they have sounded. One of the things you will notice first on this album is the drums, blasted by the infamous HellHammer, they are right out there and sound amazing. The highly technical breakdowns and furiously precise blast beats are amoung the highlights of the album. This is not a guitarists album though, a lot of the riffs are simple and can be picked up by ear, but they are catchy in places and are very effective in holding your attention, a few more solos wouldn't have hurt though. // 9

Lyrics: This being a concept album the lyrics are naturally going to be very different, and for Dimmu borgir who generally always have satanic themes in their lyrics, the way that his time they have conctructed there ideas and beliefs into a story is amazing. I found it very interest following the story of the protagonist, the lyrics themself act as his diary entries and the conclusion at the end blends supurbly with the music. Shagraths singing, is some of his best since Enthrone Darkness Triumphant and the odd scattering of Vortex breakdowns works wonders. The only flaw with the lyrics is that they get a bit repetitive after a while, in some songs he repeats the same line about 8 times, etc. and it can drag on a bit. // 8

Overall Impression: In my opinion, the metal scene is in a recession at the moment and there are very few bands putting out anything unique and exciting. In Sorte Diaboli is just the right kick extreme metal needs. True Dimmu Borgir are not very popular in the extreme metal genre so this album might not be album of the year amoung Extreme Black Metal fans, but for others who do enjoy Dimmu's work and who like heavy metal with the vocals growly and the guitars fast then this is for you. It is a masterpiece from start to finish and I am positve that everyone will find something they like about this album. There is very little negative I have to say about this album and I would definately but it again if I lost it. I am some one who goes through albums very quickly but this album has been in my CD player non stop for past two weeks. I am certain that as regards to the overall metal scene this is a strong contender for album of the year, and I have heard very little negative said about, the negative only coming from Dimmu Haters and people outside the metal genre. My overall verdict, even if you have never heard them, if you like heavy metal, you need this album. // 10

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overall: 3.7
In Sorte Diaboli Reviewed by: possessed635, on may 22, 2007
1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound on this album varies. On certain songs it has amazing riffs and great vocals but on others it sounds like the downfall of dimmu. My favorite song on this album is the Heritic Hammer and my least favorite one is The serpentine offering. This song had no flow and instead of being ballsy black metal it sounded like a symphony fronted by Shagrath. I'm giving this 5 stars because I only enjoyed half the album. // 5

Lyrics: The lyrics on this album werent too good. The whole idea of a concept album is to tell a Story. Opeth makes amazing concept albums that have a real story that make you want to relive it. In sorte diaboli made me feel like it was written by a untalented band which Dimmu are not. The story is of a priest who leaves the congregation and becomes the descendant of satan. This doesnt't bother me, I'm protestant yet listen to mayhem and other black metal but I feel this was really weak. Shagraths voice seems to have deteriorated over the years to the point that he can still pull off gutteral growls but is not capable of what he was earlier. // 2

Overall Impression: This does not compare to Death Cult Armaggedon, their breakthrough album. The most impressive songs are The heritic hammer and Invaluable darkness. I love how they can make a album so strong but I hate how there seems to be no flow on lots of the album. If I lost or broke this album I would not buy it again as I think this is a waste of time to listen to the entire album. it's a mix of emotions with this so I'm going to give it 4 stars for giving me a rollercoaster ride of enjoyment to dispair. // 4

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overall: 7.3
In Sorte Diaboli Reviewed by: Contraband, on september 28, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: When I came into this album, I was expecting quite a lot from Dimmu Borgir. They are a band who have managed to successfuly warp the black metal genre into something more unique and by this I mean this industrial, almost over-produced sound that the band often gets discredited for. In fact, many black metal aficianados even go to say that regardless of the fact that Dimmu Borgir claim to be black metal, that their sound has deteriorated. However, the way I see it, this new sound is working for them with their recent addition of millions of fans over the last decade or so. They had a great circus music-influenced sound on Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia and Enthrone Darkness Triumphant that made those albums excellent already regardless of the fact that everyone was a great musician on those albums. So, naturally, I expect to see this circus feel with their standard quirks and sound effects (ala Puritania). This album is powerful, yet provides us with everything that Dimmu has already done, except that now it's in a concept album format, which surprisingly doesn't change much. I tend to think of names like Ayreon, Pain of Salvation, Dream Theater, and Symphony X when I think of concept albums, and for each of those bands it has worked fantastically in a progressive format. Similarly, the progressive tints that Dimmu possessed in PEM and EDT was what led me in the first place to enjoy their music. It was straightforward and at the same time went somewhere too while being atmospheric and misanthropic. What I will give Dimmu credit here is for maintaining a sound and production hefty enough to give their music that chaotic whorl effect. But, this concept album just doesn't deliver the kind of things worthy for a concept album. It has some very entrancing, chaotic, and atmospheric moments that are original, but the overall sound like I said, has been done by Dimmu before. The one aspect I truly feel has been refined is the atmospheric aspect in that they're spiraling slightly back to the ways of old black metal. In terms of each instrument, the keyboards are doing a mighty fine job, although they are doing the same things they always did. The guitars are a little more annoying this time around as it feels like mass tremolo picking all the time, which really does get old. The bass is definitely working like always, can't complain too much about it except that I'd like to have it a little higher in the mix and doing something more unique. The vocals from Shagrath feel like they have even more effects on them, which brings Dimmu that whole misanthropic/evil/we-hate-the-world theme they seem so keen on demonstrating. The clean vocals are as good as always, and keep things fresh as seen on The Serpentine Offering, no complaints. What's left is the drums which are also powerful and show a talented pallette from Nicolas Barker, but also show that he's fairly two dimensional. It's either full on blast or some mid paced blast/groove to fit the clean singing. Dimmu could definitely benefit from toning down the guitar and drum onslaught. We've heard it in metal a million times. The only thing is that I almost can't complain because regardless of the fact that the sound on In Sorte Diaboli doesn't really bring anything new to the table, the melodies and passages are often ones I take to heart. I just wish they would have been presented in a fresher manner. Still, kudos to Dimmu Borgir along with Nile and Behemoth for releasing possibly their most skilfully made albums, although with these 3 bands, which are some of the most chaotic in metal in my opinion, have had better albums. The last thing I would like to add is that this is the first of a 3 album concept and this has me pumped. They need more songs like Fear and Wonder and more variation, because the tracks like on The Apostasy and Ithyphallic aren't totally memorable. // 8

Lyrics: I never have really cared for the lyrics too much, and with themes like that of Dimmu's I tend not to care too much if they're cheesy or not. I do realize, that Dimmu Borgir's lyrical themes are quite on the corny side, but that I can't expect too much from them. The lyrical concept is of a monk who has realized that he is not working as a brethren of christianity, which is sort of cool and at the same time boring. I don't really care too much about it. The vocals on the other hand are done very well when you hear the cleans. The growls are average, but are getting annoying, so that's a minus for this album. I really was expecting more in the growls department. // 6

Overall Impression: If this album were lost or stolen, I probably wouldn't bother buying it back, unless I suddenly decided I was a Dimmu collectionist at that point, and I don't see that happening. It's good music, don't get me wrong, along with The Apostasy and Ithyphallic, but if either of these albums were lost I wouldn't bother. Dimmu has Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia and hell, even Stormblast. Nile have In their Darkened Shrines and Annihilation of the Wicked. Behemoth have Demigod and Zos Kia Cultus. I'm not even talking about the other good albums these bands have. It's just that the other albums all have a more genuine and sincere feel to them. These last 3 albums do not, and obviously In Sorte Diaboli is not an exception. I can appreciate all the consistency in them, but I am a man who enjoys experimenting in music. I like things kept fresh. The Serpentine Offering is personally my favourite song along with the instrumental and clean sections on the other songs. The overal feeling is that it isn't too memorable, so I can't give this album an 8 yet. The intent is good, but the final product did not deliver up to par. I'm sure if I heard this 2 or 3 years ago, along with The Apostasy and Ithyphallic I would have been amazed. But today, I have heard a lot more, and know there is better out there. // 8

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overall: 8
In Sorte Diaboli Reviewed by: wintee_madness, on april 19, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: On Dimmu Borgir's latest release I was really impressed by the production and sound. The guitars, vox and drums are very clear in the mix, but the bass is drowned out a fair bit. The addition of I.C.S Vortex's clean vocals is a great addition to the mix, it adds another element to the band. I am also greatly impressed by the drumming displayed by Hellhammer, some of the fastest foot work I've heard. The album does not break any new ground in the symphonic extreme/black metal genre(s) but it is a solid effort. In Sorte Diabloi follows the story of a medieval priest who doubts his faith and becomes the anti-christ. // 8

Lyrics: In Sorte Diaboli is a concept album that follows the story of a medieval monk who starts questioning his faith. The character takes the place of the anti-Christ at the end of the album and realizes his dark and evil powers. In Sorte Diaboli is the first Dimmu release that features the clean vocal work of bassist I.C.S Vortex. Vortex's vocals really impress me on this release and they fit the music perfectly. Not Taking any thing away from Shagrath, as he pulls off a top notch job as well. The only thing I have with his style of vocals is that it doesn't sound like a natural sound and it seems to me that some sort of effects are used on his voice. This could just be me. That aside the vocals on both musicians part impress me. // 8

Overall Impression: To be honest Dimmu Borgir is the only symphonic "black metal" or symphonic "extreme" metal band I listen to. I can't really compare it to other releases from similar artists. Standout tracks for me are The Serpentine Offering the intro that rolls into the thundering double bass and guitars gets me every time. My next favorite is The Sacrilegious Scorn, the catchy intro again has me hooked on this song. The Chosen Legacy well where do I start. This song is the song where Hellhammer shows off. 32nd's at 160bpm all be it for 14 seconds, it is a great effort! The Sinister Awakening is also an enjoyable listen. The only downside to this album would be that it only has a few standout tracks and the rest mediocre. In saying that I would buy this album again if I lost it. // 8

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overall: 8.3
In Sorte Diaboli Reviewed by: bigREDgrin, on february 18, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: My impression of this album is awesome, but it seems like many other people are upset with this new CD but why Concept albums are not new in black metal it's fairly common and Dimmu's version is well done. The sound of the album is powerful and invoking, it's definitely a live based CD though. The story of the album is about a monk from medieval era realizing that Christianity is a lie and becoming Satanic; or at least that's what I have collected from the lyrics. The drumming on this album is new standard as far as I am concerned, Hellhammer really out did himself. The guitars are fast and melodic. // 8

Lyrics: Lyrics are great as anything else I have heard in Black Metal. Vortex gives great soaring Vocals, and Shagrath sounds good (even though many feel that his voice is silly sounding). Like I said before the lyrics and music are greatly based for a live audience, so it's seems a little open on the CD but I assure you that the live show really gives a great impression. Best lyrics of the CD are on The Fundamental Alienation and The Foreshadowing Furnace in my opinion. // 8

Overall Impression: Even though lot's of people say that is was not the stand out best Extreme metal Album in 2007 being overshadowed by Machine head, and few others I think this CD is still worth a buy. As far as the masses go who say that they are too commercial and processed and that Concept CD's are stupid just ignore them and listen to it for yourself cause after all, you are the finale word. Best thing about it is the powerful lyrics and strong riffs. // 9

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