Price paid: € 1149
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Features: This is the new signature model of Dimmu Borgir's Silenoz. The guitar was made in 2009 and was built in Korea. It's scale is 25.5", it has 22 XJ frets, an ebony fretboard with no inlays except a crest on the 12th fret, a thin maple neck and a mahogany body.
One of the most interesting features of this guitar is the body shape, which is kind of a curved Randy Rhoads model. Very cool in my opinion! It also has a beautiful finish, which ESP calls Metallic Deep Red Burgundy, I call it a dark red for simple. It features a Tonepros fixed bridge and a string-thru body construction, which provides great sustain. The pickups are active Seymour Duncan Blackouts, the AHB-2 in the bridge and the AHB-1 in the neck position. Those are hot! The headstock is ESP's F-style, and the tuners are ESP's own fine locking tuners. Finally, there is one volume knob used for both pickups, and a three-way toggle Switch. Pretty straightforward rock'n'roll.
There is only one thing for me to complain about: no case or gigbag is included, and I'm not sure whether this guitar fits in normal gigbags. So, one point off here. // 9
Sound: You surely can guess that I don't use this guitar for Irish folk music. This thing is a straightforward metal machine, and it suits this style perfectly. The Blackouts do a really great job. In my opinion, these are the best active pickups out there. They sound a lot fatter and less artificial than the famous EMGs. The low frequencies are emphasized strongly, but it does not sound muddy at any time. I'm really not an active pickup guy, but these monsters are absolutely unbelievable.
I play with it through a Blackstar Series One 100 while using the high gain setting. It is not noisy at all, you get a little buzz at those high gain settings, but it's nothing you have to worry about, I didn't hear it at all when I first plugged in.
The Okkultist - of course - is at it's best when distorted, but provides some nice clean as well. The bridge pickup tends to distort a little, you will need to use the volume knob to get a 100% clean sound out of it. The neck pickup never distorts the sound and it sounds very warm, bassy and rich, but always very clear. You probably even could play Jazz with this if you want to.
The guitar unfortuately fails to be an allround talent, for you won't get some funky sounds out of it. Angus Young probably would not choose this guitar for playing in AC/DC as well. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar, as I said before, is a beauty. There are no flaws in the paintjob, nothing was rustet etc. The fretboard was high polished, I love how the ebony looks like. Unfortuanetly, there is some kind of stain in it around the 12th fret, but due to the inlay, you don't notice it unless you search for it. The action was perfect, and the pickups were adjusted just right.
I've had some problems with the tuning first. No matter how often I tuned the guitar, it would not stay in tune, probably because it's pretty cold in my room and pretty warm in the rehearsal room.However, this problem vanished after a couple of days. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I have not played Live with it yet, but I surely will. I don't like it when people say they would take a silge guitar to the gig, without a backup. Something can go wrong at anytime, with any guitar, even with a 5000$ PRS. So I'd take backup with me, just in case, but this one will be my main guitar for a long time now. The hardware is solid, just as you might expect it from ESP. The strap buttons are solid as well, I won't change then to straplocks, for our stage show is not that chaotic.
The finish will last, unless you bang it against the wall. Pretty good work, indeed. // 10
Overall Impression: As I said, I play metal, and it's perfect for me. I've been playing for 3 1/2 years, and this is my first high-end guiar. I own a LTD M-50 as well, and I do like that one as well, but obviously it's no match for the Okkultist. I don't have a gigbag for it yet, and I'll have to get one soon. I'm quite sure that it would fit in any V or RR case, but I'll ask at The Music store. If it were stolen, I'd definately save up money for it again, but would be stuck with the M-50 for a long time then. This is for sure the best guitar I've ever played. I can recommend it to everyone Who's searching for a metal guitar you can plug in and fall in love immediately. // 9