Almost thought about clubbing Dimmu Borgir along the likes of Tool ? You know what I did there, don’t you ? But fret not anymore. After seven long years, Norwegian flag bearers of symphonic black metal are ready to thwack your ass with a double DVD, titled, ‘Forces Of The Northern Night’, releasing on 28th of April via Nuclear Blast. Yes that is damn right, a double DVD that features their live rituals from Oslo and Wacken Open Air accompanied by an orchestra and a choir. Sounds colossal doesn’t it ?
Now, Dimmu Borgir has been around for a very long time, 24 whopping years to be precise and has been performing their rituals all over the globe, each time robing in more fans to their ever increasing infantry. It’s remarkable to witness them as a dynamic band who’s sound has changed a lot since their inception. Although, that very fact has been the hotbed of criticism and have made Dimmu Borgir receive some flak from the black metal purists, nonetheless, it still holds true that they have carved a rightful niche in the hearts of many metalheads. This DVD release is a testimony of this very fact and of their musicianship despite many hurdles.
‘Forces Of The Northern Night’ features two satisfying, each of 90 minutes duration of their live rituals. One being performed at Spektrum, Oslo supported by 53 members of KORK(Norwegian Radio Orchestra) and the Schola Cantorum Choir on 28th May, 2011. The second live ritual is at the mecca of metal, Wacken Open Air, 2012, with over a hundred musicians of the orchestra. Both of these gigs heave an atmosphere of such magnitude that is surely bound to keep you enthralled. It also features a bonus documentary along with the live performances.
The stage at Spektrum, Oslo is beautifully set with Dimmu Borgir at the center, sandwiched by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra on the right and members of the choir that closely resemble like a hoard of grim reapers standing in unison chanting, to the left. The set begins with a prelude in the form of, ‘Xibir’ with the orchestra and the choir building up almost an eerie vibe, akin to that of horror movies. As ‘Xibir’ lays itself to slumber, the band takes to the stage amidst thunderous cheers and flashing horns from the crowd, and Galder and Silenoz hits the notes right off with ‘Born Treacherous’, probably Dimmu Borgir’s best song out there. And all of a sudden, you feel this larger than life vibe hit you. Thanks to the orchestra, the band and the choir teamed up as an adhesive that creates a spectacle unmatched by any other act in this form. Every single instrument can be heard. The band walks you through all of their hit songs spanning all across their illustrious career, with songs right from the vault off albums like ‘Enthrone Darkness Triumphant’, to ‘Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia’ to their last installment, ‘Abrahadabra’. The latter is probably their biggest hit till date and hence its evident to note that most of its songs dominates the set list.
One of the very striking moments among a plethora of others is when Djerv frontwoman/ex-Animal Alpha vocalist Anete Kjølsrud chips in with her excellent vocal delivery tearing through the crowd’s cheers in the song, ‘Gateways’. This actually encases how Dimmu Borgir love to keep their live performances as original and trve(sorry purists, just kidding) as their studio version, no matter what. It obviously works very well adding even some more flare of true professionalism, as it’s evident from the audience’s positive reception.
What also is commendable and generous is the fact that the performance has not been portrayed only as Dimmu Borgir’s, the orchestra and the choir has managed to robe in equal accolade as the band has. They have successfully added just about the optimum amount of musicianship in parenting this atmosphere of impeccable grandeur. There are some songs in the set list which are just orchestral instrumentals with the choir, where you can just sit back, relax and let the music take you along with it’s flow. It’s almost like you’re back in time witnessing Bach or Wagner perform some of their masterpieces, yes it is that good. I bet they themselves would enjoy it too. The set ends with another orchestral instrumental along with the choir, where they pull off, ‘Perfection Or Vanity’, as the band and all the members of the orchestra and the choir huddle close to each other shoulder to shoulder and bow down to the audience amidst cheers, roars and horns as soon as the set is over.
So, what does ‘Forces Of The Northern Night’ offer ? A lot, more than I could ever describe. Everything has been done to the point of perfection. The crystal clear production lets you enjoy every instrument, be it the mighty trumpet, the clarinet, the violins, Galder and Silenoz’s guitaring excellency and you can easily feel them coalescing with the orchestra. Shagrath looks ever majestic with his king size costume and commands the crowd into an unison with his haunting voice as they churn out the best of the most beautifully symphonic but yet dark and heaviest of music there is. Not to forget the lighting, camera angles and movements have been brought about excellently as well. It keeps the viewer glued, making it hard to blink for even a second with production at such a zenith.
‘Forces Of The Northern Night’ is a must buy DVD for every metal fan if you want to immerse yourself in one of the best live concert experiences. It’s almost a portal back to the Spektrum, Oslo or to the holy grounds of Wacken Open Air. The ambience it emanates is like a ship raging through the high tides amidst ravaging ghastly winds. You surely wouldn’t want to miss out on laying your hands on this marvel.
You can pre-order any of the several formats of the DVD here.
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