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Dimmu Borgir - Eonian review


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Band: Dimmu Borgir
Album: Eonian
Release date: May 2018

01. The Unveiling
02. Interdimensional Summit
03. Ætheric
04. Council Of Wolves And Snakes
05. The Empyrean Phoenix
06. Lightbringer
07. I Am Sovereign
08. Archaic Correspondence
09. Alpha Aeon Omega
10. Rite Of Passage

This is just Nightwish with Emperor Palpatine on vocals.

Oof. I'm not the biggest Dimmu fan in the ice palace - more of a passive appreciator - but this is a rather dimmer Borgir than I remember. I recall them being bolder and brassier, possessing a powerful low end weighed down by both the metal and the symphonic elements - or, failing that, sufficiently threatening black metal at least. Eonian prances onto centerstage with the same fustian drama, but none of the imperious might and thunder, none of the vicious musical sorcery that made Dimmu Borgir cool. "The Unveiling" starts us off with a neat, windy riff that's likely to be stuck in my head for a while, but it also makes apparent that much of the metal edge has fled from Dimmu Borgir's ranks.

The lily-white strings, glistening piano, and mellow choir, a curiously frequent and intrusive presence, positively drip with decadence; clearly this is some thrust at gothic elegance, but the orchestrations sound lacey, saccharine, and bloated. Far from adding atmosphere and throwing weight and sophistication behind basically sound black metal, this new breed of symphonic affectation takes all the attention away from what little harshness remains in the Dimmu halls. Shagrath still sounds like a Nazgûl with a cold, which is great, but this "enchanted epic twilight symphony" sound gives me cavities, and the occasional blastbeat and diminished chord don't really change that. I miss ICS Vortex.

"Council Of Wolves And Snakes" breaks down some strange tribal groove that is at least conceptually enticing enough to stay interesting for five minutes, and the song contains some of the rare moments recognizable as wicked-riffed black metal; when it so chooses to be, "Alpha Aeon Omega" is a better Wintersun track than anything from The Forest Seasons, proving that the super-symphony saturation does not necessarily have to work to Dimmu's detriment. Even several of the stronger compositions, however, find themselves undercut by an obnoxious water-drip keyboard sound that makes me feel like I'm listening to some kind of dark new wave band or something, or perhaps a cheesy and thoroughly nonthreatening guitar tone that scrapes away most of the blackened feeling. Did I mention that I miss ICS Vortex?

Without a lyric sheet in front of me, I can't make out every detail of Eonian's high-falutin' concepts, but those passages that I am able to discern detract from the illusion of erudition, without fail. "Life is a trial and the passage is death"; "Losing yourself is the key to leave everything behind"; "To govern thyself, you must know your darkness"; is that deep? I'm already annoyed by the sound of the choirs. I don't need to be irked by the things they're saying as well.

I give Dimmu Borgir credit for still being more interesting than your average symphonic metal band; there remains a certain expertise in songwriting, and some vestiges of old Dimmu do sneak through. I'd much rather be listening to this than Xandria or Within Temptation, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm listening to edgy covers of the Frozen soundtrack. Symphony is one heck of a drug, and it seems like in the eight years it took to make Eonian, Dimmu Borgir got too swept up in the frivolity and became self-indulgent.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 7

Written on 01.05.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

Guest review by
It took 8 years to release a new record. So it must be the feather in black metal music's cap; something to throw at a true black metaller's face. These are the things that initially come to anyone's mind, regardless of how successful Eonian is in making fans' desires come true.

The record doesn't carry any instrumental track for a starter as a typical Dimmu Borgir thing, instead a shocking industrial intro and not comforting at all. "Interdimensional Summit", being the first song I listened to from this record, still stuck to Abrahadabra values. The keyboard theme is quite heartwarming and Galder's solo is one of the band's best. After that, "Council Of Wolves And Snakes" starts as something you may need in Dimmu Borgir's albums, but gets tedious and kills the buzz in the listener.

published 04.06.2020 | Comments (1)

Comments page 3 / 3

Comments: 62   Visited by: 628 users
08.12.2020 - 20:57

Written by Troy Killjoy on 08.12.2020 at 20:52

Written by Liafev on 08.12.2020 at 17:57

It's just made for the elitists true black metal fans.

You think this album is targeted at black metal purists?

Oppss, I'm missing a "not" somewhere there.
Ben's history in music

"overrated" is a word for the arrogants!
31.01.2021 - 10:20

Written by Troy Killjoy on 08.12.2020 at 20:52

Written by Liafev on 08.12.2020 at 17:57

It's just made for the elitists true black metal fans.

You think this album is targeted at black metal purists?

I know I'm responding a few years ago (didn't check this website since my last reply) and sorry for that, but after several times of listening "Eonian", I need to say - I changed my mind about it. I fell in love with it. I think it's another masterpiece from Dimmu Borgir.

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