For their eighth studio album, Dimmu Borgir got a little more creative. They reached into their bag of tricks and pulled out a 48-piece philharmonic orchestra/choir from Prague. They then blended this orchestra in with their sterile black metal. The result was an album which is considered by most to be their best and most creative work to date. The orchestra, which helps to make “Death Cult Armageddon” sound epic and expansive, is sprinkled on, alongside some female backing vocals. Plus, some keyboards are wisely thrown in.
The orchestra really shines on track two, “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse,” where some cool piano playing makes an entrance. This song also balances clean singing (which is a rare occurrence) and snarly vocals well. “Blood Hunger Doctrine” combines more crunchy riffs and keyboards, and it ends with a single, cold note from a piano. And after the blistering guitar work and driving drums are over, “Cataclysm Children” turns to piano playing (which actually sounds rather pretty, here). Finally, track nine, “Eradication Instincts Defined,” combines peaceful choir singing with violins and a brass horn of some kind.
But if you’re looking for some great, old school black metal, it remains in tact here, as well. “Vredesbyrd” has machine gun riffs which almost bob in places. “For the World…” has more propulsive riffs and fast, all over the place drumming, and “Allehelgens Dod I Helveds Rike” features drumming which is so fast, it sounds like it could be a drum machine.
So, “Death Cult Armageddon” is full of fiery riffs, inhumanly talented drumming, and snarly vocals, but it also has some ear candy. The final sound is very full and explosive. Thus, this album is for all types of Dimmu Borgir fans, because if you’re looking for something new, “Death Cult Armageddon” brings some innovation to the table; but it also has plenty of head banging worthy material to please old school fans.