Fourth album from Norwegian Black Metal band Dimmu Borgir. This album was released in 1999. From the line-up from Spiritual Black Dimensions only vocalist Shagrath and guitarist Silenoz are in the current line-up. The bass player and second vocalist Vortex was a session musician on Spiritual Black Dimensions He only sang on a few songs on the album. On this album the keyboards are very dominant. Sometimes to dominant, because it is sometimes hard to clearly hear the other instruments. Compared to Enthroned Darkness Triumphant, the keyboard sounds are more diverse. The keyboard sound gives the album an evil orchestral/theatrical atmosphere. The guitar playing is good, but not as good as on Dimmu Borgir’s later albums. The guitar playing is simpler. The solos on the other hand are superb. Guitarist Astennu played all the solos. Unfortunately the solos on later albums are not as impressive as on Spiritual Black Dimensions. The drummer Tjodalv has a totally different style and sound than Barker, who played on Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia and Death Cult Armageddon. Tjodalv is a less technical player, but has a very recognizable drum style. His style fits the music perfectly, I really like his blast beats. Shagrath’s vocals has improved compared to Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, they are more diverse. Also session-musician Vortex sings a few high and clean vocal lines. These vocals give the songs an extra element.
The music is rather diverse. Do not expect an album with only blast beats. A song like “The Inside And The Catharsis” is a lengthy complex song, where all elements from the band are combined. There are fast parts, slow parts, brutal guitars, classical keys, Black Metal vocals, and clean vocals. It is a perfect song. On the other hand “Behind The Curtains Of Night Phantasmagoria” is a fast and brutal, but short song. The song “Dreamside Dominions” reminds me of “In Death’s Embrace”, from Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, because it is also a “catchy” keyboard driven song. “Arcane Lifeforce Mysteria” is a very interesting song. It starts out as an atmospheric song with clean guitars and Gothic sounding keys. The guitarists plays a few doomy guitars, before all hell breaks loose and the bands starts playing at full blast. What a way to built-up a song and end this superb album.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who likes diverse symphonic Black Metal.