Dimmu Borgir Biography
Last updated: 06/29/2012 12:00:00 PM
Pronounced "dim-moo bore-gear", the Dimmuborgir is a large area of unusually shaped lava fields east of Lake Mývatn, on Iceland. The Dimmuborgir area is composed of various caves and rock formations. It would seem that this has been formed from a lava-lake, out of which molten lava flowed and left behind strange formations. The most famous cave being Kirkjan - the Church - high with a large gothic style vault. Dimmu=foggy/dark, Borgir=castle/fortress.
Dimmu Borgir is a melodic black metal band hailing from Norway. Shagrath, Silenoz and Tjodalv initiated the band in 1993. Shortly after, Brynjard Tristan joined to play bass, and Stian Aarstad joined for keyboard duties. Dimmu Borgir was born. They are a band which success is measured with such bands as Emperor, Kreator and Cradle of Filth. I will without a doubt say that Dimmu Borgir is the best black metal band in the world today (webmaster's comment).
Haunting keyboard melodies, aggressive guitar work, destructive drums, grim/raw vocals and a touch of melodic/operatic vocals characterize Dimmu Borgir's sound. They are musically inspired by 80's black metal and heavy metal. Classic composers, like Wagner and Dvorak, also inspire them.
Dimmu Borgir began their career by releasing a 7" EP entitled "Inn I Evighetens Morke" ("Into the Eternity of Darkness") on Necromantic Gallery Productions in 1994. It sold out within a few weeks, marking the start of a successful and magnificent band. Dimmu Borgir existed in the black metal scene for quite some time but did not get the recognition they deserved until late 1994, when they released their debut full length album "For All Tid"--a slow, dark and atmospheric recording--on No Colour Records. The album features contributions by Aldrahn from Dødheimsgard and Vicotnik from Ved Buens Ende. The lineup on their debut album was: Shagrath - Drums & Vocals (Guitar on track 5), Erkekjetter Silenoz - Guitar & Vocals, Tjodalv - Guitar, Brynjard Tristan - Bass, Stian Aarstad - Synthesizers, Piano & Effects.
In 1996 they released one of the most important albums in black metal history, "Stormblåst", on a new label, Cacophonous records. During that time period, this album showed that Dimmu Borgir was one of the better melodic black metal bands. They took a big step forwards, towards the distinctive sound in which Dimmu Borgir is known for today. Mature song writing, with good variance of tempos, a strong classical influence and one of the best black metal sounds out there. "Stormblåst" showed an increase in speed, yet maintained the melody and atmosphere. Lineup on this recording was: Shagrath - Lead Guitar & Vocals, Erkekjetter Silenoz - Rhythm Guitar & Vocals, Tjodalv - Drum & Percussion, Brynjard Tristan - Bass Guitar, Stian Aarstad - Synthesizers & Piano.
For the first two full lengths, Dimmu Borgir wrote their lyrics in Norwegian, however after the release of "Stormblåst", they changed the lyrics into English. The main reason was that the majority of the audience did not understand the lyrics and so Dimmu Borgir wanted use a popular language to communicate their message--to reach a broader audience.
After "Stormblåst", Dimmu Borgir released the "Devil's Path" MCD on Hot Records, in 1996. Shagrath actually worked in Hot records and he was responsible for the signing and promotion of bands. "Devil's Path" is a MCD with 4 songs, and includes a brilliant song entitled "Devil's Path", so it's worth purchasing this release to complete your Dimmu Borgir discography. For the MCD, Nagash, who at that time was in Troll and The Kovenant (previously called Covenant) was recruited to replace Tristan on bass. Stian Aarstad did not perform keyboard duties on this album due to the fact that he had to take care of business regarding the Norwegian army. Line up on this recording was: Shagrath - Guitar, Vocals & Keyboard, Erkekjetter Silenoz - Guitar, Tjodalv - Drums, Nagash - Bass.
In 1997 Dimmu Borgir released their masterpiece "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant"--an engaging, powerful and moving recording. One of the most important black metal releases this century (webmaster's comment). "Enthrone…" marked a move to a bigger label, impeccable production (by the famous Peter Tagtren) and the success of 150,000+ in record sales. Due to these reasons, many have claimed that Dimmu Borgir have sold out. This is not true. The fact is that with this release they have made black metal available for a much broader audience and with their melodic-yet-still-aggressive sound, they became one of the biggest names in black metal. This was a great achievement, and being a hard working, dedicated and persistent band, Dimmu Borgir deserve their high status. "Enthrone…" was released on their new label, Nuclear Blast, after their old record label failed to give their best to promote Dimmu Borgir. If you are curious as to why the lyrics of "Tormentor of Christian Souls" are not include in the booklet is because Nuclear Blast did not want to be responsible for printing them! Line up on this recording was: Shagrath - Guitar & Vocals, Erkekjetter Silenoz - Guitar, Tjodalv - Drums, Nagash - Bass, Stian Aarstad - Synthesizers and piano.
After the recording of "Enthrone…" the band hired Astennu to play guitars during live performances, so Shagrath could fully concentrate on his vocals and stage performance. Astennu replaced Jens Petter who was a member for a short while between "Stormblåst" and "Enthrone…" Astennu is originally from Australia and came to Norway to record his solo project Carpe Tenebrum, which was previously called Lord Kaos. He then played guitar in The Kovenant and after a short time, became aware of his priorities, quit, and is presently a full-time member of Dimmu Borgir. After the "Enthrone…" tour, Dimmu Borgir had a mini-tour where Tjodalv left the band for a few months to be with his family and newborn child. His replacement was Aggressor, filling in as a session drummer, who is currently with Aura Noir. In the "Enthrone…" tour, Stian Aarstad had trouble participating in some of the performances and was fired from the band. Stian Aarstad has now joined the ranks of the Norwegian black metal band Enthral. His replacement was Kimberley Goss, who has previously worked with Therion, Ancient and currently, Sinergy. But after an incredibly brief stay with Dimmu Borgir, Kimberly Goss had to leave the band, due to the fact that she was a session member. Her replacement--on a very short notice--was Mustis, a young keyboard player from Norway and acquaintance of Shagrath since early 1998. He had his first live appearance with Dimmu Borgir at the Dynamo Open Air festival 1998. Mustis has not played in any significant bands previous to Dimmu Borgir, but he has added a new element to the band, and the new sound can be heard on "Spiritual…" Mustis had a heavy influence on this album, considering 60% of Dimmu Borgir songs are created on keyboard first.
A very nice surprise was the re-release of Dimmu Borgir's debut album, "For all Tid", on Nuclear Blast in 1998. This album contains all of the original material and includes two songs from their 7" EP "Inn I Evighetens Morke" ("Into the Eternity of Darkness"). In the same year, Dimmu Borgir released a MCD, "Godless Savage Garden", which is also on Nuclear Blast. The album contains 2 new songs, 2 re-releases, one cover and 3 live recordings. This release was only intended to be a "goodie" while the fans were waiting for the new album, "Spiritual…" This MCD was rated so good that it was nominated for "Spellemannsprisen", a Norwegian Grammy, in the metal category. "Godless…" was nominated together with albums from The Kovenant and Mundanus Imperium. The whole show was aired on Norwegian television and Dimmu Borgir played "Grotesquery Concealed" live, from the "Spiritual…" album. The performance was the only highlight of the entire show. Unfortunately Dimmu Borgir did not win the Grammy, but The Kovenant did, for their "Nexus Polaris" album.
The recording of "Spiritual Black Dimensions" once again took place in the infamous Abyss Studios with Peter Tagtren (Hypocrisy, Pain, The Abyss). Dimmu Borgir achieved an outstanding sound, complexly layered and powerfully enchanting. "Phantasmagoria" was the name of the song first performed live at 1998 Dynamo festival. Another song from "Spiritual..." was released on the Beauty in Darkness Vol.3 compilation, on Nuclear Blast, entitled "The Insight And The Catharsis", serving as a teaser before the albums official release.
Released officially on March 1, 1999, by Nuclear Blast, "Spiritual..." took the record stores by storm and proved once again that Dimmu Borgir are the kings of the dark throne. Prior to the release, many have been curious as to what direction the music would take. Those in doubt of Dimmu Borgir's dedication to extreme music were forced to face reality when "Spiritual…" proved to be their most complex and extreme album to date. After this recording Nagash decided to quit Dimmu Borgir to concentrate fully on The Kovenant. The temporary replacement, Simen Hestnaes (also known as I.C.S. Vortex) from Borknagar contributed to this recording with clean and operatic style vocals. He is also the session bassist on the "Spiritual…" tour 1999. In late 1999 Simen became (as I think everybody hoped for) the permanent replacement on bass and full member of Dimmu Borgir. The line up on this recording was: Shagrath - Vocals, Erkekjetter Silenoz - Guitar, Astennu - Lead Guitar, Tjodalv - Drums & Percussion, Nagash - Bass, Mustis - Synthesizers & Piano.
A month after the release of "Spiritual... ", Dimmu Borgir made a split album with Old Man's Child, titled "Sons of Satan Gather for Attack." Also in the same month Astennu released his side project, Carpe Tenebrum, entitled "Mirrored Hate painting". This project involved vocals from Nagash and contains similar elements as Dimmu Borgir, only faster. Both of these albums were released through Hammerheart Records, and more information is available at the following link: Hammerheart Records
In the early stages of the 1999 Dimmu Borgir tour, right after their crushing gigs in New Jersey and Montreal, Tjodalv decided to leave the band due to musical and personal differences. He has a family to take care of and cannot do the immense touring of Dimmu Borgir. Tjodalv's replacement should be familiar to everyone, it is none other than the godly Nick Barker, former Cradle Of Filth drummer. Nick has recently finished drumming duties with Borknagar on the North American "Kings of Terror Tour". Nick will release a new album with his side project "Lockup", the album is titled "Pleasure paves sewers". The album was recorded in Peter’s Abyss Studio in Sweden and released 22.11.99 by Nuclear Blast.
Dimmu Borgir was about to start the recording of a new album in March 2000 the bandwas booked into Abyss studio with producer Peter Tagtgren to record the yet untitled new album in March and April 2000. This did not happend because they needed more time to finish the new material. They also have had some financial problems that restricted the rehersal time, because Nick still live in England and could not afford to come over to norway as often as he should have.
Further line-up changes took place during the writing period for their new album when the band fired guitarist Astennu due to various personal reasons. Astennu's replacement ended up being a man named Galder (Tom Rune Andersen) the "Mastermind of Old Mans Child" who is known for his brilliant guitar playing in Norwegian black metallers Old Man's Child. With a firm line-up now intact Dimmu Borgir entered Sweden's Fredman Studio (At The Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity) in Fall 2000 to record their highly anticipated new album, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. Once again the band created a masterpiece in aggressive music with outstanding atmosphere and audibly evil songs. The songwriting is at its highest peak making Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia the band's strongest release to date (proven by such standout tracks as"Blessings Upon The Throne Of Tyranny", "Kings Of The Carnival Creation","The Mealstrom Mephisto" and "Architecture Of A Genocidal Nature").
As an added bonus, the band recorded various tracks with the Gothenburg symphonic orchestra yielding astonishing conclusions sure to turn heads. The end result is nothing short of perfection from the complex guitar work to the dynamic keyboard tinkering. Drummer Nick Barker blasts through the material with devastating force and fluidity while Hestnaes' bass rumbles supremely below as he adds intelligently lays down well-placed backing vocals for added enhancement. Vocalist Shagrath pushes himself to an underworldly level never sounding more sinister and ferocious.
Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia is not just another Dimmu Borgir release that so many people are expecting to hear by any means. It possesses its own dark emotions and exciting creativity that only a band as experienced as Dimmu Borgir can deliver leaving all other "top tiered" black metal bands flailing helplessly in their wake.
Another chapter is in Dimmu Borgir history is about to take place as they hit the roads in March 2001 to give their brilliant piece of work to the thousands of loyal fans around the world, well.....people "You wanted the best you got the best..... Dimmu Borgir!" show up and prepare to se another awesome show performed by Dimmu Borgir.
Written by Frank Holm