Eerie shadows are lurking in the dark corners of spring 2018; the spirit that denies, a force able to distort our conception of space and time. Over seven years, deathlike silence has filled the halls of the world’s biggest black metal forge, DIMMU BORGIR, whilst powers have been gathering to resurrect the band right in time for their 25th anniversary. Now they finally mark their return with a vicious work of art that can be defined as timeless in the truest sense of the word: »Eonian«.
Conceived in the heart of the Norwegian black metal scene in 1993, DIMMU BORGIR quickly broke free from the boundaries of the genre, daring to combine a traditional raven black sound with opulent symphonic orchestration. Soon they turned into pioneers of their field, forging groundbreaking albums such as »Enthrone Darkness Triumphant« (1997), »Spiritual Black Dimensions« (1999), or »Death Cult Armageddon« (2003), invading the entire world with headline tours and eventually turning into the most influential act of their genre after nine full-length studio releases. Seven years have passed since their latest manifesto »Abrahadabra«, they are now returning to rip apart the space-time continuum with »Eonian«.
From a musical point of view, the band explores their boundaries in every direction with this new record, with the black metal parts even rougher and darker than before, and the epic, orchestral moments pushed to their ultimate limits. This time DIMMU BORGIR were aiming for a more organic sound for their devilish offerings, and reached out to Jens Bogren, who engineered the 10 new tracks inside his Fascination Street studios. The cover artwork was designed in fascinating detail by Zbigniew M. Bielak.
The songwriting core of DIMMU BORGIR furthermore consists of charismatic vocalist Shagrath, as well as the string wizards Silenoz and Galder, but other familiar faces also emerge from the darkness: Drummer Daray and keyboarder Gerlioz are still part of the team, and Gaute Storaas helped with the choral arrangements for the majestic voices of the Schola Cantrum Choir.
The lyrical theme of the Norwegians’ tenth studio work follows a philosophical concept, dealing with the illusion of time and Luciferian codes:
“Time, when not approaching it from the construct we're used to can't be defined and thus it is illusory”, explains axemaster Silenoz. “There's only an 'eternal now', which the album title is already hinting at. When we travel between the worlds seen and unseen, the perception of time ceases to exist, it has no function. Our energy is our torch and our compass when we make rifts and pierce through our the veil - when we go beyond.” Silenoz refuses to grant more information than that, hence why DIMMU BORGIR's albums have always been open for interpretation and felt somewhat like a dark room in which every listener believes to see something different in front of their light seeking eyes.
“»Eonian« represents the illusion of time, everything that is and always has been. For us, it also marks the 25th anniversary of DIMMU BORGIR and the album itself is a tribute to our own history and the Norwegian black metal history”, adds Shagrath.
Since their debut album »For All Tid« from 1994, DIMMU BORGIR have always released their epic new works in regular intervals, but this time around, the Norwegians couldn’t tame the beast of their creativity that quickly, and therefore they took the time it needed to slowly weave their collective ideas into these nine new tracks:
“Some of the songs on this album were written in 2012. All of us have our own pre-production studios and just write separately, without too much communication at first. Over a time period of one or two years we collect our ideas and then get together and try to get the best out of the material”, says Shagrath. “Sometimes this can be quite challenging, because we have different tastes and opinions – but that makes it also more interesting for the listener, since we want to create music that makes you feel as if you don’t know what’s behind the next corner.”
Silenoz agrees: “The main challenge is to hold back the beast. You're so into what you're doing that sometimes it's easy to forget that you have to approach the beast without waking it up right away, because you know you won't be able to control it. It's actually pointless to trick yourself to believe you can ever control art... It's like going into a lion's den with a rope tied around your waist in case you need to be pulled out real quick. Being our own producers also mean we have to step out of our own egos and look at our material from an 'outside' perspective. This is another challenging part of the songwriting process because you put so much of yourself into it - and then to start shaving off things, trim things down instead of adding - is a tough process. Letting go can sometimes be really hard but when we step out of ourselves and look into the mouth of the beast, only then we're able to distinguish what to feed it next.”
Thus, both classic black metal invasions such as 'Lightbringer', but also highly symphonic charged anthems like 'Interdimensional Summit' gather on »Eonian«, with one of the band’s personal favourites being the experimental, folkloristic ‘Council of Wolves And Snakes'. Risking a look far beyond the horizon, this song proves that the band follows ‘no formula, no absolute', as Silenoz vows, and shows that the path sometimes guides them to places they would have never expected to end up when they started their journey.
On the previous album, »Abrahadabra«, the Norwegians irritated some militant black metal elitists by appearing in opulent white / gray costumes. And although they chose a different appearance for »Eonian«, DIMMU BORGIR always keep new surprises in store:
“We're definitely a band that does not follow any set of 'rules', if any; we're out to break them - for sure. Not that it's a goal per se, it's just who we are. We knew the white/grey look would raise a few eyebrows but whatever we do, or not do, we'll end up raising eyebrows”, Silenoz states and Shagrath adds: “The album feels like a rebirth, but also like a logical continuation. Our music comes naturally. We’re not sitting down in a circle, thinking about what we could do next – it has to come with a flow and with whatever is in your mind at that time, it needs to be spontaneous and is exactly what we could do at that time. Each one of our releases was linked to a certain time period of our life.”
After having released the live DVD »Forces Of The Northern Night« in spring 2017 which provided a monumental overview of the shows that DIMMU BORGIR had performed with a big orchestra and choir, the time is over in which fans needed to watch the band members on screen – hence now they are ready to storm the stages of the world again. The first headline slots at Europe's major festivals, such as Wacken and Hellfest, have already been confirmed, and further live plans are currently being forged for the second half of this year. The Lightbringers are back – and they’ve come to split apart the heavens:
“We obviously rely on our fans, if a band says they don't care - they're lying. We're definitely ready to work hard to convince the 'doubters', the 'dwellers ready to strike', that what we have to offer is still very much valid. A new generation of fans and listeners who come from a different 'time' than we do are out there now, not shy to let artists hear it! And we're not shy to let them hear what we've been up to!”
1 - The Unveiling
2 - Interdimensional Summit
3 - Ætheric
4 - Council Of Wolves And Snakes
5 - The Empyrean Phoenix
6 - Lightbringer
7 - I Am Sovereign
8 - Archaic Correspondence
9 - Alpha Aeon Omega
10 - Rite Of Passage