Release Date: 4th May 2018
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Black metal
Things have been relatively quiet in the Dimmu Borgir camp in the last few years. Having finished touring their last release Abrahadabra in 2014, and with the exception of the live release Sons of Northern Darkness, it had seemed that the band had gone into hibernation. Yet here we are now with their long awaited follow up, Eonian. With such a long gap between recordings there is inevitably going to a considerable amount of hype surrounding the record, and some fans will inevitably be disappointed. Despite the bands claim leading up to the release that Eonian will be “more like their earlier material”, do not expect this to be a return to For all Tid. What we have instead is a mixture of everything they’ve done post Enthrone Darkness Triumphant.
Straight from the first track, aptly titled ‘Unveiling’, its clear that this is a departure from the overblown orchestral elements found on Abrahadabra. The whole album is underpinned by electronics, whether that be the pounding industrial beat on ‘Unveiling’, to the creepy sounding effects on the opening of ‘A council of Wolves’, and the small details like the subtle keyboards that accent many of the riffs. It’s not something that has been seen from the band since Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, and it highlights the attention to detail that has gone into Eonian.
Dimmu have always been known for their epic symphonic elements but I feel like they took it too its logical conclusion on Abrahadabra, and I’m glad to report that Dimmu have ramped up the metal for Eonian. The guitars are brought right to the top of the mix, and is some of the best guitar work in all of their discography. It can be melting your face on one minute on ‘Archaic Correspondence’ then be haunting and esoteric the next on ‘A Council of Wolves and Snakes’. With the orchestral parts taking more of a back seat to the guitars, it would lead some to assume that the theatrical elements have been toned down but this is not the case. Those parts are still prominent on the record, but instead of taking center stage they play a supporting role, and it makes the parts where they are used much more impacting.
It’s impressive to see that even 25 years into their career, the band still experimenting with their sounds. From the mightily catchy “Interdimensional Summit”, to the tribal chants and post metal tendencies on ‘A Council of Wolves of Snakes’, Eonian brings a host of new sounds to their already diverse back catalogue. The hype that the 8 year wait has inevitably brought will no doubt leave some disappointed, especially the black metal diehards, but this feels like an album that the band wanted to make, and being this far into their career they have earnt that right. Time will tell where this will rank in their catalogue, but at this moment in time I would rank as one of their best, if not the best. Truly worth the 8 year wait.
Recommended track: Interdimensional Summit