Dimmu Borgir

For All Tid
(Nuclear Blast - 1995)
Their first album. This one reminds me at times of Old Mans Child only the emphasis is more on the atmosphere rather than the riffing. It's melodic black metal with harsh vocals and some fast beats yet has a soft touch that even borders on the Dismal Euphony sound at times. It's also got that epic sound aided by very good keyboards. Production is lower but that usually doesn't bother me - it sometimes even adds to the mood. This one also has the softest sound of their albums, it's easier on the emotions and even a little atmospheric but is also cold. This is why I say it reminds me of Dismal Euphony, cold and harsh at times yet easy listening (relative). Very recommended.
(Cacophonous - 1996)
Ahhh one of my favorite styles - symphonic black metal. Dimmu Borgir have sometimes been called cheesy because of this album, but that is only some of their classical keyboard-driven tunes which to my ears are simply great! It's not all the same though, and it varies from quick epic and melodic songs, to harsh almost Norwegian black metal. Most songs have at least some strong synths though, and many sections are completely synth-driven. Not as synth-dominant as Arcturus at all, but sometimes close. The vocals are quite harsh and raspy. Fourth track is a surprising pop-ish and slightly cheesy synth/piano solo but I can take it. Otherwise this is a must buy for fans of this style. Their harshest release.
Devil's Path EP
(Hot - 1996)
4 songs. Master of Disharmony from their Enthrone Darkness Triumphant album. And then one more staggering song in the same vein (Devils' Path). Warm, melodic, powerful, breathtaking black metal with good synths. Then we have two versions of a cover of Celtic Frost's Nocturnal Fear. Quite a striking contrast as this song has a racing, romping, primitive sound compared to the others, very reminiscent of some Venom/Bathory. The second version is more faithful to Celtic Frost even vocal-wise! I'm not a big fan of short Ep's unless they have enough new songs from the band itself, so my recommendation is to get it only if you can find it for cheap.
Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
(Nuclear Blast - 1997)
This album demands full attention as it rips through your emotions - devastating! The pop/cheesy keyboards and pianos from their earlier albums have mostly gone (not completely though), and we are left with mostly symphonic dark keys in the Arcturus-vein. There is a much darker influence on this album though and if I didn't know beforehand I would mistake a couple of the fast tracks for something out of an Emperor CD. So, mix a big dose of Emperor with earlier Dimmu and maybe a dash of Arcturus and Dissection and you've basically got Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. There is none of the Norwegian cold harsh element that they had on Stormblast though, this is a warm killer symphonic masterpiece. Get this or die.

The Last Exit 1996-

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