Concert Review: Dimmu Borgir – Newport Music Hall – 12/09/2010

Norway’s symphonic sons of Satan (that is, Dimmu Borgir) returned to America with the ‘Darkness Reborn Tour’ & we were lucky enough to get it here in Columbus – versus all the times I’ve had to drive to Cleveland to see this band. Or not see them, as once they canceled on the day of the show due to bus problems. Accompanying them for the duration of the tour was Enslaved, Blood Red Throne & Dawn of Ashes.

First up were the masked ghouls known as Dawn Of Ashes & I gotta say, I really liked ’em. I’ve always said there needed to be a masked band that looked like they walked straight out of a haunted house, but sounded like pure Death Metal brutality. Vola – I have my wish! Ok ok, DoA is more Blackened Death (if we’re gonna get caught up in genre names) but their mixture of Symphonic Black Metal with Grand Guignol is a logical progression of both the Death & Black genres. They look like what I always thought Cannibal Corpse should – bloody & creepy as hell. Some of my buddies thought there was too much similarity to Slipknot, but if you watch the video below I think you’ll agree that although the influence may be felt, DoA have gone in a much more macabre direction. My only regret is I didn’t pick up a CD at the time.

Blood Red Throne followed with a more traditional Death/Black Metal set including galloping rhythms, blast beats and the sepulchral vocal stylings of Vald (himself, quite the bad-ass onstage). Very oldschool minus all the corpsepaint, but a real group of asskickers that were completely worthy of their opening slot.

Enslaved were next, yet another ‘bucket list’ band as me likey the Viking Metal very much. But unlike their peers such as Amon Amarth, Enslaved didn’t come out with horned helmets or standing on a dragon ship (which still would’ve been cool!) nor did they bore us with lengthy folk epics about their love for dead, hairy women. What we got was uptempo, guitar driven Folk/Black metal played tight & loud and with a bit of showmanship by vocalist/bassist Grutle Kjellson. Loved hearing ‘Ethica Odini’ live, hell – their entire set was way better than I feared. Was also impressed to see guitarist Ivar Bjornson double-fisting rum & cokes after their set – that’s a real man for ya’!

Dimmu Borgir then took the stage with an impressive, state of the art setup that included spotlights mounted like fingers on outstretched hands to either side of the rear stage & enormous digital control boards for both sound & lighting – nifty! Despite being down two pivotal members (bassist/vocalist ICS Vortex and keyboardist Mustis both having been fired about a year ago) the band still had the amazing, swelling orchestral sound for which they’re known. Truly awesome! In fact, the only noticeable difference that I found was vocalist Shagrath having to sing both parts on songs like ‘Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse’, which he did by utilizing vocal filters when covering Vortex’s part of each song. Not as good as when ICS did it, but a suitable substitution I think. Songs included ‘Xibir’, ‘Spellbound by the Devil’, ‘IndoctriNation’, ‘Dimmu Borgir’, ‘Gateways’, ‘The Chosen Legacy’, ‘Chess With The Abyss’, ‘Born Treacherous’ (which I really enjoyed, BTW), ‘A Jewel Traced Through Coal’, ‘The Blazing Monoliths of Defiance’, ‘Vredesbyrd’, ‘The Serpentine Offering’, ‘Puritania’, ‘Progenies of the Great Apocalypse’, ‘Mourning Palace’ & ‘Perfection or Vanity’.

As always, Dimmu delivered an epic show which is why, despite the seemingly endless line-up changes, they continue to be one of my favorite bands. But now, here’s one of my NEW favorites, check out Dawn of Ashes video below for the song ‘Transformation Within Fictional Mutation’. Love it!

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