Darkness will always rule !!!
Just before the turn of the millennium, the third wave of blackmetal bands from the 1998-99 era was led by Norway's DIMMU BORGIR. Other runners in this dark-race included DARK FUNERAL, MARDUK and the fashionable CRADLE OF FILTH. Yet some of them were finally breaking away from the crust, the grime and the straight-up shitty production of the genre's early recordings, acts such has EMPEROR, SATYRICON, IMMORTAL and the aforementioned DIMMU BORGIR wanted a bigger piece of the pie, left vacant from the deathmetal drought of the mid-90s.
Still hot from the success of 1997's Enthrone Darkness Triumphant CD, 1999's Spiritual Black Dimensions is a major step-up: a trend-setting blackmetal offering, filled with classical overtone and plenty of aggression to match. Although, SBD's pristine production, courtesy of scene-savior Peter Tägtgren, was criticized for been too polished, too clean, too "white" ...diametrically, this openness gave room for the darkness to shine throughout this grandiose 54minute opus.
"Reptile" breaks the gates of hell wide open into the hellish oblivion that is Spiritual Black Dimensions, the opening track that features new-comer Vortex with his majestic clean-vocals, an asset that brought the band to new heights. The dream continues on "Dreamside Dominions" while "The Promised Future Aeons" drives into high gear with the keyboard rhythms and some impressive lead guitar works. The intensity intensifies in every department on "The Blazing Monoliths Of Defiance" a wicked heavy-pounding number.
At that point in time, the term epic-blackmetal had not yet been labeled but is clearly displayed on "The Insight And The Catharsis" where the piano elevates this fast-paced Armageddon into a powerful symphonic spine-chillin' blackmetal monolith.
Thru time, DIMMU BORGIR would go on to conquer more territories with their subsequent releases, but the backbone of it all really kicked-off with Spiritual Black Dimensions. Meanwhile the Norwegian steam-roller also managed to become a breeding-ground for some of BM's biggest artists: Nagash, Snowy Shaw, Galder, Nick Barker and Hellhammer. Still today, the 1998-99 era is a sweet-spot for most of the key-players in this genre and DIMMU's 4th album is one that left no stones unturned.
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