Becoming overly frustrated with the direction some of my favorite bands are heading these days, I decided to go back through my music catalog and listen to some older stuff I never checked out previously. I ran across Dimmu Borgir and decided to head back to their second album Stormblåst which I cannot recall ever hearing. For those who need an explanation, Stormblåst is Dimmu Borgir’s 2nd full length album released originally in 1996. While it was redone in 2006, I have yet to move on from the original release to hear that one so this please take that into account while reading my thoughts.
Being more familiar with the band from their release of Death Cult Armageddon in 2003 and the more recent Abrahadabra, I can safely say that Stormblast is one of Dimmu Borgir’s best albums I have heard thus far and surpasses much of the content they have recently released.
While the band is currently on hiatus, Dimmu Borgir’s last few albums have been heavily symphonic with high production values. Of course an album from 1996 would be much less refined production-wise. Stormblåst is an album that requires no need for refinement. It strips down the genre of Symphonic Black Metal to its roots and sets the example. Tracks such as the opening Alt lys er svunnet hen jump back and forth between slow and fast pace, with a traditional piano intro and light symphonic elements. Shagrath’s first scream on this song is breathtaking as it goes into heavier parts.
Broderskapets Ring is another great track and begins with a stagnant drum beat and guitar riffs. The song marches onward like a demonic horde with Shagrath’s vocals giving great atmosphere. The song is simplistic, yet contains characteristics I do enjoy. Dødsferd is another good one with a folk-y lead guitar line and is a little faster. The album contains just the right amount of symphonic elements and never did I find myself thinking it was over saturated with them. There are also piano interludes throughout the album (such as the entirety of Sorgens Kammer) which offer a refreshing change of pace.
Overall, I am quite impressed with this album. I find the entire album very likable and can definitely see why Dimmu Borgir got where they are today. I highly recommend checking it out.
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal, Black Metal
Label: Cacophonous Records
Location: Jessheim/Oslo, Norway
Release: January 25th, 1996