It’s been a long seven years for fans of the Norwegian black metallers. Whispers lurked in the shadows, faint glimmers of light flickered and were then extinguished, crushing hopes and dreams. Finally, the news that the Borgirian hordes were desperate for leaked out, and with it the delicious taste of the forbidden fruits. Interdimensional Summit appeared, and the agonising wait suddenly felt worth every minute. A massively addictive song, huge in every dimension, and with enormous production values twitching the sinews, this was the appetiser that confirmed the exile hadn’t been in vain. The follow up Council Of Wolves And Snakes didn’t quite keep the fires burning as brightly, its different style not as instant.
Two minutes into The Unveiling and there is no doubt that the unleashing of the powers that Dimmu have been gathering over the past few years is imminent. The choral voices, the blast beats, the symphonic elements that soar and sweep blending with crushing intensity, technically intricate and achingly brilliant. Interdimensional Summit follows, a song that improves with every play. Two tracks in and the anticipation is bursting into sheer joy and astonishment at a band who are now in their 25th year. The raven black sound combines with their lavish symphonic orchestration is pushed to the limit on ÆTheric, allowing no time to draw breath.
Eonian captures the organic sound that the band were aiming for; the song writing core of the band remains Shagrath, and the twin guitar attack of Silenoz and Galder, whilst the familiar faces of Drummer Daray and keyboarder Gerlioz are still part of the team, and Gaute Storaas helped with the choral arrangements for the majestic voices of the Schola Cantrum Choir.
Council Of Wolves And Snakes pushes the boundaries, possibly infuriating the purists but if that disappoints in any way, then it is worth knowing that the folklorist elements and different style have proven to be one of the band’s favourites. Any negativity is swept away with the blistering The Empyrean Phoenix a delight, the devilish elements creating an atmospheric explosion that cascades and engulfs the listener. However, of this is just an aperitif to the majestic Lightbringer, a behemoth of a tune, which is matched in ferocious power by I Am Sovereign, the longest track on the album and one of the most complex and involved. The synergy which surges between the raw black metal and symphonic elements is magical. Eonian offers the listener the opportunity to interpret the music with their own eyes and ears, with Shagrath offering the following clue “Eonian represents the illusion of time, everything that is and always has been. For us, it also marks the 25th anniversary of Dimmu Borgir and the album itself is a tribute to our own history and the Norwegian black metal history.”
Although some of the songs on the album were written as far back as 2012, Eonian is a complete piece of work, which flows from start to finish. The ethereal and haunting closing track Rite Of Passage is the perfect finale to an album that is astonishing and incredible. With the band admitting that there was ‘no formula, no absolute', this is the conclusion of a journey along a path which even Dimmu Borgir would have been unable to predict. “We're definitely a band that does not follow any set of 'rules', if any; we're out to break them - for sure. Not that it's a goal per se, it's just who we are”. Quite magnificent in every aspect. Album of the year? It’s going to take something spectacular to even get close. 10/10