Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Reviews: Dimmu Borgir, Slaughter The Giant, Bush, Diamond Chazer (Reviews By Erick Willand, Zak Skane, David Karpel & Ben Baljak)

Dimmu Borgir - Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, Remixed and Remastered (Nuclear Blast Records) [Erick Willand]

A band like Dimmu Borgir really doesn’t need an introduction. Even if you’re on the heavy metal sidelines then chances are you’ve at least heard the name, you’ve seen them mentioned in other reviews or heard other Metal Heads talk about them. Whatever the case, I believe that if you’re here reading this blog, then you have a passing knowledge of who Dimmu Borgir are, so keeping that and word count in mind I’m not going to give you the whole history lesson or attempt to cover the band member list.

Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia originally dropped in 2001 and I remember it. I remember the impact it had on me on a personal level, on my own writing and art. I listened to it nonstop. Now in 2022 the Dimmu Borgir camp has decided to remix and remaster this extreme occult metal classic and as usual, I question the need for such activity. Is this necessary?
The answer is yes. Fear And Wonder, the opening instrumental piece is the first indication. Always a soaring, majestic intro it now comes in crisp and clear and it heralds Blessings On The Throne Of Tyranny as it always has, perfectly. The difference now is two-fold and found in the drum sound and the vocal clarity, elevated, separated and reassembled to a fever pitch. Kings Of The Carnival Creation, always one of my favourite songs with it’s strange creepy circus intro feels deeper and somehow bigger all at once. 

Hybrid Stigmata - The Apostasy with it’s intense string instrument intro and opening growls seems to breathe occultist breath straight from the speakers, a classic Dimmu Borgir song to be sure. Architecture Of A Genocidal Nature with more straightforward beginning quickly grows in delivery and lyrical scope and now each detail can be picked out and heard. 

The mid bridge that comes just around the 2:30 mark feels less like an intrusion and more a part of the proceedings, and again I have to mention how clear this sounds, especially the piano elements that now come in above the maelstrom but fade back cleanly as the piece moves on into Puritania. The shortest and musically strangest track on the album with a slew of industrial bits and what I’m guessing are movie samples though I’m honestly not sure. It’s a short mean track that feels a little like a misplaced intro track, and to be fair, does fall at what could be considered the midpoint of the original album length.

IndoctriNation then comes blasting forth and battle is joined once more with signature Dimmu Borgir arctic blasts at their rejuvenated finest. Epic, symphonic and lyrically pointed this track slays now in new found glory and a personal highlight of the remix. For the sake of time and word count I’m going to say almost the same thing for the next few tracks, The Maelstrom Mephisto (another fave track by Dimmu), Absolute Sole RightSympozium, and Perfection Or Vanity all have that same urgent clear as a bell speed and aimed weaponized lyrics. The thunderous drums, swirling guitars and vibrant keys, these are the songs that made me a fan and hearing them refreshed is fantastic and something I didn’t even know I needed.

The original release of Puritanical, and the version I have ended with the instrumental Perfection Or Vanity and thus places the rest of these songs in the “bonus material” category. Which we all know can be hit or miss. Burn In Hell is Dimmu covering Twisted Sister and it is fantastic, I listened to that twice. Devil’s Path is another song that got the remix treatment but I honestly do not know where this track originally came from. However it’s a ripper of a song and another feather in Dimmu Borgir’s metal cred cap if you ask me.
And this brings me to Dust Of Cold Memories, a collection of pre-production tracks from the making of Puritanical. I have to admit straight out that I’ve never been a fan of this kind of thing, I know some die-hard-try-hard fans will eat this up but it falls completely out of my wheelhouse. On a creative level it is interesting to hear the process but I can’t see myself listening to these tracks multiple times, or ever again to be honest. I usually recommend listening with headphones but not here, the levels fading in and out can and will catch you off guard to annoying effect. I feel like maybe some live tracks or even audio interviews would have been a better use here. 

However this does not necessarily tarnish this release, the remixes are solid, crisp and enjoyable and the updated cover art is leaps and bounds above the original cover, which was immature-ish even back in 2001. I would also like to point out the vinyl set for this release is fantastic, a bit pricey at $75.99 USD but if you’re like me and a big enough Dimmu Borgir fan then this should find its way into your collection. I could have written another two pages here, diving into the lyrics, the costumes and chewing through every song, but that is just not happening right now, at least not yet. In the end, points for updated art and presentation bring this to a solid 6/10.       

Slaughter The Giant – Depravity (Hammerheart Records) [Zak Skane]

Formed in 2018 the Belguim melodic death metal Slaughter The Giant have had a very busy four year schedule, by 2019 the band had already released their debut E.P Asylum For The Damned on Hammerheart Records and though out the Covid Pandemic the band used the opportunity to write their debut album Depravity.

When it comes to listening to their debut album Depravity…put it this way, if you want old school melodic death metal?....well this band delivers. For example the classic pedal tone driven riffs that have been famously done by iconic Swedish melodic death metal bands like At The Gates and classic In Flames are staples on tracks like Depravity, Compliance and Ritual Abuse. The buzz saw ferocity of the tremolo riffs are well orchestrated and bring so much emotion and intensity to their blackened symphonies. 

The soaring melodies in songs like World To Come, Co-Ed Butcher and The Undead grants the listener some emotion whilst leading them into the path of hell. Through out our journey into hell the pulsating drums sections keep us channelling our tribalist courage by providing us with blast beats and swings into double kick metalcore inspired grooves with their opening track Depravity to the classic thrash beats of Ecological Collapse. One of the best highlight through this album is the beautifully orchestrated symphonies from the opener Depravity, the pulsing female choirs on Co-Ed Butcher and the melancholy tones of Ritual Abuse

This is classic melodic death metal at it’s finest, this album takes us through a Dante’s Inferno inspired hell, which very bit of hideous as well poetically beautiful. With the combination the raw brutality of bands like At The Gates, old school In flames and the symphonic beauty of Cradle Of Filth and Fleshgod Apocalypse it relates it being a very niche listen. 7/10. 

Bush - The Art Of Survival (BMG) [David Karpel]

Have you liked Bush since 1994? There’s no reason you won’t like their new release on major label BMG, The Art Of Survival. Did you stop listening to Bush around… 1994? There’s no reason you’d want to listen to this one other than to satisfy a reasonable curiosity. Bush is Bush as they were, as they have been, as they are. Gavin Rossdale’s voice is still the signature sound over their 90's groove flavoured with some nu-metal guitar tones and sundry effects. He hasn’t lost his ability to sound like he’s on the crisp edge between absolute passion and discordant ambivalence. His earnestness shines through as ever. 

I haven’t listened to Bush since 1994 (when I had to as a record store clerk) and I’d be able to recognise any one of these songs as a Bush song, despite some of the nu-guitar sounds and some interesting arrangements (Kiss Me I’m Dead). While they sound like they’re striving for the heavy, the mix is caked with make-up. Look, anyone still working at making solid rock albums 30 years into a career deserves respect, whatever personal tastes involved. The lyrics on this album deal with personal freedom, the encroachment of tech, government control, and women’s rights, among other things. They can pound out a groove as well as anybody (More Than Machine) and they can slow it down with sincerity (Creatures Of The Fire). 

If this review feels lazy it’s because despite listening to this album 4 or 5 times searching for redeeming qualities, despite their experience and the talents of Gavin Rossdale’s vocals, Bush absolutely bores me. I’ve never felt a sense of innovation or absolute passion or reckless abandon from any of their songs. The Art Of Survival doesn’t offer anything to change my mind. 6/10

Diamond Chazer - Starriders (Fighter Records) [Ben Baljak]

Medellin Colombia heavy metal band Diamond Chazer focus heavily on 80s nostalgia for their debut full-length album Starriders. A love letter to the NWOBHMtal, French heavy metal, AOR and speed metal. And with that being said, let’s get stuck in!

Stargate opens with a synth pad and then a melody which is mirrored by the guitar in a satisfyingly 80s manor. To get it out of the way early, my first issue will be addressed as an unwanted and unasked for producer; too much pressure is being put on the strings causing the notes to veer ever so slightly out of tune, this isn’t always such an issue, however, as a digital synth won’t be out of tune, it’s distractingly noticeable in these types of instances. If you’re reading this Ramiro or Juan; let’s grease up those hinges. loosey-goosey baby, loosey goosey.

Starriders I - Lords Of The Space has quite a theatrical riff that makes me think of dancing skeletons for some reason. Stiven Giraldo shows from the get go he’s got the stuff to pull off those old school heavy metal vocals. And there are some great back and fourth between the guitars and John Denis Roja’s bass before going into a more 70s sounding chorus. Queue Iron Maiden-esque tempo change, before going into a guitar solo and raising back up for another verse. I longed for Bruce Dickinson’s "Woah Oh Ohs" over the end melody.

Lightning is fast, fun and other f words . We’ve ditched Brucey for some higher pitched Rob Halford screeching and some tasty minor based guitar melodies whilst Jose Manuel Cardenas holds down the galloping heavy metal drum beat with ease. Into The Vortex is that 80s guitar music essential. The instrumental where guitarists Juan Figueroa and Ramiro Alvarez get to show us their bag of tricks and vigorously spaff notes from their instruments into our ears. Highway To Our Dreams is some of the first new montage music to grace our ears since a Philadelphian with brain damage dared to run up some wet steps. I’m not sure what it was with the recording of this song, but some of the timing seems a bit off, almost as if parts were cut together. Either way, this is forgiven as everybody needs a montage.

At the halfway point we have Cosmic Samurai. The vocalist seems to struggle to reach some of the high notes and this Maiden heavy also suffers from some messy tempo changes. Points for calling a song Cosmic Samurai though! A.R.C.A.D.E is another instrumental. Keys player Steiven Giraldo does a great job of nailing that old arcade system sound with chord stabs and effects. I want to know what the acronym stands for though. The Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics and Diffuse Emission?; NASA’s high-altitude balloon instrument package intended to measure the heating of the universe by the first stars and galaxies after the big bang and search for the signal of relic decay or annihilation… It could be, as the album is called Starriders … anyway, let me know.

The Pact… Unfortunately the main riff reminded me too much of The Offspring of all bands to really get into it. And then organs happen. Organs and Offspring, Offspring and Organs. Frat boy skaters with a penchant for New Rocks, patchouli and The Crow. My brain just isn’t ready for this abominable image of my own doing.

That’s more like it! Cliche, but how would you do 80s nostalgia without being a little cliche. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fugue In D Minor followed by the near chord progression of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera accompanied by a three note arpeggio similar to every metalheads favourite part of Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear The Reaper. Alucarda is dark and theatrical. Tempo changes are used tastefully to up tension and the guitarists put in some of their best work into La Hija De Las Tinieblas. (Daughter Of Darkness - Spanish Editor). Ella es alguien a quien no querrias defrauder despues de todo. (She is Someone You Don't Want To Let Down After All - Spanish Editor)

Insane & Unleashed unleashes a catchy fast and fun heavy metal banger on our audio appendages. The guitarists seem to have upped their game on this last half of the album with tight guitar harmonies, some tasty blues flourishes and a smooth sweep arpeggio run. The Void is slower paced with more catchy nostalgic riffage. However, this one falls short of quality when it comes to the backing vocals competing, clashing and other c words rather than collaborating and complimenting. Ultimately , The Void is a vast vacuum. A vacant place where sound doesn’t venture and vanishes leaving the vocalisations vulnerable, vagrant… and .. other… v … words. Venturing now into the final passage of this love letter to the venerable vintage vanguards of metals past with Starriders II - Nibiru Deadly Star. It’s fast and powerful until time slows down as earth waits for the inevitable cataclysm of Planet X’s collision, ending the album and all life with it.

Yeah. Diamond Chazer’s Starriders is a good time start to finish that suffers from issues that I’m sure will be medicated by their next album. It’s almost impossible not to think of Iron Maiden for a lot of it. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as the band have clearly stated their influences and bring in the addition of a synth. There are a little too many points where the recording doesn’t seem quite up to scratch though; inconsistent tempo changes that feel far from natural being a main, and as stated at the beginning; some of the guitar notes and backing vocals can be sloppy and out of tune. Regardless of that. I love the aesthetic and the idea behind the album; Highway To Our Dreams, A.R.C.A.D.E, Alucarda and Insane & Unleashed being highlights for myself. 

As far as the heaviness scale goes - This band are about as heavy as a space bear in spandex. Now, space bears can be pretty heavy, but the zero gravity makes the logistics of weighing one a nightmare, so I don’t have a reading for you. For the younger lovers of NWOBHM and the 80s aesthetic, shows like Stranger Things have created the perfect time to piggy back off of and create a resurgence of these genres. Which is great! because most of the legends of old are now dead or too bloated and old to sing anymore. I look forward to hearing what Diamond Chazer will do next. And as this album strikes me as their early days, who knows what they’ll evolve into. 6/10

No comments:

Post a Comment