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on January 2, 2004
You know, I've always believed in the simple philosophy of thinking for oneself, but I have to admit to letting the narrowmindedness of others occasionally blind my path. Take for example the music of Dimmu Borgir. I've been plunging pretty deeply into the bleak nihilistic darkness of Norway's most evil black metal maestros for the last several years now, and up until recently, I had honestly not heard ONE SINGLE NOTE of these guys' music. Why? Because if you listen to the average rantings of the supposed "true" black metal consumer, Dimmu Borgir are the post-'91 Metallica of the scene. "They're overproduced", "they went Cradle of Filth", "they sold out", "they're too keyboard-driven", yada yada yada... And guess what? I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.
Well, about two months ago, I was looking for something new and FINALLY decided to risk the cost of a CD on 'Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia'. Today, as I write this with "Blessings Upon the Throne of Tyranny" blasting away in the background, I'm eating crow with a huge evil grin on my face and washing it down with 24 year old Scotch. This is far and away one of the best metal albums I've heard in YEARS. How anyone could listen to this and NOT love it has me utterly bewildered.
Okay, so maybe they don't fit into the way-too-conservative category of "true" Norwegian black metal. Indeed, it IS a bit difficult to categorize them at all. You've got the melodic keyboards of Emperor, the theatrics of CoF (see the band members' photos in the enclosed booklet, the one of Galder being particularly amusing...heh heh), the mid-paced overdrive of In Flames and early Entombed, and the classic punch of old school metal with more than a few blastbeats thrown in to keep things lively. But if I had to compare them to any one band - and this is REALLY gonna floor you - it would have to be QUEEN. The way Dimmu Borgir craft each and every song into a dramatic little opera that completely defies any kind of confined category (and I should add that I STILL consider it to be "black metal") makes me think of the magic that once poured from the minds of the late Freddie Mercury and Brian May...they realized that nothing instrumentally or stylistically should be barred from their imagination, and this comparison is probably the highest possible compliment I can give them.
And then there's the production. While there are certainly times when an overly clean production is not the best approach to take (see my review of Emperor's 'Prometheus'), I for one appreciate it when a band goes to the time and trouble (not to mention the expense) of presenting their material in a way that I can clearly hear EVERY instrument without losing one iota of the music's overall feel and heaviness. Folks, if you've spent mega-bucks on a true audiophile system, be prepared to have it tested. And you know how clean vocals most often come off sounding laughable when a black metal singer who normally troll-screeches tries to do them? Well, even Shagrath knows his limitations, and so bassist Vortex does them. And exceedingly well, I should add...he actually reminds me of the singer from Yes, if you can believe that..?!
I'm not going to waste any more space going into the individual songs here, as other longtime fans have done so already, other than to say that every song on here is simply amazing, with my particular favorites being "Kings of the Carnival Creation", "The Maelstrom Mephisto" and the aforementioned "Blessings...", ESPECIALLY coming on the heels of the beautiful and haunting opening instrumental, "Fear and Wonder"...aww, man...
After buying this CD, I've since picked up 'Death Cult Armageddon', 'Enthrone Darkness Triumphant', and the awesome 'World Misanthropy' DVD, and I won't be stopping there. To all the believers, congratulations on teaching an old dog some new tricks. And to all the "truist" naysayers, may I simply suggest that you GROW UP.
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on December 4, 2005
Dimmu Borgir is:

Vocals - Shagrath

Guitar - Galder

Guitar - Silenoz

Keyboard - Mustis

Bass - Vortex

Drums - Nicholas Barker

Dimmu Borgir is Norway,s premier black metal band at its best!! This album is great, not containing a sore song anywhere. The musicianship is extraordinary and the production is much better than that of your typical black metal band. The music on this cd is more brutal than "Death Cult Armeggedon," the band's newest album, but this album contains more musical shifts and more complex art within each individual song. The addition of an orchestra fills in those eerie evil moments. Although it is not a full blown orchestra, such as the one from Prague that they used for "Death Cult Armaggedon", it still adds to its complex musical structure.

Of, course, there is one downfall of their lyrical structure: It reveals they are blatantly satanic. The lyrics are well thought out and VERY complex, but once you realize what its trying to say it goes downhill from there..... But through most of the cd it wouldn't really matter because you can't really interpret what Shagrath is saying. One thing I do appreciate about Shagrath's singing is that he doesn't have violent screams for singing. Instead he sings in a deep thrash voice, which allows the listener to listen without having to clench his face every time he hears Shagrath singing. When Vortex comes along though, you can really sense the world getting darker around you. His voice is hauntingly awesome and it adds to the demonic aspect of the music.

1. Fear and Wonder - 5/5 - Excellent peice performed by Dimmu's guest orchestra. The violins and cellos prepares you with a dark feel of the music so you'll be prepared for the rest of the cd.

2. Blessing's Upon the Throne of Tyranny - 5/5 - Awesome title, even better music. There are many riff switches in this song, keeping you headbanging nonstop. A couple mini breakdowns too, which are always nice additions.

3. King's of the Carnival Creation - 5/5 - Great song, diverse from any other black metal song I have heard. The verse contains lighting fast heretas (drum term) performed by Nick on the double bass. This is first song on cd that introduces Vortex's clean haunting voice.

4. Hybrid Stygmata: The Apostacy - 5/5 - A beast of a song, begin with an orchestra, and Shagrath screams out of nowhere, thus beginning the headbanging. Catchy guitar riffs backed up by the orchestra. The song starts to go peaceful when Vortex starts to sing. 4 or 5 tempo changes within the song also.

5. Architecture of a Genocidal Nature - 4/5 - One of those songs where you don't know what's gonna happen next. First 100 mph music, then it goes to soft style, and back to the 100 mph music.

6. Puritania - 6/5 - This song blew me away. "We do away with your kind" and then came the countdown and out popped the guitar. Best song on the cd, but unfortunately, the shortest. This song is the easiest to understand lyrically. It's basically about cleansing the world of the human race.

7. IndoctriNation - 5/5 - Fastest song on the cd besides "Maelstrom Mephisto". Very melodic sections between the verses. Then out of nowhere comes an orchestral solo with a voice speaking in the background. Intensely evil.

8. The Maelstrom Mephisto - 5/5 - Another great song. THE fastest song on the cd. I'm surprised Nick didn't pass out while recording this because he is amazingly fast. My favorite appearance of Vortex is on this song, his voice is so hauntingly beautiful. Especially when backed up by orchestral and drum movements.

9. Absolute Sole Right - 4/5 - Not the best song on the album in my opinion, but still excellent if comparing to other band's music. Another speed it up song like "The Maelstrom Mephisto" and "IndoctriNation."

10. Sympozium - 5/5 - Best orchestral tune I think. If you take out the drums, it sounds like the intro to a horror movie. Completely haunting, and the guitar parts in this song reminds me of Children of Bodom's style. Shagrath's voice adds to the haunting aspects of the song.

11. Perfection or Vanity - 5/5 - It would have been a 6, but it was too short and repetive. AWESOME melody though. A kind of haunting song but also kind of gives you a sense of hope and awakening. You could almost, ALMOST classify it as a concept album if you look at it theme and morale wise.

This was great Dimmu Borgir album and I HIGHLY recommend any metal listener to check it out.........IMMEDIATELY!!!!

John
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on November 30, 2001
For some, this is true black metal. For others, not. That seems to be the most important question in many reviewers' mind. And they seem to be missing the point. This album is not 100% Black Metal. So what?. It's a killer, and that's what really matters. On "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia", you can still find many of the elements that made "Spiritual Black Dimensions" so compelling: Mustis' weird, creepy keyboard playing, the fantastic vocal interplay between Shagrath's rasp and Vortex's "clean" operatic wail, and the scorching guitar riffs of Silenoz. On this album, the guys in Dimmu Borgir still remain true to their Black Metal roots, but this time around, they enhanced their formula by throwing in Swedish Death and Doom metal for good measure. And on "Puritania", they even experiment with industrial metal (or "cyborgmetal" a la "Fear Factory", whatever you like to call it). Is all this a bad thing?. I don't think so. As long as they manage to keep their sound fresh ... and they did it with this album!. The songs on this record are first rate, but "Blessings Upon The Throne of Tyranny" is probably the tightest number this band has pulled out yet. And the album's epic, "Sympozium", is the kind of pure death metal melody that would make In Flames proud. Just check out the vocals by Vortex on that number. The all-star line-up is completed by Old Man's Child axe Galder, and ex-Cradle of Filth Nick Barker, who letarally beats the hell out of his drumkit. Producer Frederik Nordstrom (In Flames) wisely avoided the common "Black Metal" mistake of drowning all the crunch in layers upon layers of echo. And there's even a whole string section to beef up the sound. The lyrics on PEM are more articulate than usual, and aren't the classical, trite satanic garbage you would expect to hear from Black Metal acts ... Still, they are predictably anti-catholic. But this is only a minor fault in this fantastic LP.
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on March 6, 2003
Wow, have they come into their own in this one. Amazon, you need to give us more stars to rate CD's like "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia," 5/5 simply doesn't give it justice. I've heard some of DB's earlier stuff, already had two of their albums before this one, and i enjoy them both very much, and i had been arguing with myself to get this one. Words can't express how rewarding and fulfilling it was for me to finally buy this CD. The Norwegian black metal act (with additional members from Cradle of Filth and Old Man's Child) have finally put together a perfectly orchestrated black metal masterpiece. Don't get me wrong, their other stuff is great too, but they all lack the immersion and engrossing brilliance of this one. My favorite tracks are "Blessings upon the Throne of Tyranny," "Kings of the Carnival Creation," and "Puritania." All the other songs are awesome, but those three just really stood out to me. Slip into the black void of "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia," and be amazed by the raging riffs of Erkekjetter Silenoz and Galder, the ear-tearing vocals and mind-soothing synthesizing by black-metal master Shagrath, the clever and intriguing sampling of Mustis, the earth-shattering beats of Nicholas, and the heavenly-manifested clean vocals and chunky bass of Vortex. Every band member delivers a memorable performance, and each of them deserve equal credit in the creation of this masterpiece. Just buy it, you will not regret it, i promise.
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on March 21, 2001
I work in a record store so I was able to hear Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia before it's release date. I have been looking forward to it's release so that I could find out other people's opinions of this record. I have to rely Amazon to get other opinions because I don't know of anybody else in my town that listens to black metal.
The first thing that stood out to me on this album was the excellent production. It sounds great. Especially the drums. One complaint about Dimmu Borgir's previous release, Spiritual Black Dimensions, is that the drums weren't up enough in the mix (especially the bass drum.) That is not the case here. I am not a fan of Cradle of Filth, so when I heard that Nicholas was replacing Tjodalv (one fo my favorite drummers) I was bummed. Well Nicholas has totally earned my respect here. I had no idea that he coud pull off blast-beats like this. I think that his style fits in well with Shagrath's/Silenoz's/Mustis's songwriting.
I was glad to find out that Vortex is now a permanent member of the band. His clean vocals are a real treat. I enjoyed his work with Borknagar and Arcturus as well as his contribution to Spiritual Black Dimentions. I wish that he sang a little more on this album because his clean voice is a great compliment to Shagrath's screech. The music seems to be a little more guitar-driven than usual. While the keyboards are still very prominent (it wouldn't be Dimmu Borgir otherwise) the songs seem to revolve more around guitar riffs. It sounds great though.
Another thing worth mentioning is Galder of Old Man's Child. As I understand, he did not join the band until after most of the songwriting was completed. He mostly just played the guitar solos. So if you are like me, we will have to wait until the next album to find out how he will truly contribute to the band's style. (I am happy that he will continue Old Man's Child as well as play guitar for DM.)
There is really only one thing that I am a little uncomfortable with on this album, and that is the sampling. There are some songs that have samples here and there. They don't really hurt the songs, but they don't really seem necessary. In my opnion, the last thing that black metal needs is any hint of 1990's style radio-metal. But if they wanted them there, that is ok with me (After all, it is their band.) I just hope that it isn't a sign of things to come. I am not worried about Dimmu Borgir getting any radio play anytime soon, I just hope they don't start to put alot of electronic elements in their music.
Overall, I am very pleased with this album. If you are already a fan of Dimmu Borgir, you should not be dissappointed by PEM. They are heavier than ever, and the elements that make their music beautiful are still there. Lyricaly, the album has nothing new to offer, but I doubt that anyone expects to hear much of anything else besides all the Satan stuff (personally, I think it gets old quick.) But Dimmu Borgir is all about the music for me. The band may not appreiciate this point of view, but I don't feel that I have to be Satanic to enjoy their CDs. If you are new to Dimmu Borgir, I recomend buying this album, but I would start off your collection with Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. It is my favorite release of their's and I think that it is one of the best black metal albums ever.
One last thing.....Cool pictures in the sleeve.
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on August 21, 2001
Puritanical Euophoric Misanthropia is probably the best Dimmu Borgir effort yet... With this said, I must add that I loved every single Dimmu Borgir previous release, but PEM displays a more mature sound, astonishingly complex music, well thought lyrics, and some of the most amazing drumming you'll ever get a chance hear.
I can't say I hate keyboard in metal music, on the contrary I love it if its well executed, for example bands like Borknagar, early Satyricon, Children of Bodom, Arcturus or Cradle of Filth (although if CoF is BM is debatable, but its metal music and has keyboards). I could add Dimmu Borgir to this hall of 'fame'. Dimmu's keyboard guy, Mustis, is definitely one of the most talented keyboardist I've heard.
More to the point, PEM is a brilliant album. It varies its music alot, from brutal old school BM to a more slower paced, keyboard filled and clean vocals more modern BM style. Shagrath delivers his best vocals yet, ever so raspy. On this album, Nick Barker sat behind the drums, and it seems like an 8 arm octopus is beating ... the drums and not a human being. He's truly a drumming monster. ex-Borknagar's bassist/vocalist took the bass, and delivered some heart worming clean vocals (just check Sympozium, you'll know what I mean). Silenoz as usual brings forth some of the most memorable riffs ever. And the well publicized addition, Galder himself from Old Man's Child grabbed the 2nd guitar, and oh man, he really gave life to PEM.
All in all, PEM is one of the best albums I've heard in 2001. Excellent, 2 thumbs up for Dimmu! Perfect 5 stars!
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on February 24, 2006
Is Dimmu Borgir cheesy? Yes. But you have to figure that all of metal (inculding black metal) has a fair amount of self-parody and cheese written right into the framework of it. Trve black metal was a bunch of Norwegian kids who heard Venom, thought it was for real, watched a bunch of horror movies and set out to make "evil" music. I love Emperor, Darkthrone, Bathory, etc. This doesn't mean I can't listen to DB too. Think of it as one more CD to put on your shelf, to broaden your metal world view. Making a polished, ecletic CD like this one isn't a bad thing. It's just one more take on the cheesy "evil" formula that we all know and love.

It's funny that Dimmu Borgir even gets thrown in with Black metal though. They're such a mash-up of bands. Every time I listen to this album it reminds me of any album by Fear Factory. There are so many industrial elements: flangers, slowed down samples that sound like they came from Hellraiser, electronicy keyboards, choir vocals...Other influences DB brings to mind for me are Die Krupps (for assorted industrial sounds) and the vocals of Dave Mustaine (seriously, a few sections of this record always makes me say "Is that Dave?!")

And finally, there's some discussion here about whether Dimmu Borgir is mainstream. Um, you're about to buy it on AMAZON.com, so what do you think?
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on February 19, 2002
Format: Full-length cd, 11 songs, 57:55 minutes
Style: Symphonic black metal
Rating: 95/100
Similar Artists: Cradle of Filth, Old Man's Child, The Kovenant, ...And Oceans, Arcturus, Borknagar, Satyricon
Background: This is the latest release by Norwegian Black metallers Dimmu Borgir. They have undergone some line-up changes for this release. This includes the addition of Nick Barker (ex-Cradle of Filth) on drums, Galder (Old Man's Child) on lead guitar, and ICS Vortex (ex-Borknagar) on bass and clean vocals. All three of these gentlemen have indicated that they will now be permanent members of the band. The line up on this recording also includes band founder Shagrath on vocals and synths, Erkekjetter Silenoz on guitar, and Mustis on synthesizers and piano. Also performing on this disc is the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra, which adds a lot of depth and enhances the "majestic" feel of this recording.
Packaging: The packaging is top notch. I find all of the satanic imagery and posing by the band to be pretty corny, but you can't argue with the high quality level and professionalism. All lyrics and band liner notes are included.
Production: Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia was recorded in Studio Fredman, Gothenburg, Sweden during October and November 2000. It was engineered and mixed by Fredrik Nordström and was produced by Dimmu Borgir and Fredrik Nordström. The production on this cd is top-notch and is once again perfect for what the band is trying to accomplish. The guitars are a much more forward in the mix on this one, with the synths taking on more of a supporting role, which is a departure from the last two releases. What I really enjoy most about the production on this cd is that you can clearly make out all of the instruments and vocals, and at times each instrument takes a more prominent role and is not buried in the mix. You can just tell that everything sounds as it should. Dimmu Borgir is going to be hard pressed to top the production on this one on future releases.
The Music: The music on this recording is outstanding. The classical intro and outro are just about perfect, some of the best that I have heard in black metal. The music mixes elements of heavy metal, thrash, and death metal along with gothic, scary undertones. What I like best about this release is that not only does Dimmu Borgir provide variation with horror movie style keyboards and orchestral backdrops; they also provide slower, more melodic transitions. There is also quite a bit of experimentation on this recording, including incorporating cold, sterile sounding parts; lush and warm keyboards, computerized vocals and all out metal mayhem. The interaction of the orchestral elements and the guitar on the industrial influenced Puritana is truly awesome, I can see them experimenting more like this in the future. The vocals are a mix of black metal screeches, computer enhanced screeches and clean singing. The combination of vocals on this album is some of the best in this genre (second to only Satyricon in my opinion). The drumming on this release is what really separates Dimmu Borgir from the pack. The drums are mixed perfectly and Nick Barker manages to time the beats in perfect rhythm to everything else that is going on, which is a welcome relief from all of the double-bass pounding that is often found in black/death metal.
Recommendation: I think if you enjoy well-played symphonic black metal you should really look into acquiring this recording. Dimmu Borgir continue to amaze with every release.
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on October 7, 2003
This album is extremely hard hitting and aggressive. When I first heard it I could not believe the speed in which things are played! They have the best drummer ever (Nick Barker) and he belts out some of the fastest and most perfect beats I have ever heard. The guitarists are perfect, hell, being able to keep up with Nick Barker may seem impossible, but these guys can do it!
The bass is very heavy and the vocals are right on track and fit in very well with everything. Vortex sings clean vocals and he has a suprisingly fantastic voice, but is rarely used in the album. Shagrath does the other vocals and I think he does a very good job and is one of the best metal vocalists out there. The keyboards are very good as well and sound creepy sometimes.
The best song would have to be Kings of the Carnival Creation.
There are so many highlights that this review could be huge so I'll leave it at this.
Buy this album, you won't be dissapointed.
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on December 17, 2003
this is very special stuff. unlike a lot of albums that people buy nowadays, this is the kind of stuff u can listen to over and over and it keeps getting better each time u listen to it. Every time i put PEM on i hear something new in each song that i never noticed before, and it all fits in beautifully. The whole sound is powerful and majestic, yet the favourite track on here has to be Kings of the Carnival Creation. When i heard that song for the first time on my personal cd player i actually stopped in the street and just listened and was amazed. These guys really deserve all the credit they get.
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