Sun Tzu said:
“Those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him.”
Founded in 1993 by Shagrath, Silenoz, and Tjodalv and named after unusually shaped lava fields and rock formations east of Lake Mývatn in Iceland, Norway’s DIMMU BORGIR made their debut into the underground metal scene via unofficial rehearsal cassette tapes in 1993. Inspired by incarnations of black metal from the ‘80s and ‘90s and inspired by the works of classical composers such as Wagner and Dvořák, the band’s music was resplendent in its raw & melodic vocals, somber guitar work, destructive drums, and haunting keyboard melodies. Less than a year later, the band recorded their full-length debut, For All Tid, to wild acclaim. While the band’s reputation gained momentum throughout Scandinavia and the rest of the tape-trading underground world, DIMMU BORGIR focused their energies on recording what would become one of the most essential albums in black metal history, Stormblåst. While sung completely in Norwegian, it catapulted them out of Europe and into international waters. Displaying a marked escalation in their time signatures, DIMMU BORGIR made significant headway in developing a classically influenced sound that would become their intrinsic, defining blueprint.
Following Stormblåst, DIMMU BORGIR recorded their first material featuring English lyrics for the 1996 mini-CD entitled Devil’s Path, which later got them signed to the independent record label Nuclear Blast. Their third full-length album (now considered an all-time classic), Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, was recorded with living legend Peter Tägtgren at the helm in Abyss Studios. After its release, it marked the band’s significant international breakthrough with over 150,000 copies sold and chart entries all over the world. This breakthrough year also included performances at some of the most esteemed European summer gatherings such as Holland’s Dynamo, Germany’s With Full Force and Wacken Open Air festivals, among others.
After their world tour for Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, DIMMU BORGIR went straight back into the Abyss Studios and recorded the Godless Savage Garden mini-CD, which earned them their first Spellemannprisen award nomination (the Norwegian equivalent to the American Grammy award). Fans around the world curiously waited to see what direction the next full-length, Spiritual Black Dimensions, would take. Once again recorded at Abyss Studios with Peter Tägtgren, the album stormed into music stores around the world in 1999 and single-handedly transformed the market for black metal. Those who ever doubted DIMMU BORGIR’s allegiance to extreme music were forced to face reality when the album proved to be their most complex and severe offering.
Sun Tzu said:
“He who occupies the field of battle first and awaits his enemy is at ease;
he who comes later to the scene and rushes into the fight is weary.”
After Tjodalv resigned from the drum throne in the early stages of their 1999 tour, DIMMU ‘s line-up shifted. The sextet entered Sweden’s Fredman Studio in the fall of 2000 with Fredrik Nordström to record eleven tracks of audible malevolence and exceptional atmospherics which was baptized Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. Released in 2001, Puritanical expanded DIMMU’s audience even more, earning them their first Spellemanprisen award and setting the stage for 2003’s mammoth Death Cult Armageddon, which debuted at #7 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, #10 on the Top Independent Albums chart, and at #170 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. Death Cult Armageddon – which earned the band another Spellemanprisen award in 2003 – went on to sell over 130,000 records in North America alone. Parts of the orchestral versions of the songs “Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse” and “Eradication Instincts Defined” were selected for use in the movie trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy. Later, parts from the same tracks could also be heard in the trailer for the movie Stardust starring Robert De Niro. In 2004, DIMMU landed a coveted spot on Ozzfest’s Main Stage with Slayer, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath in addition to later being showcased in the MTV reality series “Battle For Ozzfest.”
After re-recording Stormblåst in 2005 with Peter Tägtgren and session drummer Hellhammer, the latter stayed on to record 2007’s In Sorte Diaboli, DIMMU’s first concept album about a bishop’s apprentice searching his true self who – instead of finding the meaning of life through the religion – abandons his religious life in favor of darkness and its endless realm. Recorded with Fredrik Nordström and Patrik J. Sten at Sweden’s (in)famous Studio Fredman, In Sorte Diaboli debuted at #1 on the Norwegian album chart and clinched DIMMU BORGIR their first #1 album and their first Gold Record in Norway. The album sold over 75,000 copies in the U.S. and debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Top Independent Albums chart and at #43 on the Top 200 Albums chart. Yet again, the band took home another Spellemannprisen award, this time in the video category. DIMMU hit the road hard in support of In Sorte and performed at Nuclear Blast’s 20th Anniversary Party in Stuttgart, at Germany’s Rock Am Ring & Rock Im Park festivals, filmed their headlining Wacken Open Air performance, toured Europe with Amon Amarth, toured North America with Devildriver, Behemoth & Keep Of Kalessin, and even appeared at the New England Hardcore & Metal Festival. In 2008, DIMMU’s three-disc The Invaluable Darkness DVD (which included 2007’s live footage at Wacken) entered Norway’s Music DVD chart at #1 and debuted at #5 in the U.S. on the Top Music Videos chart while the band was on tour in North America with Danzig on the “Blackest Of The Black” tour. They also appeared on the television show “The Daily Habit” on Fuel TV – the American extreme sports lifestyle network with over 50 million worldwide viewers. In 2009, DIMMU played Nova Rock – Austria’s largest music festival, Terminal Press debuted the fantasy horror comic book “DIMMU BORGIR: Dark Fortress” at ComiCon in San Diego, and “Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse” was selected for inclusion in the action-adventure video game soundtrack, Brütal Legend.
Sun Tzu said:
“Therefore, when I have won a victory, I do not repeat my tactics but respond to circumstances in an infinite variety of ways.”
In June of this year, DIMMU BORGIR proudly announced that over 101 musicians contributed their talents to the making of the new album, including Norwegian composer and Berklee College of Music summa cum laude alumnus Gaute Storaas, the 51 members of KORK (the Norwegian Radio Orchestra) and the 38-member Schola Cantorum Choir. Eleven months in the making, the band broke their three-word title tradition for the second time since 1996 to name their ninth studio album ABRAHADABRA, which roughly translates into “I will create as I speak.” The word first entered the human lexicon in 1904 via Chapter III of Liber AL vel Legis (commonly referred to as The Book of the Law) written by English occultist and mystic Aleister Crowley during his time in Cairo, Egypt.
Set in the post-apocalyptic landscapes of German artist / painter / graphic designer Joachim Luetke, the album cover’s face with tentacles harkens back to H.P. Lovecraft’s nameless elder gods and “personifies dominion of powers far beyond mankind,” according to the artist. “These nameless gods witnessed the birth of our universe and they’ll watch it implode. To them, the age of mankind is but a blink of an eye.”
A return to the famed raw ferocity of 1997′s Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, ABRAHADABRA is, according to North America’s Decibel Magazine, “Norway’s answer to The Omen.” Metallian Magazine from France predicts: “It will become a milestone of the genre. It is impossible not to be amazed.” Inferno Magazine decrees: “Majestic, evil, and pompous, ABRAHADABRA is everything that makes DIMMU BORGIR the elite of the pack.”
An inundation of power, a showcase of incessant skill, and above all, an intelligent manifesto of a highly intact creative force, ABRAHADABRA demonstrates every reason why Norway’s DIMMU BORGIR is – and unquestionably remains – the most prominent symphonic black metal act in the world.