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4.7 out of 5 stars
21
4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 September 2003
Dimmu Borgir have served up an album as vast and sprawling as the sea of littered bones filling the brilliant apocalyptic artwork of the case (the album is available in no less than six different formats at its release). As majestic as ever, the band have again been moving upwards in their aspirations in the same fashion they have always succeeded in. However, for the first time, links to their previous album are far more pronounced. There is not the chasm bounding leap here that Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia offered, but rather a subtler enhancing of the style which made that album so powerful, confirming their place as one of the big guns of Black Metal.
So what are these changes? Most prominently is the upgrading of the orchestral side from a small chamber orchestra to a full 46-piece Prague Philarmonic Orchestra. The change results in an even grander sound, most noticably with the string sections which will always produce a far more authentic sound than a synthesizer. The use of the orchestra has also varied, now fully incorporated into the song composition, rising for key passages and then dying away behind the band at others, rather than simply echoing guitar riffs at certain moments. This, combined with the best production yet for a Dimmu Borgir album, has created an intense beast, indeed. Thankfully the somewhat overpowering pounding drums of the former album have been levelled off in the mixing to complement the other instruments more effectively. They are neither too prominent nor banished to the background, and Barker's performance retains its previous quality.
Some features may be a little disappointing, however. Shagrath's snarlingly distinctive vocals remain unchanged, but Vortex's clean and epic sound has been greatly reduced, appearing in only two songs (which have unsurprisingly become my favourites). Some will, of course, appreciate this, but I personally found those clean lines soaring above the heavy riffs to be Dimmu Borgir at their most powerful. Gone too are the purely orchestral tracks, and after the previous album's incredible "Fear and Wonder", it was disappointing to discover there is no repeat of such a performance. However this allows the band to dive straight in with the superb fury of "Allegiance", after a creaking sound as if the machinary is being cranked up for this phonic outburst.
The six-piece tinge their music and artwork with their satanic beliefs throughout, but thankfully unlike so many metal acts who cash in on the image's popularity in the current climate, Dimmu Borgir do not overuse references or overtly flaunt offensive anti-Christian messages.
Death Cult Armageddon is also much more of a group effort, with all the band involved in either the music or lyrics at some point in the album. This is an intensely powerful, majestic and varied serving of Metal (symphonic, black, doom, and more!), which, while not rasing the bar as hugely as might have been hoped from Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, still represents Dimmu Borgir's most accomplished work to date.
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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2003
Dimmu Borgir have served up an album as vast and sprawling as the sea of littered bones filling the brilliant apocalyptic artwork of the case (the album is available in no less than six different formats at its release). As majestic as ever, the band have again been moving upwards in their aspirations in the same fashion they have always succeeded in. However, for the first time, links to their previous album are far more pronounced. There is not the chasm bounding leap here that Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia offered, but rather a subtler enhancing of the style which made that album so powerful, confirming their place as one of the big guns of Black Metal.
So what are these changes? Most prominently is the upgrading of the orchestral side from a small chamber orchestra to a full 46-piece Prague Philarmonic Orchestra. The change results in an even grander sound, most noticably with the string sections which will always produce a far more authentic sound than a synthesizer. The use of the orchestra has also varied, now fully incorporated into the song composition, rising for key passages and then dying away behind the band at others, rather than simply echoing guitar riffs at certain moments. This, combined with the best production yet for a Dimmu Borgir album, has created an intense beast, indeed. Thankfully the somewhat overpowering pounding drums of the former album have been levelled off in the mixing to complement the other instruments more effectively. They are neither too prominent nor banished to the background, and Barker's performance retains its previous quality.
Some features may be a little disappointing, however. Shagrath's snarlingly distinctive vocals remain unchanged, but Vortex's clean and epic sound has been greatly reduced, appearing in only two songs (which have unsurprisingly become my favourites). Some will, of course, appreciate this, but I personally found those clean lines soaring above the heavy riffs to be Dimmu Borgir at their most powerful. Gone too are the purely orchestral tracks, and after the previous album's incredible "Fear and Wonder", it was disappointing to discover there is no repeat of such a performance. However this allows the band to dive straight in with the superb fury of "Allegiance", after a creaking sound as if the machinary is being cranked up for this phonic outburst.
The six-piece tinge their music and artwork with their satanic beliefs throughout, but thankfully unlike so many metal acts who cash in on the image's popularity in the current climate, Dimmu Borgir do not overuse references or overtly flaunt offensive anti-Christian messages.
Death Cult Armageddon is also much more of a group effort, with all the band involved in either the music or lyrics at some point in the album. This is an intensely powerful, majestic and varied serving of Metal (symphonic, black, doom, and more!), which, while not rasing the bar as hugely as might have been hoped from Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, still represents Dimmu Borgir's most accomplished work to date.
KEY TRACKS: Progenies of the Great Apocalypse, Cataclysm Children, Allegiance
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on 1 September 2006
Apperently, in order to be a true Black Metal band you have to conform to a number of guidelines. First and foremost, you have to have a very small budget; if you can afford to make your album look good with a colour booklet and skillfully executed photomanipulations, you're too commercial. Secondly, you have to record your album in a howling gale. If you can't do that, wait till you've finished the recording stage and put as much background noise into each track as possible so you can hardly hear the riffs. Thirdly, don't you dare try and make money out of your records; do that and you are just some commercial band in if for the cash. Obviously.

It's these points that "true Black Metal fans" seem to go through and tick off with each new album they buy. If any of these are skipped over in an album then they deem it not worth their time, which is why Death Cult Armageddon is so criminally overlooked by many who should be embracing it.

For this recording Dimmu finally spent the money on a 32-piece orchestra, and it shows. Where "true" Black Metal bands would use keyboards and synthesizers to try and capture the grandeur that should by all accounts be in their music, Dimmu do it properly and get slated for it. Progenies of the Great Apocalypse is perhaps the best example of this, in which Black Metal is flawlessly grafted onto what could easily be a film-score. Eradication Instincts Defined, with its strings and brass giving it perhaps an even more epic sound than the aforementioned Progenies, again takes your breath away, especially when the strings return near the end and Shagrath screams with an almost tangible hatred in time to the backing composition. The best tracks, though, are the amazing Vredesbyrd, in which you don't have to understand a word to feel the passion of the song, and Allehelgens Død I Helveds Rikke, with Hestnæs' soaring voice in the middle giving an overwhelming feeling of grandeur. It's also nice that they've put the only Anti-Christian song on the album in Norwegian, though as an atheist I'm not overly bothered anyway. I could mention every track here and name an attribute, they're all so good. Perhaps the only weak track on here is Lepers Among Us, which no matter how many times I hear it still fails to do anything for me. That said, it may be unfair to judge it so harshly, sandwiched as it is between two epic tracks.

The digipack itself is awesome, with excellent artwork inside the booklet and an admittedly pointless unfolding cover to finish it off. In all, if you're walking home late at night, there's nothing better to listen to to make you feel like you're unstoppable.

Apparently the digipack, the orchestra, the English lyrics in most songs and the high quality of the sound makes them commercial sellouts; it does make you wonder what the "true" Black Metal bands signed onto record labels for, if not to make money. Apperently it's something, because where this should be held high as a modern Black Metal masterpiece it's being criminally discarded. Listen to it over and over again; it will amaze you every time.
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on 3 January 2008
The reviewer above has got his wires crossed. This is the DVD Audio version of DCA and it sounds unbelievable! it has full 5.1 hi res surround sound. if you have a home cinema setup that plays DVD Audio this disc is a must.
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on 3 August 2008
Very good album and a pure Symphonic Metal release - a full orchestra (Prague Philharmonic) gives this the epic feel absent from albums only using synths or small chamber sections. A massive production and fast, heavy tracks oweing as much to Thrash as Black Metal.
A good comparison might just be Cradle Of Filth's Damnation & A Day - BUT this is a lot heavier!!!
This is easily as good as much of Therion or Nightwish, and I would recommend it if you like Metallica's S&M and want something MUCH darker and brutal!
There is also a slight industrial feel on a couple of tracks here, what with a few samples etc.
Basically though, it's harsh vocals singing armageddon lyrics, over chainsaw guitars, jackhammer, double bass mad drums and LAYERS of very ominous orchestral pieces! A lot of cool keyboard stuff as well.
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on 8 May 2007
I don't know where to start with this album, there are many TRUE black metal fans out there that hate this new DIMMU BORGIR. Well .... i think they are mad, don't get me wrong the early Dimmu albums are full of great atmosphere and some wonderful songs. Still, to overlook a masterpiece like this is just stupid. This album has everything, great vocals both harsh and clean, awesome guitar riffs and drumming, and best of all Mustis and his grandiose keyboard and orchestra work. Forget anything else you have read, if you love great metal with a beautiful syphonic kick to it you must buy this right now !!!!!
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on 6 January 2012
Perhaps it is just in retrospect that I can say how amazing DCA is. It is quite rare to be able to come back to an album time and time again, years after you first heard it, and still be amazed; but with DCA, you can. Dimmu Borgir are a band I get in and out of listening to, but have stood the test of time incredibly well. I own all their albums and like all of them in one way or another, but it has only been over the last few that they have got really good. Their newest (Abrahadabra) is quite simply amazing, with a more mature and reflective sound than ever before, In Sorte Diaboli before it was a sleekly dark masterwork that firmly put Dimmu back on the extreme metal map. This, Death Cult Armageddon, was the one before either of those, and quite possibly their best (although Abrahadabra gives it a run for its money!)

Everything pre-DCA (especially pre-Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia) was good but slightly silly and cringeworthy in places. DCA keeps a few of those cheesier, early elements - Vortex's clean vocals - which work in places but are a little OTT in others - sometimes badly written lyrics and the occasional voice-over which all sound pretty dumb. However, overall, this was the beginning of a fuller, more rounded and more intelligent sound for Dimmu. The orchestra is well used especially in the cinematic Progenies of the Great Apocalypse and Eradication Instincts Defined, which are both sweepingly dramatic, heavily orchestral songs. The song-writing is just generally very, very solid and very good. There is little to nothing to criticise - drama, symphony, darkness, anger, in places beautiful, and always heavy - DCA is as close to a perfect heavy/extreme metal album as you can get.

Great songs from start to finish: Opening with Dimmu's trademark, black metal style "chainsaw" guitar sound, running through a range of dark, heavy and slightly industrially-tinged songs, with some orchestral and dramatic moments, through to the final song Heavenly Perverse - which despite a lame opening is a very black-metal style piece, reminiscent of more "true" black metal bands. Two songs are performed in Norwegian, which is unusual and a nice touch. I cannot fault this album, other than for a few very minor touches which have been eradicated in their most recent album anyway. Your music collection and dare I say your life are not complete without Death Cult Armageddon.
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on 16 October 2006
What an album! From the thrash metal intoduction, through the 'We are gathered here, infront, of the Anti-Christ' to the finish, this album just pours out Black Metal talent through every second of the album. The new fan favourite - Progenies of the Great Apocalypse - has every DB element in it, the gruesome vocals of Shagrath, blast beats, heavy black metal riffs, Simen Hestnaes' clean vocals and plenty of orchestral keys from Mustis, this song starts aggresively and calms down for the keyboard solo before a battering ending of a typical DB style riff and thrash metal basslines. Vredesbyrd is one fantastic song, and a tribute to DB's songs that are totally in Norwiegan. Every track is different from each other track, and so makes an album of songs that you can tell apart. DB are, still, underrated by many hardcore Black Metal fans, and aren't shown the proper respect they deserve. Anyone who puts down this album just don't know what they're talking about. Black Metal has changed over the past 20 years, but seriously, how can u expect a music genre NOT to change over 2 decades? Dimmu Borgir are the best black metal band around at the moment. Even bands like Celtic Frost have had to change their live performances to be able to compete with new Black Metal bands.
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on 5 January 2014
I will have to beg forgiveness here because I actually bought DCA in 2003 and have never thought to write a review on it!

There have been other comments made as to whether Dimmu Borgir are death metal, black metal, epic metal...to be honest I don't really care what genre of metal they are, they are brilliant!

I bought this album back in 2003 as it was recommended by a friend. I have never grown tired of it. I recently bought myself a car and it has pride of place in my CD player. The orchestral arrangements are ones which could be found in films, the album has a very theatrical feel.

I love the combination of metal guitars and drums against the backdrop of a full orchestra. It sounds amazing. I loved the album so much that I never actually thought about seeing if they had any other albums; I have since done so and purchased Abrahadabra and am equally blown away by that.

I have heard some earlier albums from Dimmu Borgir which have synths rather than an orchestra, and they just don't bring the power that the full orchestra does.

Other reviews here are much more comprehensive, but if you like your metal being backed-up by an orchestra then DCA is another league and I recommend it highly!
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on 3 October 2015
Excellent release on a par with Stormblast: melodic rock which is not murdered by overpowering vocal "growling" Fans of Amon Amarth should check this band out I'm a fan and I can see quite a few similarities.
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