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SHOW REVIEW: Dimmu Borgir
9:30 Club - December 11, 2003 (Washington, D.C.)

By: Athena Schaffer

An ominously dark cloud descended upon Washington, DC on December 11, when black metal's finest, Dimmu Borgir, rolled into the city for a show at the 9:30 Club. The Nation's Capital will never be the same!

The show was the next-to-last stop of the U.S. leg of this Norwegian band's tour promoting their latest album, Death Cult Armageddon (on Nuclear Blast Records). Dimmu Borgir were greeted on just about every stop of this tour with sold-out crowds -- including two sold out shows in Los Angeles.

Hypocrisy opened the show with a half-hour set, enough to get the mosh pit started. Next up was Finland's Children of Bodom, sounding note-perfect from their albums including their newest, Hate Crew Deathroll. Seattle-based Nevermore kept the dark momentum building on ebony raven's wings.

But nothing could prepare the crowd for the amazing onslaught of power as Dimmu Borgir hit the stage! Dimmu Borgir's music is larger-than-life on their cd's - multiply that tenfold for the force they deliver the songs with live! Songs from Death Cult Armageddon were strongly represented in the set, including "Lepers Among Us", "Vredesbyrd", "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse", "Cataclysm Children". Other gems as dark yet sparkling as onyx from their vast backlog were also interspersed. "In Death's Embrace", "Kings of the Carnival Creation", "IndocriNation," "The Insight and the Catharsis", "Spellbound", "Raabjorn speiler Draugheimens Skodde", "Stormblast", and "Mourning Palace" - providing a great sampling of earlier material for new fans and a well-rounded look back at some favorites of long-time fans.

For the uninitiated, Dimmu Borgir's sound is a perfect blend of the hardest of metal along with classical-like melodies, conjuring up such diverse images in the listener's mind as a post- apocalyptic, dark future; or a past filled with Viking raids; or the darket of magickal rites . They musically raise power that would make the strongest of medieval alchemists or ancient druidic priests extremely envious.

Decked out in full corpse paint and metallic studs, these guys held the enthralled audience at the 9:30 Club in the palms of their hands - the throngs of headbangers in the audience were almost like in a hypnotic trance the moment the band members hit the stage and the first notes sounded.

Nicholas Barker's masterful, forceful drumming set the foundation along with Vortex's bass and strong backing vocals. Mustis' keyboards cast a spell of dark enchantment. It was amazing to watch dual guitar fretwork precision from Silenoz and Galder Shagrath's snarling, distinctive vocal work entranced the audience, fans undeniably hanging onto every word. The audience was indeed, "Spellbound" (coincidentally, the first song of the encore) every moment of the show.

Definitely, Dimmu Borgir musically conquered one of the most powerful cities in the world. Their performance was absolutely amazing.

I'm sure the Old Gods of Asgard must be smiling down on these guys!

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