Celebrating their 25th Anniversary and release of the new album Eonian, Norwegian symphonic black metal beasts Dimmu Borgir graced our shores this month for their very first headlining tour in Australia. To accompany them on the Australasian part of the tour is blackened death metal and Perth locals Earth Rot. The Metro Theatre in Sydney was alive with the hum of Dimmu fans and upon arriving, the venue was packed out with a diverse array of new and seasoned metal enthusiasts brimming with anticipation as to what they may play for their last leg of the Aussie tour.
The 4 piece Earth Rot were a perfect choice in opening and definitely warmed the crowd up enough to get a nice and steady buzz happening. Their fluctuation between death, thrash, black metal and sludge was seamless and catchy as hell. They lubricated the crowd with songs from both their 2014 release Follow the Black Smoke and more recent album Renascentia (2017). With a few catchy riffs like Terrorform and Stares of Sempiternity, there was a unison nod of head movements from the crowd that were all in agreement that whether you'd heard them before or not, these guys were impressive. The Ancient Fire and Black Tears were definitely crowd favourites of which they dedicated to Dimmu Borgir in metal salute. The perfect black metal segue and tasteful send off for the main act. Earth Rot were a great representation of how far the Australian extreme music scene has evolved and continues to provide quality brutal music
As the smoke gathers and the atmosphere tenses, Dimmu appear on stage and rip us open with one of their newest pieces, The Unveiling. They follow this up with their first single release off the new album, Interdimensional Summit. Giving us a taste for the hell mouth that is about to open beneath us, there is a heightened interaction between the legion and Shagrath. Chanting lyrics and demonic calls make it clear that the new album is being received well among fans. So far, Eonian translates incredibly well live and adds further depth to an already spectacularly well rounded release.
We are then thrown back into the abyss of The Chosen Legacy with blackened riffs surrounded by mass chants of "In Sorte Diaboli". The Serpentine Offering, an all time fan favourite plays next and explodes the theatre in epic proportions. The crowd continues to clap in synchronism as Gateways begins and the venue continues to whir with excitement as we enter the second half of the show.
After a quick costume change and ambient break, we are lead into a few more releases from the new album with I Am Sovereign, Council of Wolves and Snakes and Archaic Correspondence. The mass response continues to increase with acceptance and enjoyment of the new material with further chanting and rhythmic movements. The crack and hiss of a radio starts and the crowd bursts into a frenzy as Puritania destroys everything and everyone in sight. When the set ends and the band walks off stage, the entire theater erupts in a Dimmu chant for the encore to begin.
Indoctrination blasts through and clears up the skeletal remains of anyone left standing as we taste the true dark core of Dimmu Borgir. Just when you think it couldn't get any better, they kick it up a notch with Progenies of the Great Apocalypse. Once complete, it evokes beast and demonic like callings from the crowd in revelled agreement of brutality. Finally the onslaught is complete with a return to 1997 and the roots of Dimmu sound with Mourning Palace. The ideal song to end on for a theater full of blood thirsty patrons.
Dimmu Borgir and Earth Rot delivered a supreme performance that whet the appetite of all in attendance. There was a hope for more Stormblast material to be present however with promises of a Dimmu return in the future there is hope of hearing those goods yet. Their 25 year legacy and impeccable musicianship was clearly evident throughout the entire show. This experience illustrated that the world of Dimmu Borgir is meant to be experienced live and fill stadiums, not just living rooms. Let us pray to the metal gods that the next tour is not so far and few between.