Dimmu Borgir | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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If it's searing, soaring, inventive metal you're after, you can try to sort through the countless American contenders--or you can skip the patriotic pretense and go straight to the land of the ice and snow. The Norwegian band Dimmu Borgir (named after a lava formation in Iceland whose name translates, roughly, as "dark, foggy castle") have for years been one of the brightest dark stars in that weird winter sky, worth virtually any import tariff. Their incorporation of most of metal's history into their sound makes them accessible to those not yet initiated into the cult of black metal, and the fact that they've written in English doesn't hurt either--but I wouldn't want to imply that they're less than pure to their ghoulish faces. On their sixth full-length, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia (on Nuclear Blast in the U.S.), they're a sextet, with two guitarists, singer Vortex (who joined for 1999's opus, Spiritual Black Dimensions) on clean "operatic" vocals that offset founding front man Shagrath's throaty howl, and former Cradle of Filth drummer Nick Barker. Despite the extra personnel, it's less sludgy than previous releases, with a brisker sound that's frankly a little heavy on the keyboards for my taste, but their violent virtuosity is undiminished. Even the orchestra parts are true metal, somehow. Cannibal Corpse headlines; the Haunted and Lamb of God open. Tuesday, May 1, 6:15 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212.


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