Dimmu Borgir

Live at The Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal Studios: LA, CA 11/05/2008 as part of The Blackest of the Black Tour

Review by Travis Baumann

It has been a phenominal year for seeing metal acts in Los Angeles. The last two months alone have been insane but one of the occurances that mark this as such a special year is the chance to see Dimmu Borgir not once, but twice in such a short span.

I caught Dimmu Borgir's headlining show in Anaheim back in April and now I get the chance to see one of the most impressive bands in the world a second time and as special invited guests of Danzig's Blackest of the Black 2008 tour.

As an added bonus, another one of my favorite bands, Moonspell played immediately before Dimmu Borgir went on, so I was extremely happy. I would have ditched both opening bands so that Moonspell could have a full set but neither Skeleton Witch or Winds of Plague were too bad in actuality.

Dimmu Borgir had stated publicly what an honor it was to be requested by the legendary Glen Danzig to be the act immediately preceding his performance. Danzig started his musical career before I was even allowed to pick out my own music as a child but once I heard the Misfits I was a fan of his and have been for the greater portion of my life.

This time around Dimmu Borgir had a few member changes due to Galdar having just had a child born, so they had a substitute guitarist and the drummer had also changed from the last time I saw them.

The set opened with their usual epic symphonic bombast as the members took the stage. First the drummer and their keyboard player, Mustis took the stage with thier arms raised and fingers making the devil-horn salute. The new guitarist came out next followed closely by Vortex and Silenoz who played bass and guitar respectively.

Shaggrath came out last and they immediately broke into "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" off of "Death Cult Armaggedon". Last time I saw them, this was one of the last songs the did in encore so it was awesome to see it first thing. Vortex also sings the operatic style vocals that are intersparsed with Shaggrath's dark demonic vocals and we got to hear him right away as this song utilizes his vocal talents.

Shaggrath then announced they were doing "The Serpentine Offering" off of "In Sorti Diabolique". The crowd went crazy and sang along, as did I. They transitioned into "The Chosen Legacy" without pause which lead directly into "The Sinister Awakening" all off of the new album. During this trilogy of newer material two scantily clad women with sinister facial paint came out and writhed like demonic succubi to the music off to each side of the stage directly behind Silenoz and Vortex.

I made my way back to my seat during "Sinister Awakening" and found that the sound which had been awesome up close to the stage got very murky and much less clear in the guitars especially the further back I went.

Shaggrath anounced the next song by saying it was one they had not played live in many years: "Reptile" off of "Spiritual Black Dimensions". I was very excited about this and wished they had done that one the last time I saw them. It sounded really good and was cool to hear a song I had never heard live.

They lead directly into "Kings of the Carnival Creation", another fantastic song from their 2001 release "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia". They were playing many songs that utilized Vortex's operatic vocals intermixed with Shaggrath's which are usually my favorite songs on disc and live.

Their next song jumped back to one of their earliest releases for "Spellbound (By the Devil)" which I love live. They then came round to their newest album again with one of my favorite songs of theirs, "The Sacrilegious Scorn".

They then played "Puritania" which was so mind-numbingly awesome the last time I saw them I could not get enough but this time with the acoustics of the place and the substitute guitarist it was muddy and sounded off. It may have been spot-on down front but from way in back, the sounds collided and the guitars seemed out of sync and at odds with the keyboards.

Shaggrath was awesome however, as I love when he uses distortion on his voice and when he sings in a more Industrial vein which he does from time to time and he saved the song from total disappointment. This was the only song that really lacked for me the entire set, however and I really do blame the acoustics of the place more than anything.

Shaggrath announced they were now at the last song of the set as they began "Mourning Palace" off of one of their earliest releases "Darkness Enthroned Triumphant".

It was a great song and a great way to end the show. The instrumental "The Fallen Arises" played as they exited. Due to time restrictions on all-ages shows they had to be done and did not come out and do an encore, but it would have been great to see more.

Overall a fantastic set with at least one song from each of their major releases. The crowd was emphatically pleased and wanted more. My only complaint is the venue sucked with its varying quality sound, seating and access restrictions, extortion-priced alcohol, and time restrictions on the bands. But as always Dimmu Borgir rocked and rule the metal scene.

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