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Live Report: Dimmu Borgir at Terminal 5, New York, November 8

Chris Krovatin is the author of the young-adult novels Heavy Metal & You and Venomous, as well as's “Final Six” blog. The latter book was the inspiration forDeadlocke, a one-shot published by Dark Horse Comics.

Last night, I went to see Dimmu Borgir, who played with Enslaved, Blood Red Throne, and Dawn of Ashes in New York. Here's what happened.

Word of the night: Monolith. 

First time I saw Dimmu Borgir: The Hard Rock Café in midtown with Krisiun and Cryptopsy. Some dude behind me kept screaming “STORMBLAST” for the entire performance.

Last time I saw Dimmu Borgir: Wacken Open Air 2007. They killed it.

Favorite thing about Terminal 5: It’s nestled beneath this grey monolith of a building overhang.

Least favorite thing about Terminal 5: It’s about three blocks West of anything.

Number of dudes in corpsepaint witnessed upon arrival: 6.

Number of dudes in corpsepaint in the audience: Too many to count. Hey, why not, man, Kiss and all that.

Weird corpsepaint choice of the night: The dude rocking the weird sideburn lines that Dimmu frontman Shagrath used to wear. Looks really weird next to all the slapdash paint jobs, I have to say.

Sad realization of the night: I’ve missed Dawn Of Ashes, who’s new album, Genocide Chapters, actually kicks two tons of blackened-death ass.

Price of a beer at Terminal 5: Six bucks for a Tecate. You people should be fucking ashamed of yourselves. Really.

Band one: Blood Red Throne, from Norway.

Sounds like: Exactly how you imagine a Norwegian death metal band to sound (and look). Big windmilly riffs, non-stop war machine drums, grunt upon grunt.

Crowd response: Monolithically positive.

To be fair: Blood Red Throne don’t get to the States much, and they’ve got a ton of material, so of course their fans are rabid. Plus, they have easily the best T-shirts available.

Confession: I bought BRT’s debut, Monument of Death, in 2001, and really disliked it, but I think I was just not in a death-metal mood at the time.

Crowd demographic: Predominantly people of color—black people, Latino people, Asian people. You think Dimmu shows are like this in Norway?

Lame merch situation: You guys are selling inverted cross necklaces, and you don’t have any fucking patches? Not a one?

Weird merch choice: Enslaved are going for a really weird tie-dyed hippie-metal thing for their shirts. Not really my cup of monoliths.

And with that: Enslaved from Norway.

Sounds like: The dark ethereal powers channeled by those beings who we can only comprehend as the Norse Gods.

What time is it: Why, it’s weed o’clock!

Awesome new jams played: “Ethica Odini.”

Classic guitar insanity: The masterful guitar wailing on “Ground” by the monolithic Ice Dale.

The great thing about Enslaved: They convey all the dark psychedelia of black metal while at the same time just being five dudes onstage exercising the ether—no set pieces, no costumes.

Number of times I covet Grutle Kjellson’s moustache: 35.

Newsworthy artistic choice: Dimmu Borgir recently changed the cover art for their newest album, Abrahadabra, only a few weeks after it was released. The change was from a multi-eyed industrial gargoyle man to the exact same image with a skull instead of a man’s face.

Recent suggestion heard by this author: The change was because the man’s face looked like he was blowing a dude.


And finally: Dimmu Borgir, from Norway.

Sounds like: The slow-rolling tank brigade of the Marquis De Sade’s apocalyptic army.

Looks like: …snow leopards, currently.

Dear Dimmu Borgir: I get what you’re doing with the white furry outfits. You’re trying to show how all-white is as kult as all-black, and you’re attempting to look like Vlad Tepes or Atilla the Hun or one of those maniacs out of time. And I respect that, that mountain warlord thing. But it’s really, really weird to see you dressed like black metal snow bunnies, and I was really, really hoping for some spiked black shinguards tonight. Just saying.

Crushing opener: “Spellbound (by the Devil).”

Great new track: “Born Treacherous.”

Best song of the set: The monolithic rendition of “Puritania.”

Interesting set piece: The standing model of the blowjob-y gargoyle head. Huh?

Must be a microphone: No…no, I think it’s just there.

Proof I’m psychic: “This next one is…’The Blazing Monoliths Of Defiance!’”

Of course: They wait to play “Mourning Palace” at the very end.

Verdict: Say what you want about Dimmu Borgir being mainstream or sell-outs or whatever—they sell it in the live arena.

But hey: That’s just my two monoliths.

Photo by Kjell Ivar Lund

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