Dimmu Borgir

"Progeny of the Death Cult Millenium"

By Dr. Abner Mality

 The signs are all around us. Terror and paranoia are constant companions, manipulated by the calculating at the expense of the gullible. Storms of great magnitude and increasing frequency lash the land. Species vanish in a hail of silence. And our culture itself seems frenzied in its ignorance. Is the time of the Great Apocalypse approaching?

If so, Dimmu Borgir are here to welcome it. The symphonic black metal machine from Norway is now reaching new heights of exposure, thanks to their recent stint on Ozzfest 2004. With their combination of harsh, fast metal and decadent orchestration, they seem to be fitting harbingers of a new Dark Age. Their black metal brothers Cradle of Filth and Satyricon are also spreading the gospel of damnation but I turn now to Dimmu Borgir to hear their revelation of apocrypha.

Recently I communicated with Dimmu guitarist and arch-fiend Silenoz, whilst munching on candy in the Ozzfest media tent. After explaining the delights of Tootsie Rolls to him (he thought they were licorice, instead of chocolate), we got down to serious business and delved into the black heart of Dimmu Borgir...

Wormwood Chronicles: This is your first Ozzfest. How would you rate the experience so far?

Silenoz: I would rate it killer!

WC: Did it meet or surpass your expectations?

Silenoz: Maybe surpassed them, actually. I didn't expect that many people to get into us. We knew some of our fans would show up but there seem to be other people, newcomers, enjoying the band.

WC: Is now the right time for the symphonic black metal sound to hit America?

Silenoz: I think American audiences still have to be exposed to black metal in general. If we can be one of those bands that help them to explore other black metal bands, then that would be cool.

WC: I've heard it said that only Europeans can really understand the mythology and the imagery that goes along with black metal.

Silenoz: There are a few people over here who understand it but the younger fans over here have probably not been exposed to the background of it. But everyone has to start somewhere, you know!

WC: It has deep roots in European culture...

Silenoz: Tradition! Yeah, yeah! Especially in Scandanavia. There's a lot of tradition from there that goes into what we do.

WC: "Death Cult Armageddon", your latest effort, was a very epic, very long record. Are you going to continue on this same path? Or will it be a bit more stripped down?

Silenoz: It all depends. We haven't written any new material yet, but I'm sure no matter what we come up with, we will use it as long as we feel comfortable with it. I think it won't be all that far in sound from the previous album but we're going to take things a step further, I'm sure.

WC: It seems that any transition you've had between albums has always been pretty smooth. There's always a change, but it's never a jolting change.

Silenoz: No! I think that shows the strength of the band, that we can renew ourselves but still keep the traditional sound of Dimmu Borgir.

WC: I always get a kick out of these elaborate promo photos that the band uses on each release...the naughty nurses, the flaming bibles, all of that stuff. What's your fave out of all those pictures and why?

Silenoz: I don't think I really have a favorite! I think every member had an idea of his own and we put it into actual practice.I think everyone has been lucky to get what they wanted to portray.

WC: Each member says "this is what I would like" and then gets something close to what he envisioned?

Silenoz: Yeah!

WC: What's it like playing with living legends like Sabbath and Priest?

Silenoz: It's like a childhood dream come true. I didn't believe it until I played the first Ozzfest show.

WC: How amazing is it to see the real Judas Priest?

Silenoz: Yeah, just to see them is incredible. To play on the same stage with them is great!

WC: I can sometimes even hear Priest or Sabbath influences in your music...

Silenoz: Oh, yeah! There's a lot of traditional heavy metal incorporated into our music. Because we have so many diverse influences, that's why we have so many different types of fans, too.

WC: Is Satan still a part of Dimmu?

Silenoz: It's a name we use to get attention. We base Satanic values more on individual values.

WC: Do you think he exists? And if so, in what form?

Silenoz: No. It's more up here, you know. (points to head). It's an idea, it's nothing physical, nothing you can touch.

WC: Do you think that holds true of all gods and deities?

Silenoz: I think those concepts are pretty narrow minded in a way. We use a lot of symbolism and metaphors to get our points across.

WC: Is the universe just random chaos that people impose their own will on?

Silenoz: I think each person has the power to control their own destiny, but if you don't care, then your destiny will have have control over you.

WC: What' s the drummer situation for Dimmu? Is Tony Laureano from Nile still drumming for you on this tour?

Silenoz: Oh, we're still using Tony, he's been great so far.

WC: Will he be a permanent part of Dimmu?

Silenoz: No, we're not going to take any new members. On the next album, we will just hire a session drummer.

WC: Do you feel the current Dimmu line-up is the ultimate one?

Silenoz: That's what I've been saying for each album, but yeah, that's what kept our sound fresh, getting new people in and incorporating their talent into the writing process but no matter who comes and goes, it will always be Dimmu in one way or another.

WC: What was the last CD you got for your own enjoyment?

Silenoz: Mmmmmm. The last CD I got was the new Bloodbath CD, "Reborn Through Carnage". I just got the advance for their next album, which is pretty awesome.

WC: I see you're wearing an old Carnage T-shirt,.I was one of the few Yanks who bought the original on vinyl when it came out.

Silenoz: Cool!

WC: The old Stockholm death metal sound was one of my favorites...

Silenoz: Yeah, yeah, it's one of my favorites,too!

WC: There seems to be a return to this style, as a reaction to a lot of the melodic death metal coming out today, which doesn't sound very morbid to me.

Silenoz: No, no, it's not. I don't know where some of those bands get the death metal term from. When your hear the term "death metal", you should get an evil feel from it, and I don't get that from happy Maiden/Helloween riffs.

WC: What was the last gig you saw just for your own enjoyment?

Silenoz: That was the WASP show when they played in Oslo. It was really good. I didn't think they'd play that much old stuff but they actually did, so it was really cool.

WC: Have you ever had a Spinal Tap moment?

Silenoz: Too many to mention.

WC: Any one you'd like to share with us?

Silenoz: About three years ago, when we received an Alarm Award (European music award), we were supposed to go up on stage and receive it. We went up the stairs and went behind the backdrop of the whole show and suddenly we were lost and had to get security to help us get on stage.

WC: You were ready to yell "Hello, Cleveland"?

Silenoz: (laughs) Something like that!

WC: Has wearing all the heavy duty spiked leather gear ever caused one of you guys to dehydrate at an outdoor concert?

Silenoz: No, not dehydrate. But during a really warm show, you feel like you're gonna pass out sometimes!

WC: Any final words for your Americans fans?

Silenoz: We're really grateful that so many are here for us. Every time we tour the States, we see new faces so we know we must be doing something right!

Dimmu Borgir's Official Website