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Review of the Album In Sorte Diaboli by Norwegian Symphonic Metal Band Dimmu Borgir

Updated on December 9, 2021
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Why is In Sorte Diaboli a Special Album?

In Sorte Diaboli is the 2007 album by Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir and it is a darn good one! I myself didn’t think I’d be reviewing heavy metal albums especially albums that are this extreme sounding and have lyrical themes dealing with darkness, Satanism and hell. The Serpentine Offering may be the strongest song in the album even for a beginning to an album. After its dark, symphonic start, the riffing is catchy, and incredible beyond what words can describe. The start of it resembles a symphonic part that Cradle of Filth would use in their songs. Both of these bands were formed in the early 1990’s with Dimmu Borgir getting the upper hand obviously.

In Sorte Diaboli is made even more special of an album at least for me because my brother had bought it from China when he was living there at the time and then gave me a copy when he came back to visit one year. Ah, the memories, they are so sweet!!

In Sorte Diaboli Album Cover


In Sorte Diaboli is Not an Album for Everyone Here Is Why

This music is not for the faint of heart so if you think you will feel too overwhelmed to handle the brutality of the songwriting then stay away from this album.

More About the Song "The Serpentine Offering"

The song "The Serpentine Offering" refers to a snake that is tempting but fair. I am reminded of the serpent in the Bible that tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. In addition to the fast and crunchy riffing which is present in the song, there are clean vocals and a classical style symphonic part to it which makes this song like a symphonic death metal one. Lyrically, the song starts when the vocals kick in and he says that he is the story of every man being filled with hatred, darkness, and despair.

What Are the Two Best Songs in the History of Dimmu Borgir?

Along with the song Entrance, The Serpentine Offering is my favorite Dimmu Borgir song. The album is a concept album based on a story about a priest’s assistant that is a Christian at first but then he changes direction totally. After my return to listening to extreme heavy metal, I am more motivated than ever to cover the vast genre of heavy metal, even Dimmu Borgir. It takes a person of immense mental and emotional strength to be able to handle Dimmu Borgir’s music.

"The Serpentine Offering"

How is the Rest of In Sorte Diaboli?

The Conspiracy Unfolds is a song about a man that has fallen from grace and it looks like his final hour is near and his demise is certain. Sacrilegious Scorn has some nice, chanting vocal parts in it as the song is basically about the battle between the forces of good and evil. The song slows down and then there is some great piano play in here and that’s something we would not have heard from Dimmu Borgir in their early days. The Fallen Arises is a nicely constructed classically influenced instrumental from one of Norway’s finest extreme metal bands. Life is sweet when we can hear music like this even from a band whose lyrics are not the most positive. There is a sound of a horse as its steps can be heard in the song. The Fundamental Alienation has vocals that sound a bit like Mika Tonning, only slightly better. The song is about someone that feels that they are the kryptonite to The Inquisition. There are con artists in this life so we have to be careful. The Invaluable Darkness is a song about being warned about the impending doom and darkness that is coming as those that are unmerciful will gain the power. What is even more remarkable is that about a month ago, listening to Dimmu Borgir would have been totally out of the question for this writer as he was undergoing what seemed to be a major musical taste change. Well, when you fall in love with life as I have done, a resurgence is possible!

Is In Sorte Diaboli a better album than 1997’s Enthrone Darkness Triumphant? That is really hard to say but I have scored a major victory by being able to handle listening to such extreme metal music after a period of struggles in my personal life. Dimmu Borgir is still one of Norway’s best metal bands even after 25 years!

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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