DIMMU BORGIR, Gateways (2010, Nuclear Blast)
One thing’s for sure: this skull cover matches the music inside…highly-adorned and faked-up with lots of technology. This skull has a couple extra sets of eye sockets above its main ones, and although a lone skull is completely useless as a warrior, it is nonetheless dressed for war here. With a horny (hehe) headpiece, little shield-like things hanging around, and various weird shit scattered around it, it’s probably more ornamental than something actually utile.
The only Dimmu Borgir song I ever liked was 1997’s “Mourning Palace,” and even that song’s effect wore off after about 5 or 6 listens. Fast forward to 2010 and Dimmu Borgir sounds really, really unappealing. This single, “Gateways,” is more Rammstein than Norwegian black metal in its cold militaristic cadence, and the plastic-y production is terrible: feather-light guitar sound, repetitive triggered double bass, sampled choir vocals, cheesy synth sounds that are WAY too high in the mix. If Leaves’ Eyes covered newer Immortal songs and Abbath sang guest vocals, it might sound like this, but really, “Gateways” is even worse than that description sounds. I’m not, however, gonna be a retard and say “Dimmu Borgir have lost it!”…because they never had it.
— Friar Wagner