Just a week after its American release Dimmu Borgir’s “In Sorte Diaboli” entered the Billboard 200 album list at a quite extraordinary 43rd. place. Only one Norwegian band has ever climbed higher, and that was A-ha a long time ago.
Dimmu Borgir is about as far away form A-ha as one would have cerebral powers to imagine. It is a band closer to the Kommodo Dragon than any eighties pop outfit. But even further away, one would have to concede, are Dimmu Borgir from the synthetic wholeheartedness of the school of American idols that dominate the lists these days. And that makes their sales-feat all the more remarkable. For such sales prove beyond dispute that it is not just the gloomy misfits that have flocked to the stores. In Sorte Diaboli being the 43rd most sold record over the past week says that Dimmu Borgir is something different altogether. They cater; it appears, to much wider audiences, and essentially to a much wider emotional and psychological phenomenon.
The trademark of the band has been interlacing the essentials of black metal with strands of classical music, and thus with musical and emotional properties that run counter to sheer darkness and aggression. They have the distinct ability to open up the songs into grandeur and momentous sweeps without sacrificing the aggression and force. By infusing these elements Dimmu Borgir cater to a much wider, and dare we say, older and deeper, human experience than the sheer black terror that has been black metal’s voice and raison d’etre. They open up for the notion of the majesty of evil, and this, with all its connotations, is a notion infinitely more potent. This is why they are the superstars of Black Metal, and this is why their billboard feat is not really suspiring, notwithstanding the extraordinariness of the fact itself.
It is not so surprising because Dimmu Borgir have been selling consistently well over several years now, and have kept growing. Especially in America, which is their principal market. Altogether the band has sold more than a million copies over their twelve-year career; more and more for each record released. Still, their previous release (barring the reissue of the ten-tear old Stormblast in 2005) “Death Cult Armageddon” marked something of a popular breakthrough; by cementing their ascent to the international throne of black metal and reaching wider audiences for whom Dimmu Borgir became the first initiation to this world of music. And it is following the massive touring they undertook in the wake of that release that “In Sorte Diaboli” has had such an immediate impact and rocketed them to a place hardly imaginable for a black metal outfit: the “impossible” upper realms of the billboard 200 album list.
In line with their commitment to bringing their churning maelstrom of music live to the ever growing audiences the band is currently out on an extensive tour of North America,