16 October 2018 at 107 Russell
School night or no, Melbourne rarely falters when welcoming music legends. The dreary Tuesday evening was aflood with metalheads upholding that reputation – giving Dimmu the overwhelmingly immense welcome that they deserve.
Celebrating their 25th anniversary, Dimmu Borgir are currently headlining their first Australian tour in support of their new album Eonian. This is the first time they’ve made the jaunt to the great southern land since their appearances during Soundwave 2011. As a precis; the crowd was more ferverent than you’d expect, and every damn moment was more than worth the protracted wait.
The traditional banter, booze and BS rapidly abated as the crowd was drawn into the hellish red glow of H&K tubemeister amps – Perth’s Earth Rot were armed and ready to set the stage ablaze. Their set opened with the kind of vicious, yet honed technical prowess that can only emerge from experience. This deathly juggernaut was driven forth by strong inter-band communication, and emitted an air of ‘no fucking nonsense’.
Now folks, don’t let D.J. Maloney’s sparkly gold kit fool you. This guy is an absolute technician and gives Earth Rot the powerful backbone needed to wield a collective sound that massive. Kicking into Terraform from their 2017 release Renascentia urged the crowd further forward and got a very well deserved response. For those familiar with the aforementioned album, expect to see this particular track to leap out of the setlist and tear out your throat. Tom Waterhouse was mostly down to business, and didn’t delve too deep into onstage banter. Instead, all that energy was clearly poured into his performance. Visceral motions of throat slitting to taste testing mics, he is the kind of front man we need to see a lot more of.
The Ancient Fire was dedicated to the incredible, long awaited journey Dimmu Borgir had made down to Australia, which was incredibly well received. With the stage more than warm to the touch (kind of gross when you think about it too much), the calm before the storm settled in. Not long now.
“Wagneresque” passages ov downward spiralling entropy emitted from the stacks – finally, after hearing them many moons ago as a kid and being drawn deeper into black metal through their seductive darkness, I’d get to see Dimmu Borgir up close and personal.
Appropriately opening the set with new track The Unveiling, Dimmu’s re-imagined look of cowled heretical monks dominated the stage amidst the ominous billowing smoke. I threw my horns up in the air so hard I almost uppercutted someone, luckily with a swift apology I was able to contain my enthusiasm at least a bit. They came in hot, and extremely well rehearsed. It was amazing to see Dimmu back in such great form and going to war with the crowd – I can promise you everyone in the crowd that night felt that too.
The portal was opened with the roaringly anthemic Interdimensional Summit. The interaction between Galder, Shagrath & Silenoz lifted the track well beyond the confines of digital media – this was darkly tangible. After the first 5 songs, Shagrath finally addressed the crowd with an incredibly sincere expression of gratitude; Dimmu’s excitement to be back in Australia was genuine and would further enhance the entire rest of their set.
New addition to the lineup, bass player Victor Brandt is a monster of a performer. His style and prowess is a perfect fit for Dimmu Borgir’s evolved sound.
The audience was treated to a rarity during the encore as Dimmu launched into 1999’s The Insight & The Catharsis after long being benched from their setlists. The crowd went into a frenzy with the eruption of Great Progenies of the Apocalypse, so much so that even all the press was ejected from the other side of the D-barrier. The show was closed with Mourning Palace and topped off with a classic “Maiden” finish. With a classy group bow and greeting the crowd, the audience lingered long after they had left the stage. This says quite a lot about how incredible the show was.
Dimmu Borgir are playing a second show tonight (Wed 17th Oct) – tickets are extremely limited, so do not miss this rare opportunity!
Line-up: Dimmu Borgir, Earth Rot
Reviewer: Nat Harmer
Photocredits: Ellie Hayden