By Carl Begai
It’s been seven years since Norway’s #1 loved and loathed black metal export Dimmu Borgir released their ninth album, Abrahadabra. Not the best record in the band’s catalogue according to many a fan, but more than enough time has passed to warrant a crushing return to glory… which makes Dimmu Borgir’s decision to release a live DVD / Blu-ray package featuring performances over five years old confusing. Make no mistake; Forces Of The Northern Night is a beautifully crafted memoir for diehard followers featuring the band performing two special shows with a full symphony orchestra and choir, but after this amount of time people were expecting brand new music. According to guitarist Silenoz, the fans only need to stretch their collective patience until the end of the year because there is in fact a method to their current madness.
“We did some touring with Abrahadabra but not that much, and we took a break that just got longer and longer,” Silenoz says of Dimmu Borgir’s prolonged silence. “We’ve never been the typical run-of-the-mill band that records an album, goes on tour, records an album, goes back on tour. We’ve always taken our time and it works for us, which is the only formula we have.”
The break from touring and recording played a big role in enabling the band to pull off the two shows featured on Forces Of The Northern Night – first in 2011 with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Schola Cantorum Choir (KORK) in Oslo, then with the Czech National Orchestra at the Wacken Open Air 2012 – and compile the material for official release.
“It really takes a lot of preparation to pull off something like the orchestral shows, and it’s been a dream of ours for many years to be able to perform with a live orchestra since we’ve utilised symphony orchestra on our albums. It was just a matter of time until it happened, and it was great that the orchestra approached us about doing it rather than the other way around. That’s what made it feasible for us to be able to do it. Then the Wacken Open Air asked us if we could do a special orchestra show in 2012, and because we did it the year before one thing just led to another. Next thing we know, we’re playing this epic show in front of 80,000 people with 100 people on stage, and we didn’t really have a soundcheck (laughs).” Continue reading BraveWords Interview: DIMMU BORGIR – Night Comes Out Of Black
When you encounter a band boasting a song entitled ‘Feed A PETA Member To A Starving Child In Africa’ it’s a reasonable assumption they aren’t going to be giving you Mötley Crüe or Slipknot anthems. Los Angeles-based Ana Kefr are the culprits in question, and it’s clear from the word “go” that the very last thing they’re interested in is playing to singalong industry / scene expectation. Described by yours truly in a 2009 review as a demented mating of Dimmu Borgir and Voivod, the band’s independently released debut album Volume 1 is a large-as-life offering of off-the-wall strangeness. Not because it meanders like a Mr. Bungle prog thrash experiment gone mad, but because in spite of the epic scope of the music the songs are rooted firmly at street level. Ana Kefr never get lost in their own brilliance. No surprise, then, that frontman / co-founder Rhiis Lopez is likewise grounded with a very simple and well fed passion for what he does.
“Dimmu Borgir and Voivod happen to be two great bands, so comparisons like that are a big compliment,” says Lopez. “Ana Kefr’s sound is actually the product of both myself and Kyle (Coughran / rhythm guitars). Kyle and I both come from diverse musical backgrounds, we’ve grown up listening to artists from every genre you can imagine. As far as any ‘off-the-wall strangeness’, there’s not really a point to writing music, being in a band, performing or anything else if you’re just going to rip off someone else. I understand being inspired by other artists, but sounding like another act is kind of like being in a touring karaoke band – it doesn’t feel artistically honest. I’d rather have a flawed original work than a perfected forgery. Continue reading ANA KEFR – Rhyme, Reason, Rage
It’s a strange day in hell when a band bridges the gap between Dimmu Borgir and Voivod. Ana Kefr’s debut succeeds in doing just that; a vicious stand-alone conceptual piece featuring an uncompromising and ultimately unique sound in spite of the comparisons drawn. The Death Cult Armageddon vibe over top an instantly recognizable Voivod thrash and clatter is a shock to the system as lead-off track ‘The Day That Guilt Turned White’ gathers momentum, to the point that one wonders if Shagrath and Away were conscripted for the recordings. Dynamics reign, however, as Ana Kefr churn out what is quite possibly one of the most captivating listening experiences of the year, never remaining in one place too long yet smart enough to keep things simple and to the point. Continue reading ANA KEFR – Volume 1 (Muse Sick Records)