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Album Review: DIMMU BORGIR Inspiratio Profanus

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This year, Jessheim's Dimmu Borgir celebrated 30 triumphant years of existence. Thus, they performed a very special set, which was curated by Finn Håkon Rødland, during the 2023 edition of Beyond the Gates. At this Bergen-based fest, Rødland brought even more glory to the band by presenting a Dimmu Borgir exhibition that garnered much attention. Of course, the support for both events confirmed just how beloved Dimmu Borgir remains. Inspiratio Profanus proves a perfect way to honor Dimmu Borgir's illustrious career thus far.

As one of the most commercially successful black metal bands, Dimmu Borgir has churned out a ton of great content over the years and helped bring the genre to the average home. Thus, it hardly comes as a surprise that Inspiratio Profanus is a highly accessible effort that anyone should be able to appreciate.

Inspiratio Profanus is fun, refreshing, and energetic. This album includes cover songs from various eras of Dimmu Borgir's history that were first released by their creators in the '80s and '90s. On Inspiratio Profanus, the charismatic Dimmu Borgir conquers a variety of styles and artfully adds their unique touch. The comp begins with a pleasing take on the classic "Black Metal," the first track on Venom's historic 1992 album by the same name. This selection suits Shagrath's voice well.

"Dead Men Don't Rape," which premiered on G.G.F.H's Disease (1993), certainly provides an amusing and pleasant change after "Satan My Master," which was recorded by Bathory in 1984 and released in 1998. On "Dead Men Don't Rape," Dimmu Borgir effectively cultivates an ominous, haunting, and gripping atmosphere. This naughty little gem was especially well-chosen and feels especially black metal, despite being an industrial number.

The fourth composition, "Nocturnal Fear," comes across as confident and true to the spirit of rebellious music. This offering serves as a fitting homage to the legendary Celtic Frost, who debuted it on Morbid Tales (1984). The finale happens to be a cover of the same song, but this time it is aptly titled "Nocturnal Fear (Celtically Processed)." These two versions are equally delightful and were originally released on the EP Devil's Path (1996).

The fifth track, a rendition of Twisted Sister's 1984 hit "Burn in Hell," stands out as an album highlight. It begins on a very sinister note and then explodes with vibrant energy that could fill a huge stadium. This cover, with its mix of clean and harsh vocals and soaring guitars, can be described as a successful culture clash. Dimmu Borgir's "Burn in Hell" is so quirky that it is bound to leave listeners feeling stunned. However, it has already won over a good amount of listeners, so there is a good chance you might already be acquainted with it.

This nostalgic pick beautifully gives way to another reinterpretation of a song from 1984: Dimmu Borgir enchants us with their musical wizardry on their reimagining of Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers." Again, we enjoy some clean vocals here as we will on the following selection — a delightful spin on the title track of Accept's 1985 record, Metal Heart. This bold, powerful, playful, and heavy song includes an especially dazzling solo that is nothing short of ear candy.

Inspiratio Profanus showcases especially beautiful artwork by Blaze of Perdition and Mānbryne's Sonneillon. This demonstrates the care that the highly professional Dimmu Borgir team put into this must-have album.

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