1980s power balladeer and one-time punk Belinda Carlisle said it best; heaven is a place …
Back in May, Silenoz, axe wizard for devastating metal warriors Dimmu Borgir, spoke to Hysteria with retrospective philosophy about the constructs and of their then upcoming album, Eonian.
Five months on, Silenoz is still waiting for the light bulb moment for the many who approach this though-provoking album. “I think the album I still so fresh and from that point of view, I’ve not seen much response.
“I think that’s a good thing though, because that means that hopefully people are questioning things and don’t take our word for it.”
There’s something sinister in Silenoz as he chuckles. Dimmu Borgir worked so hard, and so closely on this concept album, it’s only natural they should want at least one person to understand what it is they were trying to tap into. “That would a great compliment if fans would have that feeling about from digging the music,” says Silenoz. “To me, for each album it’s more and more of a question than a conclusion. That’s also why I’m still reluctant to talk subjectively about what I feel it’s all about because it changes.
“I think art, music, should be something that changes your position from time to time, that you’re not stuck in one interpretation.”
It’s nice to see Silenoz still has plenty of reflection surrounding the album and what Dimmu Borgir have created – in a way, it would be limiting for him to reach conclusions too quickly, he needs to change from time to time.
And there’s that word again – time. For all that Dimmu Borgir looked to push against that manmade construct and approach the concept in Eonian both philosophically and scientifically, there’s no avoiding the old fiend. “It would be foolish to think about time in the normal, human way – that’s just for us to keep a schedule,” Silenoz chuckles. “Time on its own – it doesn’t really exist, does it?”
I think art, music, should be something that changes your position from time to time, that you’re not stuck in one interpretation.
For the purpose of this conversation, Silenoz agrees to try and give time some form within the constraints of black metal, and to discuss time in the sense that in two weeks’ time, Dimmu Borgir will be in Australia on tour – yet another number added to the notch they’ve built up – 2018 is the 25th anniversary of the band, Eonian is the tenth studio album, seven years between releases, two weeks until tour – no matter how hard the try, no matter how pensively and darkly they attempt to address it, Dimmu Borgir still can’t shake time. “That’s the nice paradox of it,” says Silenoz. “It feels great to finally be able to get this thing going and have the new album in the bag. I feel to do a short headline tour would be unfulfilling, especially to come down with an old album.
“To do a headline show in Australia is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. It feels like an accomplishment in itself to be able to finally come over.”
The blackened call of guitars, orchestral opulence, a siren’s call chorus – how, you may ask, will the thematic intensity and the doldrums darkness of Eonian translate to our stages? Without the masses of people in a choir and an orchestra to fulfil the sweeping effects of Eonian, Dimmu Borgir are going to rely on their own brutality to get the crowds going. “In the new album we didn’t utilise a full live orchestra, we used a few samples,” Silenoz explains. “You have to have a really nice ear to hear the difference – we have to do what we have to do to make it work.
“Some people might look at it as cheating, but I think we would be cheating ourselves if that was our reason for not playing shows. People have no concept of the expenses that do go into such a monumental happening.”
Silenoz seems far more logical this side of the album release, talking of logistics and finances, scheduling and opportunity. Again, more man-made constructs – money, social pressures – it’s a wonder it’s not suffocating to Silenoz’ creative ideas. “Not when it comes to the music side,” he says reasonably, “That monetary system has a limit to show stuff and how you want to put on a live show. That’s limiting from the get-go which is something I really hate, but there is no other alternative.
“The alternative would be not to play live, to stay at home – that’s not an option for us.”
Dimmu Borgir Australian Tour
Wednesday 17 October // 170 Russell // Melbourne
Friday 19 October // Eatons Hill // Brisbane
Sunday 21 October // The Metro // Sydney