Dimmu Borgir – Forces of the Northern Night (DVD Review)
Five years in the making, Forces of the Northern Night is the third DVD from Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir. The DVD features two 90 minute sets, the first, entitled Forces of the Northern Night, is a recording from a performance in Oslo with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Choir. The second performance, their set at Wacken Open Air 2012, with the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra and the Schola Cantorum Choir, is entitled Forces Over Wacken.
The sound throughout the performances is incredibly crisp and true to the studio editions of their songs, to the point where it may sound slightly overproduced. However, it is certainly a testament to Dimmu Borgir’s live professionalism. The setlist is the same throughout both performances, and it is dominated by songs from 2010’s Abrahadabra.
The Forces of the Northern Night performance captures the band at their most well-choreographed and polished. It is clear from the videography that an immense amount of planning was necessary to enable the band to accommodate an orchestra and a choir on stage. Dressed in robes and dark makeup, the orchestra and choir manage to maintain a sinister presence.
While the band put on an excellent show in Forces of the Northern Night, the shots chosen of the crowd at times, especially at the beginning, appear somewhat lacklustre compared to the energy presented by Dimmu Borgir on stage. This however improves throughout the performance with the inclusion of shots crowd surfers taken by fans. Die-hard fans in their own versions of Dimmu Borgir’s make-up are also shown later on, which gives a wonderful insight into the passion the fans have for the bands, which is always a compelling part of a live performance.
Forces Over Wacken captures the scale of performance Dimmu Borgir can take on. It provides a slightly wilder show, with equally enticing visual and audio performances from the band.
Top moments from the set include Gateways which contains an intense cameo from Djerv frontwoman, Agnete Kjølsrud. Her inclusion in the performance meant the band could stay true to the original version of the song, and it worked incredibly well by adding even more diversity to their set. The next major standout was the elongated intro for the song Dimmu Borgir, which was an excellent addition and showcased the talent of the orchestra and choir. It also gave a larger-than-life feel to the song, which was well suited to the venue and the scale of the performance.
As twilight falls over Wacken, Dimmu Borgir’s setlist is rounded out by some of their older material. Most notably, The Serpentine Offering and Mourning Palace are some older gems that manage to keep the adrenaline high and the crowd happy. Finally, the set is closed by Perfection or Vanity which is a great tribute to the choir and orchestra, as an instrumental piece, it put their efforts front and centre.
Forces of the Northern Night provides a great, technically perfect live show but the standout DVD in the set is certainly Forces Over Wacken. This DVD set is a must for any long-term fans and is also a great intro to the band for those who might be curious, as it provides a visual introduction to the band, without sacrificing studio audio quality.
Forces of the Northern Night is currently available for pre-order and will be available to purchase from Nuclear Blast Records on April 28.