As I approached the Great hall in Cardiff, I will admit I was restless but thrilled – I was about to experience a band I’ve waited years to see live, as well as actually about to meet them in person. Upon walking into the venue the thoughts tumbled through my head: Will everything go smoothly? Will the band be difficult or straightforward to interview? Will I experience technical difficulties? And have I remembered everything? Those thoughts were instantly dismissed.
Once initial contact was made with the touring team, I instantly began to relax – everyone was good-humoured and in high spirits. This was it: I was about to finally meet the masters of symphonic black metal: Dimmu Borgir!
During the introductions to Silenoz, Galder and Cyrus, I had to remind myself that they were in fact Dimmu Borgir – and until you encounter it yourself you will never understand the shock value of seeing a band out of their corpse paint. The interview itself was entertaining, the guys being far from what I expected – they were confident but relaxed, full of laughter and very accommodating. Near the end of the interview I asked about their future, to which (as can be heard on the audio) they replied “grapefruits!” Now, just to clear this up, for those who don’t know me I am very expressive with my hands, and when I asked that question it looked like I was offering invisible fruits to everyone. Anyway, after the interview we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
After a brief hunt for food, I returned to the venue with camera in hand and was astonished by the transformation the Great Hall had undergone in such a short space of time. The atmosphere was electric and overflowing with anticipation, as the crowd of fans began to fill the venue like a regimented army; everywhere I looked there were band shirts being worn with pride, and the heavy sound of boots swarmed the corridors that just an hour ago were silent. This truly is a rare event as tonight it was just Dimmu Borgir performing – there were no supporting bands.
In a split second, the hall went black and a small green light illuminated the stage as it began to fill with smoke. One by one the members of Dimmu Borgir walked out, and instantly the crowd erupted into a complete frenzy as “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” began to play. I’ll confess even I squealed with delight. The band seemed to feed off the fans’ enjoyment as they continued to play classic after classic with merciless precision – never have I seen a set played so tightly. With every track the crowd never faltered, giving it their all at every available moment.
After a short break for beer and fresh air, it was time to prepare for set two. It’s hard to believe a band that had just played solidly for around an hour could even contemplate playing yet another set……… but fuck me, they did! The album “Enthroned Darkness Triumphant” was played in its entirety and what a blinding set! The reaction from the crowd was exactly like it was the start of the evening all over again, everyone was pumped up and animated, small pits started breaking out everywhere which slowly evolved into one huge swirling mass of bodies – the smell of sweat and beer filled the air, signalling that this crowd was certainly more than satisfied. I cannot fault this night, everything was just flawless (well, except maybe the price of the beer). I didn’t think it was possible, but during and after the gig, I felt the same amazement I did on first hearing Dimmu Borgir all those years ago. I left the venue a bit battered, bruised and worse for wear, but I came away with a whole new level of respect and appreciation, not only for Dimmu Borgir, but also their touring team as well – to do that night after night takes boatloads of dedication and talent, as well as endless reserves of unrelenting energy.