Dimmu Borgir - Gateways
Another track review. Dimmu Borgir's new album Abrahadabra will actually be released today in Europe. I'm not getting it, at least for a while, because this first single, Gateways, does not convice me that the album would be worth the money.
First of all, I must say that I was surprised to hear that from the last album's six members only three have remained to this one. They are the core members: Shagrath (voc), Galder (guit) and of course Silenoz (guit). For me it was depressing to hear that Mustis (synth) had left. He has done some of the best compositions in Dimmu Borgir, in my opinion, such as the amazing orchestral intro on The Serpentine Offering. Apparently he felt that he didn't get enough credit for his work in the band, which I totally understand, so he left. Also, the bassist Vortex left, for reasons which I don't know. I will miss his clean vocals in Dimmu. Apparently Hellhammer, who did the drums on In Sorte Diaboli and the previous album, left already in 2007 (some sort of health problems?). Anyway, the three remaining guys are the only official members of the band now.
Moving on to the topic of this post, Gateways. The beginning of the song is quite promising, though not as epic as I would've expected, but ok. The verses are probably the best that this song has to offer. That orchestral instrument in the background (bassoon or something), plus a very straightforward riff and nice timing on the vocals. At this stage I'm like, yeah, this might be an ok song. BUT. As soon as the chorus kicks in the look on your face will probably be like WTF MAN???!! This female singer, Agnete Kjølsrud, is a very, very weird choice for a Dimmu song. What were they thinking? She sounds like a fucking annoying witch (or should I say bitch), was that what they had in mind?? Not pretty at all. This is the main thing that ruins Gateways for me. The chorus is LAME. A hag screaming something incomprehensible and all Shagrath has to say to this is "lol, gateways". Very. Epic. Indeed. On the music video he tries very hard to make it look like it is a serious message (all the hand gestures and other usual Shagrath choreography) but.... nah.
Mixing women and metal succesfully is a very difficult thing to do. Metal is a very masculine genre of music. In my opinion, a good female metal singer has to have either a very strong, yet pretty, feminine voice (e.g. Anette in Nightwish) or has to be able to growl and scream and shout like a man (e.g. Angela in Arch Enemy, although her voice is quite monotone). If a woman is able to do both of these credibly (like Candice in Eths), it is of course awesome.
I have heard other vocalists similar to this Agnete-witch, mainly in punk, and the result always is something that sounds like a drunken old hag screaming her lungs out. All it is, is fucking annoying to listen to. Ok, Agnete here is not as bad as some of the punk singers, but nevertheless, I don't see how she fits into Dimmu's orchestral black metal.
The pros of this song are the verses, which I mentioned previously, and the black metal oriented c-part starting at 3:20. The video is plain weird.
Btw, this Agnete lady totally looks like the Finnish transvestite-wannabeLadyGaga-musician Cristal Snow. Hmm.