Probably the most overblown of the Norwegian black metal bands, Dimmu Borgir (black castle or dark fortress in Icelandic) envelop their riffs and screams in layers of warm keyboards, adding classical instrumentation and ambient elements to create music that is a long way from the rawness of other contemporaries such as Immortal. The band has seen so many players from the incestuous Scandinavian black metal scene come and go that it has almost achieved the status of a collective.
The band first formed in 1993 around Erkekjetter Silenoz (guitar/vocals), Shagrath (guitar/drums/vocals) and Tjodalv (drums/guitar), with Brynjard Tristan (bass), and Stian Aarstad (keyboards) added to the line-up shortly afterwards. A single, Inn I Evightens Morke, appeared in 1994 on the Necromantic Gallery Productions label, following which a contract was signed with No Colours and the now-classic For All Tid was released. Stormblåst appeared on the Cacophonous label, following which Nagash was brought in to replace Tristan and the band signed a new recording contract with Nuclear Blast Records. The band debuted for the label with the classic Enthrone Darkness Triumpant. Further personnel change saw them recruiting guitarist Astennu (Australia) and new keyboard player Mustis. Following the release of 1999s Spiritual Black Dimensions Nagash also left to found a band called Covenant with ex-Mayhem drummer Hellhammer ? this became the Norwegian Grammy-winning Kovenant. He was replaced by sometime Borknagar member Simen Hestnaes aka I.C.S. Vortex. Tjodalv left during the tour to promote the album and was replaced by ex-Cradle Of Filth drummer Nicholas Barker. New guitarist Galder (b. Tom Rune Anderson) was brought in to replace Astennu on the highly acclaimed Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. By now the bands sound was both harsher (Barker having added a certain power) and more melodic (Mustis bringing a definite classical edge to their songs). Barker left the band in January 2004, and the remaining members decided to use session drummers on future releases.
Dimmu Borgir remain the most musically proficient of the Norwegian crop, although the more their music develops, the less they can be said to practising true black metal. However, they can boast one of the most loyal audiences of any band of this type.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.