Dimmu Borgir preach the black metal gospel
“It’s weird but cool,” says founding guitarist Silenoz, a.k.a. Sven Atle Kopperud, of their hard-won success. “It’s something that even I wouldn’t think could happen 10 years ago. We are very grateful to do what we do and to be able to make the life we want for ourselves. I think it’s important that we continue to expand as a metal band in an honest and natural way. We’ve never compromised. We have our own ideas, and we won’t be pushed around by any label. We’re just too stubborn for that!”
Honesty, and the discovery of one’s true nature, is the theme that pervades Dimmu Borgir’s most recent studio effort, 2007’s In Sorte Diaboli (which means “in league with the devil”). Chiefly a concept-driven album, In Sorte Diaboli tells the foreboding tale of a devout Christian acolyte who traces his bloodlines to Satan, ultimately leading him to reject the church. Not a topic to be taken lightly, especially in the band’s native country of Norway where the population is 95 per cent Lutheran. Silenoz and his fellow Dimmu Borgir members haven’t been shy about voicing their convictions when it comes to their preference for Satanism, and are delightfully quick to use the H word when referring to what they see as an unwanted and invading influence.
“Looking back, I can see that there is actually a lot of personal stuff in [In Sorte Diaboli’s] lyrics, but I didn’t realize it until after the whole thing had been written,” Silenoz says. “It brings me back to my childhood growing up in the Bible Belt. Those early experiences certainly sparked my hatred towards organized religion. We believe that it’s important to get to the bottom of things; to ask the extremely critical questions. We’re not like some Muslim or Christian who goes by ‘the book.’ The answers aren’t in any book. It’s not that simple. People ask us why we hate the church, and it’s so much harder to explain to someone who’s from outside Norway. Basically, it goes back to having Christianity thrown down our throats a thousand years ago. It’s always in the back of our heads how our people were treated. Like all the conflicts in the world, it can be traced directly back to religion. As long as there is religion in the world there will be no peace. ”
by Christine Leonard
Originally published in Fast Forward Magazine April 10, 2008