Dimmu Borgir's latest album Eonian – their first in eight years – isn't the return to their extreme metal roots you might expect, instead it's a powerhouse heaviness bolstered by bombastic choirs and orchestral flourishes.
And this got us thinking... What other albums on the heavy end of the spectrum feature huge choirs? Well, here's the top five we came up with...
The Sisters Of Mercy – Floodland
The Sisters Of Mercy were already dark rock heavyweights, but their second album torched the rule-book by cranking everything up to new levels of preposterous bombast. The key was smash hit single This Corrosion, which cost £50,000 to make and featured a 40-piece choir. You may struggle to find a black metal band that weren’t influenced by it.
Manowar – Kings Of Metal
Always just a bit bigger, louder and over the top than everyone else, Manowar upped the ante with typical nonchalance on their sixth album. Featuring the resonant, silky tones of the Birmingham-based Canoldir Male Choir, songs like Kingdom Come might as well have been beamed directly down from the Ancient Gods.
Cradle Of Filth – Damnation And A Day
As ambitious as ever, Dani Filth’s crew approached their fifth album with big ideas brewing in the cauldron. The result was a sprawling, intricate concept piece, hugely bolstered by the involvement of the 40-piece Budapest Film Orchestra and the 32-piece Budapest Film Choir. That, ladies and gents, is called ‘not fucking about’.
Behemoth – Demigod
Given how intense and unrelenting Behemoth’s music often is, it’s amazing that an orchestra could find any space to manoeuvre. But Nergal’s a canny chap, isn’t he? Adding a dense layer of pomp and atmosphere to Demigod, the Academic Male Choir from the Polish city of Lublin deftly made their presence felt.
Helloween – Unarmed
Marking their 25th anniversary by re-recording old classics, Helloween could have taken the easy route to creating Unarmed. Instead, they employed a powerful Gregorian choir to give the likes of The Keeper’s Trilogy an extra vocal boost. Oh, and they hired the 70-piece Prague Symphony Orchestra, too. No biggie.
Get the full story behind Dimmu Borgir's new album Eonian in the new issue of Metal Hammer – in stores now and available to order online.