In an unexpected turn of events, Mortal-Kombat-tier Norwegian opera-metallers Dimmu Borgir have gone full on symphonic power metal in their new song. Embracing the trending female fronted power/quest metal sound that has replaced metalcore as the newest wave of a strange phenomenon known as “girlfriend metal” (the metal your girlfriend puts on while she’s cleaning the house), Dimmu have essentially robbed the sound of Nightwish, Epica, and Within Temptation while yet retaining the Hollywood-orc vocals of Shagrath. While moments resembling early Blind Guardian are in fact an improvement over a preceding album that was almost completely devoid of guitars, this is by no means quality power metal nor is it the hybrid of older Dimmu styles that the band has been mouthing off about the past few months.
Playing a so-called melodic death metal in the vein of Insomnium, Chronicles try to step up onto the pop metal stage the . Infused with alternative metal inspirations and backed by keyboards playing standard progressions and happy-inspirational melodies, the only thing that tells us this is a metal release is that the drums are intense and that the vocals are growls. The squeaky-clean production is enviable and on par with pop metal divas Nightwish. The way the music elements are carried, the contrast between sections that serve as verse-chorus rather than phrasal progressions place this squarely in the pop modality. The percussive riff carrying the voice, the single-mindedness of the contrasting riffs also point towards a metalcore inspiration. By the third track (which is actually the second song in the album) they have already introduced mellow and comforting young-man vocals. In line with the modern tradition, when attempting to create variety, the band introduces incoherence in their music. Song’s are basically a long “inspirational melody” intro, pointless verse-chorus exchange, incoherent bridge and unrelated outro and/or verse chorus.
M.H.X.’s Chronicles have managed to unite in Infinite Ocean the diva-esque attitude of Nightwish, the boring melodic-based flatness of Insomnuim, the superficial pretentiousness of Epica and the easy-catchy, dumbed-down songwriting of metalcore inspired on Slaughter of the Soul. In other words we have here the summary of modern metal pop banality.