THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...DIMMU BORGIR Inspiratio Profanus (Nuclear Blast)THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...DIMMU BORGIR Inspiratio Profanus (Nuclear Blast)

You can tell when it’s getting close to Christmas: Rolling Stones release an album which goes straight to No.1 and contains twelve songs that absolutely no one wants to hear them play live; The Beatles scrape another re-issue out of their ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ albums; and Dimmu Borgir bang out a covers album. Uh, hang on a minute...


With ‘Inspiratio Profanus’ – or profane inspiration, not that you need a Latin GCSE for that one – the Norwegian black metal masters celebrate their 30th birthday by serving up a collection of eight covers (although two of the songs in the running order are the different takes of Celtic Frost’s ‘Nocturnal Fear’, taken from their 1996 ‘Devil’s Path’ EP). Aside from Celtic Frost, homage is, naturally, paid to both Venom and Bathory with romps through ‘Black Metal’ and ‘Satan My Master’ respectively (the former a bonus track on the Japanese version of ‘In Sorte Diaboli’, the latter from the limited edition of ‘Death Cult Armageddon’), while an atmospheric take on G.G.F.H.’s ‘Dead Men Don’t Rape’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Perfect Strangers’ – probably the most unusual selection on the album – are both rare cuts drawn from the many versions of Dimmu’s 2010 ‘Abrahadabra’ offering. The trailblazing ride through Twisted Sister’s ‘Burn In Hell’ (from ‘Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia’) and a no-nonsense take on Accept’s ‘Metal Heart’ (lifted from the 1998 ‘Godless Savage Garden’ EP) complete the roll-call.


At just under 32 minutes long it could give an early KISS album a run for its money in the short-but-not-so-sweet stakes; and, the odd embellishment aside, the songs are pretty faithful renditions of the originals, although delivered with Macbeth’s “sound and fury” (which means that few Purple fanatics will be happy with Shagrath’s vocal performance on ‘Perfect Strangers’). But, as a body of work, ‘Inspiratio Profanus’ is an interesting collection of songs run together, and it is handy to have them all in one place. And besides, and from where I sit, it’s a damn sight more interesting than ‘Hackney Diamonds’....

© John Tucker December 2023