Dimmu Borgir – Abrahadabra (2010)


Just when many people thought that Dimmu Borgir will never be as good as in their “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant “ and “Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia”, we get “Abrahadabra”, another masterpiece from this Norwegian band. While the band’s musical quality had considerably decreased with “In Sorte Diaboli” and “Death Cult Armageddon”, they come back in full swing with an impressive symphonic masterpiece that puts almost everything that Mustis “wrote for the band” to shame.

While many people will be crying and bitching about the Cradle of Filth comparisons, or that this album is too symphonic, blah, blah, blah, WE have to say that this is highly impressive stuff. The orchestration behind this release is, for lack of a better expression, ridiculously impressive. Everything sounds just right and helps build up a brilliant atmosphere that feels like a John Williams soundtrack on top of the traditional Dimmu Borgir sound. We have to recognize that Mustis did a good job before (especially in “Puritanical…”) but this is just ten steps ahead. With Gaute Storaas doing the orchestration of this album, he greatly helps in creating a truly diabolically haunting atmosphere (better than on “Death Cult Armageddon”).

Moving on from the symphonic aspect of the album, we get very Dimmu Borgir-esque guitar structures thanks to Galder and Silenoz, both of them know exactly how to craft the Dimmu Borgir sound with brilliant riffing. We would have wished more ‘guitar only’ melodic sections (like on “Dimmu Borgir”), but this album has enough solid songs to obscure this little detail. Since “Born Treacherous”, you quickly notice the crushing guitar work that’s made us fans of the band since its conception (and even more with the addition of Galder a few years later).

The vocals are also pretty impressive, and the traditional layering works wonders in this album. It creates a massive crushing sound that sometimes catches you by surprise. Shagrath’s vocals are as good as always and with the addition of clean vocals by Snowy Shaw in three songs and Kristoffer Rygg (a.k.a Garm) in “Endings and Continuations”, we can say that the void left by Vortex has been somewhat filled (not entirely since we all know that Vortex is irreplaceable when it comes to his particular style of singing). We also have some female vocals in “Gateways” that adds to the richness of the song, but we are glad that they were not used through the whole album. The use of a full choir, gives and even greater epic feeling to the songs, and makes “Dimmu Borgir” and “Born Treacherous” sound completely amazing.

The production, as always, is impressive and greatly highlights all the little details crammed into the songs, but keeps the brutal aspect of things in the spotlight. This allows the music to be both aggressive and symphonic with no overlapping, since the drumming is very massive and greatly highlighted in the final mix of this album. Since it’s mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap, you know that “Abrahadabra” sounds like a million dollars and will blast magically through your sound system.

Overall, we actually have to admit that we didn’t expect such an impressive release as this one. The single “Gateways” gave a whole different experience to what we should have been expecting from “Abrahadrabra”. This release is 100% pure Dimmu Borgir magic and should be equally respected by people; we can’t wait to see this band on tour and see how this epic production will sound live. So far this is one of our biggest candidates for album of the year.

Band: Dimmu Borgir Album: Abrahadabra
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Release: October 12th, 2010

Official Site myspace
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Country: Norway

Rating: 95/100

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