Dimmu Borgir

Abrahadabra

Written by: PP on 03/12/2010 02:33:47

I've caught bits and pieces of Dimmu Borgir live sets in the past, mostly at festivals, always attaching a mental note for checking out the band in more detail because their liveshow is spectacular, not short on explosions and pyro-effects nor overly dramatic individual performances. You see, for the people in Dimmu Borgir, their music more than just music, it's like performance art, like a soundtrack to a multi-million dollar movie production that needs to be acted out live. You might ask what such an intro has to do with anything in a review of their ninth full length "Abrahadabra", but really it has everything to do with it. These songs are written with performance art in mind, you see, which you can tell from the extreme lengths that they stretch into grandiose symphony on this album, even more so than in the past.

As a result, kvlt black metallers have disowned the band because they are nowhere near as brutal, meancing or flat out evil-sounding as most of their genre peers due to the symphonic nature of the music. That is also very true here, perhaps to a greater extent than in the past, given how there's an overload on theatrical effect and drama omnipresent across the disc. They have hired Norwegian Radio Orchestra to perform the symphonies, totaling more than 100 musicians and singers on the album. 'Gang' choirs are used extensively on the album for an ambiance effect, and generally the focus has been to establish majestic soundscapes that rely more on eerie atmospheres than conventional black metal themes.

Now, this alone means that "Abrahadabra" is an impressive listening experience, given the immense wall of orchestration you are met in almost every second of every song. The production is spot on for a release like this, leaving the bigger elements in providing background support and ambiance, whilst the main band is at the forefront of the soundscape to maximize the little black metal vibe still remaining in the band. But after you're done standing in awe over the complexity of the arrangements, you'll start to ask yourself: "now what?". Whilst the songs aren't bad by any means, they face intense competition from other excellent, very similar bands in the form of new records by Carach Angren and Cradle of Filth this year. Both of these were much more to the point, focusing on either an extremely well executed concept (Carach Angren) or catchier song structure (CoF), rather than on immersive orchestral passages as the base of their sound. That being said, there's no denying that "Abrahadabra" is a good album, even if competition has caught up to the symphonic black metal masters this time around.

7

Download: Born Treacherous, Gateways
For the fans of: Cradle Of Filth, Carach Angren, Abigail Williams
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.09.2010
Nuclear Blast

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