Aleister Crowley was the godfather regarding the title of the latest Dimmu Borgir creation - and he would have been proud to hear how intense and epic „Abrahadabra“ is. Classy occult and symphonic Black stuff.
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Tracklist - Abrahadabra
- 2.Born treacherous
- 4.Chess with the abyss
- 5.Dimmu Borgir
- 7.The demiurge molecule
- 8.A jewel traced through coal
- 10.Endings and continuations
- 11.Gateways (Video) (Data Track)
EMP Editorial Team (01.10.2010)
Dimmu Borgir albums have had a habit of engaging in an ongoing dialogue with themselves of late, each one reacting to the previous as though – just at their status and legitimacy has been hotly debated within Black Metal circles – the Norwegian behemoths have still been in the process of coming to terms with what, at heart, they are about. Where 2001’s Puritanical Misanthropic Euphoria took an experimental turn, arguably at the expense of any evil-sounding edge, Death Cult Armageddon went all out for a more accessible, sweeping symphonic grandeur. And if 2007’s In Sorte Diaboli stripped itself down to reclaim their metallic credentials in response, it was a step back away from the gates of unbridled majesty its predecessor had stormed with such unashamed force. Of course if Dimmu have undergone a further period of self-assessment since, it’s been given great urgency by the recent ejection of two members who had been such important components of their expansive sound: keyboardist Mustis and bassist/clean vocalist ICS Vortex, a man who clearly had been born with bellows for lungs. Core members Shagrath and Silenoz could have simply consolidated, but that’s not exactly their way. As Abrahadabra’s tradition-breaking, single-word title makes clear, what Dimmu have done with their latest is to draw a line in the sand. That, and go completely off the scale. Psychologists poring over Abrahadabra’s stupendously ornate, 50-minute journey through time, space and plausibility might claim it as ‘over-compensation’. For anyone else ‘Old H fucking Nick on a stick!’ is an equally sanguine assessment. No one coming to the album for the first time is going to mistake this for anyone other than Dimmu Borgir, but replacing Mustis and ICS Vortex with a 100-piece live orchestra and choir, they’ve taken their stirring, galloping dynamics to new dimensions far away from anything that could effectively be called Black Metal. Opener Xibir’s theatrical, cinematic strings and multiple harmonies sets out its stall as it encounters a range of harsh counterpoints and threnodies, and if the following Born Treacherous leads on whiplashing guitar riffs, the symphonic melodies pouring down over them like a balming waterfall take Dimmu into flightier territory than ever before. Amongst fluttering strings, chants and sound effect overloads, they switch elegantly from the dollops of texture lathered all over the sound to guitar-driven provocations, and for all its imperious momentum, it overwhelms not through sheer force, but by the vast palette it has at its disposal, billowing out of the speakers in myriad forms you’ll need a number of plays to find a thorough context for before it sums itself up with a closing, extravagant flourish. Most of Abrahadabra is marked out by the same decentred, but still hugely ambitious approach, from the host of voices making their incantations throughout Gateways, from Laibach-style deep rumbles to cleaner, American sounding vocals, the hunting horns and Carmina Burana-style chants of Chess With The Abyss and the ‘Oh-weh-oh’s resonating at the beginning of Dimmu Borgir. Yes, there are still blastbeats, but they’re now motors dropped deeper into the mix, and if Dimmu have had to contend with long-redundant expectations still hanging over from their underground days, this is surely the time to abandon all former preconceptions. Perhaps Abrahadabra should be thought of more as a strikingly grim reimagining of Power Metal than a stretching of Black Metal’s boundaries, because what is clear is that from this point in is that Dimmu Borgir have reached a flamboyant state of sonic lawlessness that may release some from all hope of claiming them back again, but will liberate all others as they delve into an opulent untold.