Norway’s Dimmu Borgir went through a tumultuous period. The band were plagued by line-up changes and all the dirt that came along with it. Reduced to only three members Shagrath and Co started to work on their most ambitious offering to date. Aided by composer and conductor Gaute Storaas, Dimmu Borgir unleashed their most symphonic and bombastic album upon mankind, entitled Abrahadabra.
Bombastic and symphonic, those are the keywords to describe the musical content on Abrahadabra. The guys from Dimmu Borgir are no strangers when it comes to using full blown orchestras and choirs to supplement their music. They’ve done this on Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia and Death Cult Armageddon. However, the symphonic and metal elements that make the Dimmu Borgir sound have never reached the level of sophisticated integration as on their latest album.
The abundant presence of symphonic bombast makes Abrahadabra a rather different album to comprehend. Luckily the band consists of seasoned songwriters who understand the need of solid structuring to prevent the music from spiralling out of control. Compositions like Born Treacherous, Gateways, Chess With The Abyss, The Demiurg Molecule and Endings And Continuations are powerful examples of that.
Another striking feature are the guest vocals by Agnete Kjølsrud (Djerv), Garm (Ulver) and the clean vocals courtesy of Snowy Shaw (Therion). Their individual styles blend perfectly into the musical maelstrom that is Abrahadabra. Sound wise this album has the best production in the band’s history, thanks to the considerable skills of Andy Sneap.
Dimmu Borgir have come a long way since their early black metal days and Abrahadabra is the pinnacle of their evolution. Some may cite Godless Savage Garden or Spiritual Black Dimensions as the band’s finest works, but Abrahadabra comes damn close to perfection.
written by Raymond Westland