Dimmu Borgir

2010, Nuclear Blast
Black Metal

I Dimmu Borgir compiono una magia ancora da perfezionare, ma non priva di fascino e di ricchezza.
Review by Alessandra Leoni - Publish on: 23/09/10

The wait is over. After some turbulent months and after the departure of two important band members, Mustis and ICS Vortex, Dimmu Borgir doesn't linger anymore and finally begins a new path. With a new album, "Abrahadabra", a title inspired by "The Book Of Law" written by Aleister Crowley, and a rather surprising new look, that seems to bring cave-men and winter wizards together. In these last months, we have know very little about this new full-length, except for the cover revealed day after day, except for the massive use of the KORK Orchestra and the choir of the Schola Cantorum ... And everything has been conducted by Gaute Storaas (who has already worked with the band in "Death Cult Armageddon"). There is still a mystery about who will be the right replacement of the two musicians, but above all there is still a question: how much their absence will weigh on the album? How much we will miss them on stage? What should we expect from this album that wants to put an end to all the doubts, to all the criticism and it is just willing to launch a new era in the Norwegian band?

Let's begin with a clarification: for sure this album isn't a masterpiece, however we can see that the remaining musicians aren't lacking in energy or ideas, and they're already proceeding straight on their way. Our boys abandoned the "dryness" of "In Sorte Diaboli", a more direct and simpler record as they have told us, and the black metallers are going back to a more winning formula, the symphonic black metal, with true and strong orchestrations, surrounded by striking choirs, never used before. Moreover, sampled voices and extracts of electronic music aren't missing, it seems that the guys tried to fill the emptiness left by Vortex's clean voice. The doubt is whether all of this can fit without exaggerating or may sound excessive or snazzy. Let's go straight to the point: on one side it's true that the quality of the sounds, the care in the production are definitely excellent; however, sometimes it seems that the boys exceeded quite a bit. Let's take, for example, "The Demiurge Molecule", it's a good song after all, but if there hasn't been that stilted intermezzo by the end of the song, it would have been a better song, and less kitsch for sure. On the other hand, the greatness of the orchestra in "Xibir", the instrumental introduction - that reminds Hollywood soundtracks - and even in "Dimmu Borgir" will fascinate you and you will listen to these almost epic atmospheres enchanted (but please, don't tell me they remind you of Nightwish and Epica..). Also, you will notice that there are a lot of changes of rhythm, which are closer to progressive metal, like in " Born Trechearous", with a catchy riff that sounds more heavy metal than black metal.

Of course, many changes are a little forced, but it's not a big deal: listening after listening you'll get used to them and won't seem so strange and clashing. Our boys are looking for the perfect formula, just like wizards and alchemists do, even if at times it seems that there're too many things in this record. However, every cloud has a silver lining: a delicate acoustic arpeggio in "Ritualist", on of the best composed songs, is overwhelmed by a big wave of blast beats. As you have already understood, Dimmu Borgir doesn't belong to the hard black metal, even if you can hear some influences from that in the last songs, like in "Renewal", the shortest song of the whole record - it lasts about four minutes - appreciated for its brutality; you can hear some influences as well in "A Jewel Traced Through Coal".

The magic and the occult seem to be the main themes in Dimmu Borgir's "Abrahadabra"; a touch of mystery wafts in the spells casted by distorted and muffled voices that you can hear here and there.. Even though the magic isn't totally completed, our boys have got rid of the numbness of "In Sorte Diaboli", trying hard to do their best, even exaggerating at times. "Abrahadabra" might be too demanding and too overwhelming, but in a way you'll find it charming and magical.


Translation: Rachele Leoni

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