Dimmu Borgir / Abrahadabra


ABRAHADABRA

Dimmu Borgir (pronounced /ˌdɪmuː ˈbɔrɡɪər/ in English) is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1993. Dimmu borgir means “dark cities” or “dark castles/fortresses” in Icelandic, Faroese and Old Norse. The name is derived from a volcanic formation in Iceland, Dimmuborgir. The band has been through numerous line-up changes over the years; guitarist Silenoz and vocalist Shagrath are the only founding members remaining.

Abrahadabra is the ninth studio album by Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir. The first single from the album, “Gateways”, was released on August 20 in Europe and August 24 in North America.[1] On September 14 a video for “Gateways” was released featuring Djerv front-woman, Agnete Kjølsrud.[2] On September 17 the song “Born Treacherous” was released on Dimmu Borgir’s official myspace for streaming.

The Analysis:

Xibir—-And so it begins…..with a deep menace and a floating symphonic feel, this opening track is no less overblown than you would expect. Picking up from where In Sorte Diaboli left off, the band magnifies the sound and orchestration by 1000%…at times sounding more like a movie soundtrack than a Black Metal release…this is typical Dimmu though..if you are a fan..this is as you would expect…this is huge, epic and only whets your appetite for….

Born Treacherous—-Entering your brain with welcome guitar and the familiar and somehow comforting vocal of Shagrath, this track carries a brutal edge while still maintaing a magnificent orchestration that sets this band into a league of their own! As always, the drums on this track are key…combined with the huge string background…the deep bass of the guitar and the growl and putrid vomit from Shag, I will have a smile on my face for days to come!! This is epic, brutal and remarkably comforting. The ‘chorus’ of this song is freaking brilliant!

Gateways—-Coming out of the dark fog that is Dimmu, the keyboards and orchestration meld together into one huge masterful delivery that is only broken by the super powered drums. Shagrath enters with his vocal and delivers a menace growl and tale of eerie Halloween tales that will have you returning to this over and over. The song is literally larger than you speakers will allow…Shaw enters and almost disrupts the track with her odd vocal..she is no match for departed Vortex. The middle of the song is pure and classic Dimmu…heavily accented by drums and super bass playing…interuppted only by the magical and entrancing vocal from Shag. This is brilliant..still, in my opinion, one of Norway’s best exports!!

Chess With The Abyss—-Coming right out of the gate at you with classic guitar and keyboard overlays, Shagrath delivers his best vocal on this release thus far…unmarred by overt orchestration or premise. The drums are in your face and the huge movie orchestration is kept at a more minimal level. The song return Dimmu to the more brutal attack of years gone by and sounds like it could have also fit perfectly on the tale that was In Sorte Diaboli. This is fantastic…the huge choir of vocals in the backdrop only manage to allow the song to sound even more evil and menacing. This is pretty damn fantastic…even Shag delivers a portion of his vocal in a clear and under-growled delivery that will surprise longtime fans. This is freakin’ incredible!!!

Dimmu Borgir—-With an almost shockingly accessible intro, the song picks up speed at an alarming rate and puts you firmly back where you belong. Shagrath is at no loss for scary and alarming vocals..the huge choir of voices running in the backdrop only adds to the atmosphere that is Dimmu Borgir. This is fantastic…the drums are huge and delivered at hyper speed, but slowing automatically to allow for the more moody times of the track. When the leads take over the song, they literally soar with a melody that is contagious and accessible. This is a bit of a masterpiece I think….I am amazed at the creative level of the release and the maturation of the sound that this band helped to bring to the forefront of Black Metal…this is brilliant!!!

Ritualist—-Yes….Shagrath introduces the song with a backward lyric that is eerie and full of manace…the acoustic guitar makes way for an onslaught of instrumentation that opens up the entire thing to brilliance and masterful dark sounds. The ‘chorus’ is this huge epic delivery of a choir of voices that allows you the fallacy of thinking this was recorded in a huge abbey with a choir supplied by the monks! This has some nice manipulated vocals that fly in and out of clear and garbled. The guitars match the huge swells of the orchestra magnificently…magine what this recording process must have been like. There is a rather unique clean vocal on this track that at first is a bit abrasive but grew on me so quickly that I kept backing up the track to hear it again. This is fantastic…the huge galloping sound of the bass is better and faster than anything Maiden could have ever conjured up. This is dark, black and masterful!!!

The Demiurge Molecule—-Leaving little time for introduction, the vocal on this track at the onset is a bit odd…it is hard to tell if this is all Shagrath or a mix of him and someone else. When the evil edge of the song takes place, you are sure whom you are listening to. To me, the remarkable thing about this release is the ability to deliver music that at times is so pretty, but allows an undercurrent that leaves you in an aggressive and menacing state of mind. This song is huge, epic and sweeping…delivering one mood after the other in huge and rapid succession. I could not be happier with this release…nor could I ever dream of demanding something different.

A Jewel Traced Through Coal—-Introduced in a cerebral way, with enough sounds to set the pace for the coming onslaught, you are caught off guard when the barrage finally does begin. This is another of those tracks that you can only describe as huge and epic. The drums come at you so fast and loaded…Shagrath enters shortly after..delivereing a vocal that is fast but surprisingly clear. You can actually catch a few words here and there, but I must admit I do miss the interludes of the vocal from Vortex that we had all become so accustomed to. This is an incredible track none the less…the growl that Shag manages to deliver…the tales he tells and the mood produced by the huge orchestration sets the tone and allows for a perfect October night. The kings are back…and in fine form!!!

Renewal—-With no time for overblown orchestrated histrionics, this is classic Dimmu….delivering drums at incredible hyper speed and lead guitars that remind you this is Heavy Metal, the sound is so reminiscent of some of the best of the past material from this band. There are some manipulations on this track that just give me goosebumps..make me want to jump up and down and scream at the top of my lungs. This is a continuous vomit of evil that wraps around you but also stays in your head in a permanent place…where you can retrieve it when ever you need a taste of real humanity and the force of such said emotion. This is perhaps one of the most brutal tracks on the record…well layered with different sounds, but always coming back to the true Dimmu sound. This is brilliant!

Endings And Continuations—-Beginning….and ending with a huge dose of atmosphere, there is an automatic sadness that grips me knowing that this is it…for a time. Shagrath delivers, at the onset of the track, a vocal that sounds a bit manipulated…shortly after the drum blasts and accented with the huge overblown Soundtrack sound of the release. Once the song really gets going, this is classic Dimmu all the way…no matter how they deliver their sound, their sound is their own and no one else comes close to this kind of mastery. This is brilliance that is only accented by hyper speed, aggression and a nice touch of evil. This , despite what the so-called critics say, is a triumph. I could never ask for more…except more!!!

Bonus Track:

Gateways [Orchestral Version]—-This is a basic re-interpretation of the first release from this Cd…just a bit more overblown and perhaps the ultimate version of what the vision of Dimmu truly is. I can only imagine what this must have been like to record and can only have fantasies of what would happen if this band could actually go on a tour with an orchestra this size and what a spectacle it would be. This is a huge, epic and all-encompassing track…full of splendor, culture and just the right touch of evil….I could never ask for more….I remain eternally impressed!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

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