Next review: » Dimmu Borgir - Abrahadabra
Released: 2010, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
First of all, I honestly believe this album will silence Dimmu's recent critics who have heard the single "Gateways" and branded Dimmu as "sell-outs" after hearing just one track. I believe "Gateways" is no more than an easily accessible track designed to get fresh blood interested in the band. Phew...now that’s over and done with I can get back to the task at hand of my thoughts on the album overall.
Reviewing Black Metal albums is hard to do these days since the original Norwegian black metal scene from the 1990’s has all but ended. There are still many black metal bands and I am personally a fan of many of these bands. But let’s be clear that Norwegian black metal has almost turned in a caricature of itself in recent times. Some of the original bands have stayed true to the origins of black metal and some have sold out and become something horrible and dare I say it “Emo-ish”! I’m sure if I should point fingers but they know who they are: “Satyricon!” “COUGH!” Let’s be clear that Dimmu Borgir have neither 'sold out' or stayed true to old school black metal on this album. I would even go as far as to say they are not really a black metal band anymore, but in this case it is not a bad thing. The have become something else and that is just Dimmu Borgir.
Yes they have a lot of influence from black metal left, but the gatling gun drums have softened, the banshee’esk vocals are much lower and varied than on previous albums. Also the 3 cord black metal standard guitar riff rule hardly makes an appearance on the new album. Now to many of you I know this sounds like bad news! To die hard 1990’s black metal fanatics, it may seam like yet another band from that era trying to make a buck or two many for themselves.
The thing is I feel from this album is that Dimmu Borgir have decided to move away from the wreckage of now mainstream black metal and do what they love to do in a new and different way and again I have to say I like it.
Firstly what ever your view Abrahadabra it is a good album: great music, great vocals, driven guitar and it was recorded with a full choir and orchestra. Shagrath claims over 100 musicians were involved in the recording process and you can tell, as the additional ambiance is the most noticeable thing on the Album.
This album was recorded without of ex band members Vortex (base & vocals) and Mustis (Keyboards) who from what I can tell were allegedly let go in 2009.
Mustis leaving has not impacted badly at all, as in his place they have used a full orchestra, live choir and a session keyboardist on the album. Vortex who of course supplied the clean vocals providing an angelic contrast to Shagrath's wrath like voice is tougher to call. There are instances where they have used dark, eerie samples and a full choir in Vortex’s place which has worked very well. However where they have used guest vocalists to directly replace Vortex’s interludes it has not worked. As a result 2 or 3 tracks are quite negatively affected.
In summary, Abrahadabra is a very good album, just not a pure black metal album. It is dark, gothic, big sounding, musically varied, and well conceived with something in it for everyone who likes the darker side of metal. There is even a Deep Purple cover “Perfect Strangers” which is peculiar but fun. The album is brilliantly produced and defiantly worth purchasing. In short it’s a hell of a lot better than most albums I have heard in recent times. It’s an album Dimmu Borgir should be very proud of. For me “Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia” and “In Sorte Diaboli” are still their best works to date.
-by Nick Mendivil
4.Chess With the Abyss
7.The Demiurge Molecule
8.A Jew Traced Through Coal
10.Endings and Continuations
12.Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple Cover)
SHAGRATH - Vocals
SILENOZ - Guitars
GALDER - Guitars
Released: 2010, Nuclear Blast Records
OK, we all know Dimmu Borgir. Arguably the most polarizing band in all of heavy metal; the band likely has just as many fans as detractors. Personally, I’ve always liked Dimmu regardless of others or how “tr00” the band is. I’ve enjoyed all of their albums from ENTHRONE DARKNESS TRIUMPHANT right through to DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON. Then came the band’s inevitable concept album, IN SORTE DIABOLI which, to their credit toned down the symphonic chaos of previous albums and got back to a more stripped-down style. Unfortunately I found the album to be a colossal bore, without much to recommend it. Since then I’ve kind of grown away from the band and haven’t listened to them much in the last three years. Still, Dimmu Borgir has reached a level where each release is an event, so I was at least curious to see what they’d come up with this time around.
The unfortunately named ABRAHADABRA opens with a throwaway orchestral piece, “Xibir” before getting to the first worthwhile song, “Born Treacherous”. To my ears it sounds like the band has found a happy medium between the over the top symphonics of previous albums and the back-to-basics approach of IN SORTE DIABOLI; it’s an endearing mixture that keeps the orchestral elements but doesn’t overuse them. Indeed, “Born Treacherous” is better than anything of the previous album. Things fall of the rails a bit with the next song, the single “Gateways”, mostly due to abhorrent female vocals. Sadly, this is the pattern for the rest of the album as about only half of the songs can rank among the band’s best. One of them, the self-titled “Dimmu Borgir” is easily one of the best songs the band has ever written. Others, such as “The Demiurge Molecule” and “Endings and Continuations”, are among their most forgettable.
As for the myriad line up changes, former keyboardist Mustis is capably replaced by Gerlioz (whoever that is), while bassist/clean vocalist ICS Vortex is terribly missed. His vocals brought great contrast to Shagrath’s growls and shrieks, and as for his replacement...well, I’d suggest there is a reason that Snowy Shaw was best known as a drummer as he nearly ruins each song he “contributes” to.
In the end ABRAHADABRA is a positive step for Dimmu Borgir compared to their last album. Their diehard fans will undoubtedly be pleased, their critics will find much to hate, and the band will go on doing their thing regardless.
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
Snowy Shaw: Bass, Clean Vocals