CD Review: Dimmu Borgir – Abrahadabra

02 Nov

Dimmu Borgir - AbrahadabraAny connections that Dimmu Borgir had left to the Black metal scene have been ripped to shreds with the release of their latest album, ‘Abrahadabra’. The Norwegian group has been both loved and hated for their willingness – nay, compulsion – to continually push the boundaries of what makes up the black metal genre.

With this, their ninth studio album, Dimmu Borgir stretch their creative mettle to the point where they can now no longer be convincingly linked to the blackened realms of Norwegian black metal. ‘Abrahadabra’ is a 50-minute journey full of bombast, pomp and ridiculous levels of texture – no doubt helped by a 100-piece orchestra and choir that the band have put to good use.

Never before have we heard such a seamless integration of heavy guitar, drums and bass with a full orchestrated score. Somehow the band have managed to retain their crushing, serrated riffs and use of blast beats whilst incorporating what at times are cascading, soaring orchestral movements – and the two seemingly opposing styles join together like horny teenagers.

This is far flightier material than the band has ever released before and it works. At times, like the album’s opener ‘Xibir’ and the self-titled track ‘Dimmu Borgir’, the band hit near-cinematic splendour. If there’s been one metal album that needs to be played with a symphony in a live setting it’s definitely this – and surely it would be a grand spectacle to behold. It’ll be interesting to see if they do follow this route or rely on a backing track to provide the extra instruments.

Now firmly planted in a genre of one, Dimmu Borgir have freed themselves of any lingering expectations some early fans may have still harboured. We can only sit and wait to see what they conjure up after they’ve completed the next touring cycle.

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