Review Summary: Dimmu Borgir (still) aren't throwing any curveballs.
Ah, yes, Dimmu Borgir. Just about anyone who’s even stumbled upon the term black metal has likely heard about this group simply by reputation. And who can blame the naysayers? The band’s image has only gone downhill in “seriousness,” the lyrics are seldom worth more than a resounding shrug and, as of recent, their releases have been less-than stellar. To make matters worse, both ICS Vortex and Mustis were dismissed from the group, leaving Shagrath, Galder and Silenoz to primarily conjure future material up. This is where the oh-so-darkly-titled Abrahadabra
comes into play.
Any listeners curious as to whether Abrahadabra
is even worth bothering with need only know one thing: Dimmu Borgir aren’t throwing any curveballs. Pre-release statements from the band (namely Shagrath) indicated that this album would have orchestral influences not unlike 2003’s Death Cult Armageddon
. In other words, the music here is essentially the same niche we’ve seen the band attempt since day one, more or less. Some tracks show the influences and returning style cues more than others, but there’s nothing considerably unfamiliar to find. With this in-mind, no one will be shocked to discover that, if compared to their previous efforts, Spiritual Black Dimensions
and the aforementioned album are the most immediate siblings.
Of course, most Dimmu Borgir’s fans aren’t necessarily looking for something new or original; they’re content with getting more material as long as it’s good. This is one of the few areas that Abrahadabra
is tough to pinpoint, since it’s incredibly mid-ground in quality (not just overall, but in each track). From start to finish there’s hardly a moment that warrants saying something besides “that was decent” (or something of similar regards). There are tracks that fare better than others, such as “Renewal” and “Chess with the Abyss,” both of which step up the heaviness after less imposing entities “Born Treacherous” and “The Demiurge Molecule,” for instance. However, even more notable points such as these could hardly be compared with “Sorgens Kammer” off the original Stormblåst
or even “Kings of the Carnival Creation” off Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
Another area of peculiar interest comes in the performances from the band members. In spite of countless disparaging remarks, one area that most people have agreed on is the talents of the members who’ve either been in or performed with the band. Here, there’s hardly a strong member present outside of the usually solid Silenoz and Galder. The album could hardly be called guitar-centered, but Galder actually gets some notable riffs and solos out there. Though this might seem off-putting to some, these moments are usually brief and ultimately feel like just a way to spice things up a bit.
is nothing more than just another Dimmu Borgir album. It’s completely unimposing, won’t change any converts and might be enough to tide some fans over until their next release. However, the lasting impression here isn’t bound to be all that memorable simply because of how boringly consistent it is. Although In Sorte Diaboli
and Stormblåst MMV
remain the band’s weakest outings to date, Abrahadabra
is showing the band in still-tiring light. It’s far from bad, but even a die-hard fan such as myself thinks that it’s about time they re-evaluate themselves or lay low for a while.