Dimmu Borgir – Abrahadabra

By Ola Mazzuca

Whether you associate Dimmu Borgir with cliché music videos or dark symbolism within name etymology and conceptual ideas, their return to the metal scene is full of intensity and intrigue.

Taking a step back from In Sorte Diaboli to pursue more creative endeavors, Dimmu directed focus on a heavily symphonic feel, acquiring the talents of Kringkastingsorkestret, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, with over 50 musicians skilled in many genres. In addition to this homeland assistance, the equally vast Schola Cantorum chamber choir of Oslo provided magnificent operatic vocals.

With a great lineup of musicians and clean, crisp production, Abrahadabra is a truly theatrical listen with a variety of elements that juggle several emotions at once, proving that metal and classical embody similar levels of intricacy.

Though it can be argued that this is not an entirely new attempt at applying symphonic elements and classical music to black metal – flashback to Emperor’s Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk – this is a really tasty Norsk export that reminds us why it is most likely the country’s best.

Unique female vocals by the beautiful Agnete Kjolsrud make for a haunting aura on the album’s single, “Gateways”, while “Chess With The Abyss” and “The Demiurge Molecule” show strong musicianship from the band atop epic orchestration. The album has great closure, with a pummeling “Renewal” before chants ensue on “Endings and Continuations”.

More or less translating to “I will create as I speak” in the Semitic language of Aramic, Abrahadabra is a word from The Book of The Law, by Aleister Crowley no less. It is certain that Dimmu Borgir live up to this statement, as Abrahadabra is an incredibly cultured listen showing audible evidence of effort contributed, yet making you feel as though the work was generated on the spot.

(Nuclear Blast)


Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.