Dimmu Borgir have thrown absolutely everything at their latest opus: inordinate amounts of orchestration, a full choir, Lovecraft-inspired artwork, lyrics evoking dark mysticism. It makes for a very elaborate and impressive package, but in the wash-up, Abrahadabra sounds less like Dimmu Borgir and more like the orchestral metal of Therion. To this end, this doesn't turn out to be quite as innovative and original as Dimmu probably intended it to be, and not quite the triumph it was lauded to be either.
Abrahadabra is the pinnacle of symphonic metal toward which this band has been steering now for many years, perhaps even from the moment they started, although they couldn't have known that then. The only problem is they've climbed so high up the symphonic summit they've almost left behind the key element that made them such a great metal band in the first place, namely the "metal" part. A friend of mine suggested this sounded like the sountrack to a Tim Burton film, and she's not far off. Abrahadabra would slot right into one of Burton's darker, psychological dramas. But as an extreme metal album, it leaves something to be desired. The orchestral and choral sections simply swamp the band itself to the degree where it's almost as bad as Rhapsody in places. Musically, Silenoz and Galder bring virtually nothing to the table. It's like Shagrath went into the studio with the orchestra by himself and the others turned up later to see how he was going, then quickly laid some stuff down to go along with it. For the time and apparent effort Dimmu Borgir spent on this album, it should have been one of the most amazing releases of the year so far, and up there with Enthrone Darkness Triumphant and Death Cult Armageddon as their greatest work. Instead it's a let down without any of the spectacular highlights that one would expect from a symphonic exploration of Aleister Crowley by a band like Dimmu Borgir.
Abrahadabra is by no means a terrible album, but in a lot of ways it sounds like Dimmu Borgir adding a bunch of strings and choirs to cover up their lack of new ideas. Liber AL vel Legis deserves better treatment than this.
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