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4.2 out of 5 stars
Abrahadabra
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2010
Format: Audio CD
In general, when you read reviews on amazon you are here to see the opinions of other people who probably like the same kind of stuff that you do. 99% of the people in the world aren't looking up black metal bands. But amongst our crowd, there are those who hold their musical opinions much higher than anyone else s. This album is an example of that. Look for 1 or 2 star reviews and read on to see why they gave it the low rating. "This is garbage, not true black metal" "Sellouts" "Omg they kicked out my favorite member"
This is called "shallow mindedness."

One thing I always wondered about black metal is... how do you sell out? I mean, the double bass is pounding, the vocals are ridiculously over the top, and the guitars get downright gut-wrenching at times. Even the tamest of black metal or symphonic black metal is an acquired taste. Dimmu Borgir would have to try a lot harder than this to "sellout." I mean don't get me wrong, they aren't playing at a constant heavy pace as much as they use to... but comon. Every band changes, and if they didn't what then? Look at slayer... amazing band, always have been. But they never changed their sound much at all, and to be honest, they are just plain boring now and have been for a long time. Dimmu certainly could have made Puritanical 5 times over, they have the talent. But why? If you wanna hear Puritanical, go listen to it like I do when I want to hear it.

The fact of the matter is, this album sounds pretty damn good 90% of the time. There are a few boring parts, there are parts where you wonder what the hell they were thinking, (aka guest vocals in gateways)and there are some truly masterful parts that show you how incredibly talented these guys are... even without the 2 legends they let go of. As long as Dimmu has Galder and Shag, they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

I've been a black metal fan for 7 or 8 years now, and I know that some bathroom recordings are actually some of the best music out there. I love bands such as Emperor, Gorgoroth, Immortal, Fairytale Abuse, etc... I know that there are gems in black metal that shine so bright they'd blind you. But I just can't stand dismissing something because it may be a little slower paced or more polished than what we are use to. Just listen to it and try to accept it a little more, if then you truly don't like it, then why not give real reasons for your low ratings? You guys can go listen to B-side tracks from obscure black metal bands all day long if you want, but don't tell us what we should listen to based on your snobbishness.

I don't think you have anything to worry about, the day a black metal song (even a Dimmu song) is played on a top 40 station, or even a local rock station during regular hours probably won't come for a long, long time. And by then, you'll probably be A.) dead or B.) listening to Michael Jackson's greatest hits. Everyone changes, if you decide to make a drastic change in your life one day, would you want everyone in your life giving you 1 star ratings on your decision? Just give stuff an honest chance and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Just a side note, if you really miss the old Dimmu sound, check out this band/album. The Eternal Suffering - Miasma
This isn't a plug or anything, they aren't widely known, I think they are from Greece, but they know black metal.

This became more of an essay than a review of the album, but it's been building for a long time. This was just the album that made me type it all out. Thanks for your patience.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Dimmu Borgir has a polarizing affect on a lot of people. Black Metal purists hate them with a passion for "selling out" and like any band they have die hard fans as well. Personally, I stand in the middle of all of it. I don't hate them (calling a Black Metal band sell outs seems overwrought to me) but I also like a bunch of Black Metal bands more than them (Emperor/Ihsahn, Enslaved, Immortal, Satyricon to name a few). There has been a lot of hype and controversy around this album - on one hand some people are mad at the fact that ICS Vortex and Mustis were fired and how Mustis was fired (via text message) and on the other hand the band has been hyping this album as ground breaking with the addition of fuller orchestras, choirs and female vocals. After listening to the album it seems to me that all that hype is just that - hype.

I am neither blown away nor disappointed by this album because to my ears as a casual fan of the band their sound hasn't changed incredibily. There are differences sure but not so much that it changes or improves their sound drastically. Dimmu Borgir is a symphonic Black Metal band they don't expand on that on Abrahadabra or stray from it. Just maybe refine it more. This album sounds similar to Cradle Of Filth's Damnation and a Day. An album I have an equal amount of passion for. Which is to say it's alright. After listening to this album 3 times no tracks really stand out nor are there any moments that made me sit up and take notice. But it was enjoyable to listen to all the same.

So if you are a fan of Dimmu Borgir you'll probably like this album. And if you are listening objectively you won't notice the absence of Vortex or Mustis that much. However, I would say that if you are new to Dimmu Borgir and are wanting to check them out that you shouldn't start with this album,Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia,Death Cult Armageddon &Enthrone Darkness Triumphant remain their best.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2010
Format: Audio CD
With the departure of two band members, many fans of Dimmu Borgir, including myself, were anxious to hear how the drastic lineup change would impact their sound. Rest assured, the music is a heavy, dark, melodic, and engaging as ever. The lineup change seems to have had no discernible impact, with the exception of ICS Vortex's/Simen's vocals.

The first noticeable feature of this album is the prominence of the orchestra, a welcome change of pace after the back-to-basics keyboard-light approach of their previous release, In Sorte Diaboli. There is even an orchestral version of the lead track, "Gateways," which itself is a pretty good representation of the music and style of this release. The orchestral intro and outro tracks are incredibly well done, but then again, we're talking about Dimmu Borgir -- they seem to be incapable of doing anything less.

Another thing worth noting is that there is a fair amount of experimentation here -- not too little, and not too much. This album is somewhat akin to Death Cult Armageddon, but the orchestral elements play a much greater role, they use female guest vocals, there is a different male clean singer, acoustic guitars, monk-style chanting, a didgeridoo (look it up), and well-placed time changes. The innovations are subtle enough that a casual listener might miss them on a first or second listen, but a more discriminating fan would pick them up and appreciate their greatness.

One of the tracks that really threw me off as a listener was "Dimmu Borgir." It stands out because it is upbeat, triumphant, almost joyous(!), words which almost never, ever come to mind when thinking of how to describe their sound. It's a great track, but it's "unorthodox," more akin to something that the Russian folk metal band Arkona than anything in Dimmu Borgir's extensive catalogue.

The clean singer who replaced ICS Vortex/Simen does not mesh at all stylistically with Dimmu Borgir. To be blunt, he sounds awful. His style would fit better in a power metal band, and his perfomance tarnishes the otherwise flawless "Endings and Continuations." Fortunately, he too has been removed from the band.

To conclude, this is a very solid release that combines what's best about the band's last few albums with some new and interesting elements. Like its predecessor, In Sorte Diaboli, there are no weak tracks that warrant skipping. It may be their best offering since Spiritual Black Dimensions, but only time will tell whether or not that is indeed the case.

Postscript: there is no use of a didgeridoo on this album, it's Hungarian throat singing. The singer on "Endings and Continuations" is the legendary Garm, not the session vocalist they used on other tracks. That said, what I wrote about that track still stands even though I am a huge fan of Garm's work with Arcturus and Ulver.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2010
Format: Audio CD
i have never been more concerned about an up coming album then this one right here. and its not because "ics vortex" got kicked out ( that dude was a d bag and it was time for him to go) but i was worried about how it would sound without their great synth/keys player mustis. mustis wrote a alot and arranged a good portion ov dimmu's musik and his style was perfect for that band. i was mad that he is gone. back to this album, i compared it to the pryer album in sorte diaboli and as far as the musik goes ABRAHADABRA is much better! they hired an entire orchestra to compensate for the loss ov mustis ( thats how good he is) and had guest vocalists do select clean sections on certain songs ov the album. now one huge controversy is the female vocals on the track GATEWAYS... she does sort ov a witchy shirek which i had no problem with thought it fit the song well, and then later again with an almost cradle of filth like clean part where she and shagrath were alternating lines. i though the song was awesome and is one ov the best on the album. but the highlight for me is the track DIMMU BORGIR. this song is epic! and it combines every aspect that this band has incorperated over the years as becoming one ov the best bands the genre has seen. now i am a HUGE black metal fan, its my favorite genre. but im not however one ov the knobs that call themselves TRVE or KVLT, those dudes are idiots. listen to the musik. you can NEVER sell out black or death metal its impossible. just because dimmu is bigger and there albums and shirts are more readily available does not mean they are a sellout or bad band. now granted i prefer bands like BURZUM, EMPEROR, DARKTHRONE, and IMMORTAL i consider these the best bands in the genre especially burzum... but i will also listen to dimmu, i like them a lot!! this album is a must buy for any fan ov dimmu borgir. the best thing this band does is make songs sound epic and larger than life and this one sounds like a titan!! five stars awesome album
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I went back and listened to For All Tid quite a bit right before Abrahadabra came out. After a couple of listens to the new album, it occurred to me that this is the realization of what the band was struggling to express all the way back then. Except, instead of kids trying to do it on cheap keyboards and shoe-string production budgets, the band has grown to be able to command real orchestras and choruses and has the luxury of top-notch production.

Aside from production value, this album is remarkable for its vision and musical palate. The band's willingness to, at times, take a back seat to the orchestral arrangement creates a musical environment unlike any I've heard. Certainly far more accomplished than Therion at their best on Vovin. Speaking of Therion, though, is a great segue into my one complaint with the album. I might have taken off a half star for the guest vocalists. One of them sounds like he might be one of the vocalists from Therion -- the one who put me off of that band, in fact. It's either him or another guy with an equally weird, warbley, and annoying voice. Gak. I must admit, I do miss Vortex's clean vocal work here.

Otherwise, this album is sheer brilliance and highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I know some people have not like them since Stormblast, and I read in places that they have lost their
Black Metal roots. Weather they are 'true' Black Metal or not, for me I couldn't care less - this album is fantastic in whatever Metal Genre you want to put them in. The sound on this is brilliant and having an entire symphony only enhances the atmosphere that Dimmu have created. Galder is so underrated as a guitarist and Shagrath has really taken his vocals up to another notch. I would say this album is probably closer to Death Cult Armageddon in terms of it's Symphonic Metal sound but I think this one is even more polished in terms of production. Dimmu have not limited itself to the sounds of old school black metal and seem to enjoy trying different musical approaches and that is the one thing I love about this band. I am not sure if this review encourages you to purchase this album but if like me, you are a fan of Dimmu Borgir already, chances are you will purchase this anyway. A great album and a worthy addition to your Metal collection !!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This latest "Dimmu Borgir" album, "Abrahadabra" was my introduction to the band and their sound. I know very little about black metal as a genre of music, for that reason I approached this release as a symphonic metal album and I have to say "Abrahadabra" left very positive impressions.

For starters it is plain to see that the album was an expensive one to make as it is rich in orchestral arrangements (featuring a 50 member orchestra) and incredibly large choir. To its credit "Abrahadabra" makes full use of these assets as the role of both orchestra and choir is not complementary, instead these classical elements bond perfectly with the melodies of the electric instruments. The role of the band is equally significant as all songs open on thick and dark guitar riffs also including rather melodic, often twin guitar, solos/leads while the drumming is very intense, a fact that solidifies the identity of the release. In addition, lead vocalist Shagrath masterfully goes through a wide range of vocal tones and while his approach is thick and distorted it never goes totally brutal and it is fairly easy to make out the lyrics he sings. Favorite tracks include `Gateways', `Dimmu Borgir' and `The demiurge molecule'.

According to the booklet notes, "Dimmu Borgir" is lead vocalist Shagrath, guitarist Silenoz and lead guitarist Galder. Musicians completing the line up are key player Gerlioz, drummer Daray and Snowy Shaw on bass ( I was totally surprised by this inclusion being unaware Shaw could handle bass player duties, being fist and foremost a drummer.)

Overall, `Abrahadabra' is a very enjoyable album from a symphonic metal perspective, demonstrating strong musical vision which very much shapes the character of the songs on offer. A very interesting and intriguing album.

"Metal Hammer" Greek magazine (issue 310) marks this album with 8/10 commenting: "Incredible performances, amazing production, a huge spectacle I would say."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Dimmu Borgir is one those bands that just grow on you. I have just about all they have put out and till here recently I listened to them every once in a while. But here lately I keep at least 2 of their cds in the stereo all the time. I just like the sound they have overall. Some have called them 'sell outs'. I call it getting better and more mature. This album proves this band although still keeping the evil overture has the ability to vary in different ways giving them a wide range of sound and creativity. If nothing else Dimmu Borgir is not boring and repetitve like other bands are guilty of. Sure you know it is them but the theatrical sound mixed with the hellish vocals gives this band a step above if you ask me. In my opinion they stand alone in their genre. This album proves they still reign in black metal for superb production,great sound,and an elaborate theatrical sense of creativity following the evil and hell they are known for. I'm not a big fan of most black metal but Id recommend this and other Dimmu Borgir albums to anyone who likes evil sounding music mixed with hellish vocals that stuns the listener with a sense of darkness and all hell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2010
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I pre bought this album because I love everything these guys have put out. I got into the band with Enthrone Darkness TriumphantEnthrone Darkness Triumphant I miss Vortex and Mustis! This album is a little heavy on the symphonic choiral arrangements...but I like those...some people may be put off by this. I was really surprised when I heard "Gateways" It sounds a lot like a Mushroomhead song! My husband even brought that when he heard it. I am very happy to see this song is in the top 5 at Liquid Metal the Sirius Metal station (even though it is a rare day when they generously may play a Black Metal or Prog metal song)The list is made by the listeners. So perhaps the station might consider adding some Black/Prog metal once in a while! I highly recommend this album and there is not one reference to Satan in all the lyrics which is refreshing!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2010
Format: Audio CD
It's hard to say what fans will think of the newest album from Dimmu Borgir. I personally like it, although my favorite of theirs still stands as Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. The band is now down to three, and the missing members stand out. I have always liked the blend of orchestrial and metal, and in that area Abrahadabra does not dissapoint. All of the songs are solid and well produced, but my one gripe would have to be that the vocals aren't as strong as on previous albums. There seems to be a lot more spoken words on the album, and the screaming parts are few and weak. Fortunately, this doesn't kill the album and it still sound good overall. If you haven't liked Dimmu Borgir's last few albums because you felt they "sold out", this album won't change your mind. If you like the blend of orchestrial and metal, then you'll probably like this.
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