Dimmu Borgir Abrahadabra

Dimmu Borgir Abrahadabra
The past three years have been tumultuous for Norwegian symphonic black metallers Dimmu Borgir. In typical, but not very metal, fashion, legal battles with ex-members have stalled the writing and recording processes for ninth effort Abrahadabra. Excuses and arguments aside, a line-up shift has proven to be nothing less than perfect for the long-standing act. Where albums over the past decade spiralled further and further into same old, same old, Abrahadabra finds them expanding their sound and style extraordinarily. Strikingly operatic and orchestral, tracks such as "Gateways," "Chess With the Abyss" and "A Jewel Traced Through Coal" find them embracing the frustration of issues and delving into their craft with newfound passion and zeal. That said, because they have so many divergent aspects, some songs are a bit disjointed, with movements and pieces colliding within their five-minute parameters. Still, with such an endless stream of creativity pushing the band's death-tinged black metal, Abrahadabra is a moving experience that bodes well for the future of a pivotal band that flirted with stagnancy. (Nuclear Blast)