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Abrahadabra [Digipak]


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Shagrath (vocals, keyboards); Snowy Shaw (vocals, bass guitar); Galder , Silenoz (guitar); Sidsel Walstad (harp); Atle Sponberg, Frode Larsen, Henrik Hannisdal, Elisabeth Lie, Andrea Manger, Annar Folleso, Stine Rem Aarones, Yi Yang , Christina Dimbodius, Agnes Hoffart, Mette Elisabeth Steen, Maren Elle, Kristin Karlsson, Tone Bjornsen, Willy Aase, Guro Hilmen (violin); Nora Taksdal (viola); Marit Klovning, Audun Sandvik, Merete Olsen Carr, Morten Hannisdal (cello); Tom Ottar Andreassen, Trond Magne Brekka (flute); Bj?rn Nyman, Hilde Mentzoni, Stine Lise Svenning (clarinet); Trygve Aarvik (oboe); Ingrid Uddu (English horn); Embrik Snerte, Ingrid ?hlander (bassoon); Tom Skjellum, Kare Magnar Hagen, Odd Nilsen (trumpet); Sverre Riise, Petter Winroth, Oivind Westby (trombone); Trude Eick, Hildegun Flataboe , Eyvind Andreassen, Julius Pranevicius (horns); Daray (drums); Birger Mistreggen (timpani); Joakim Nordin, Bjorn Rabben (percussion).
  • Audio Mixers: Dimmu Borgir; Andy Sneap.
  • Recording information: Dugout Studios, Uppsala, Sweden; Livingroom Studios, Oslo, Norway; NRK Studios, Oslo, Norway; Pimp Plaza Recordings, Oslo, Norway.
  • Photographers: Kjell Lund; Marcelo Vasco ; Tove ?sum Forwald.
  • At one point, Dimmu Borgir were a black metal band. Somewhere around the time of 2001's Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, though, they became something entirely different, a kind of monument to pomp and grandeur for its own sake. Peaking on 2003's Death Cult Armageddon and sagging somewhat on the overwrought/underwritten 2007 concept album In Sorte Diaboli, they've managed to combine black metal with John Williams-style symphonic stomping. This album, while not quite the equal of Death Cult Armageddon, does represent a fairly strong comeback. Without changing their style, it's more melodic and even catchier than they're known for being, and the exchanges between lead vocalist Shagrath (who sounds like a cross between Laibach's Milan Fras and Popeye the Sailor) and the trills of the orchestra (real, not synth-based), not to mention the frequent interjections by female voices, make the whole thing almost operatic. Indeed, Abrahadabra is many things, but it is definitely not a rock album. It takes the pomposity of prog to new extremes, throws classical filigree around like comedian Rip Taylor hurling confetti, and generally adopts a more-is-more attitude toward every element from riff writing to arrangements. It opens with an instrumental fanfare, and there's a guest vocal spot on "Ritualist" (by bassist Snowy Shaw of Therion) that sounds like Peter Hammill from Van der Graaf Generator. It might be goofy as hell, but it's also a lot of fun. ~ Phil Freeman
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