Review Summary: The equivalent of putting a bunch of musical styles in a blender and pushing puree, the Diablo Swing Orchestra's first offering is unlike anything else around today
Every so often the metal scene will get a band that defies classification and brings something original to the table. There’s Peccatum, Unexpect, and whatever Ulver is producing now, to name a few. All produce music that no one has ever heard before, and all have created fantastic compositions that flirt with many different styles of music.
The Diablo Swing Orchestra is also one of these bands. Their first album, The Butcher’s Ballroom, flirts with nearly every style of music imaginable. Name one other band that combines chugging riffs with cellos, soprano vocals, horns, keyboards, didgeridoo, and a whole host of other instruments. I dare you. The composing ability of the band is astounding. I’ve never heard anything like their album anywhere else. Flamenco, swing, Middle Eastern, western, jazz and classical elements all make their way into the album at one point or another.
From the get-go, it may seem like the band is a gimmick band. Balrog Boogie
, while still a good track, wouldn’t do well if the style used in it was replicated and used on the rest of the album. It’s basically a big band swing track in a minor key with heavy guitars. It’s interesting, to say the least. In the hands of any other band, the track would have bombed, but DSO manage to make it work.
However, not to worry. The rest of the album is plenty varied and plenty good. Heroines
makes use of a terrific dark cello line and some creepy vocal parts, along with lead singer Anniouice’s massive range to pull out what is one of my favorite tracks off of the album. It gives off a great evil vibe. Wedding March For A Bullet
breaks out some awesome guitar riffing that’s quite unlike anything I’ve heard in a metal song before. It’s quite hard to describe, really. Finally, we have Infralove
, with some electronically altered didgeridoo faded in from the track before it and some great keyboard solos and western riffing. Yeah, it switches styles faster than Paris Hilton got out of jail, but it adds a great feel to the song.
Occasionally, the band makes use of some male vocal work, courtesy of their guitarist. Obviously, his voice isn’t as good as the lead singer’s voice is, but it works well enough with the music and throws a little more life into the band. He has a great part in Zodiac Virtues
, which, even for this band, is ***ing weird. It goes from some great evil, heavy guitar riffing to a flute part in the middle. Even more suprising, it doesn’t sound out of place at all.
It’s hard to call this album anything short of amazing. One of the most original albums to come out in recent times, the Diablo Swing Orchestra have perfected a style that none other have been able to produce. There are still a few songwriting flaws that will undoubtedly be remedied the more the band plays and writes together, but they don’t detract from the overall flow of the album. This is an immense debut album, and should not be missed by anyone.
Wedding March For A Bullet