Diabolical Masquerade was a solo-project that started in 1993 and was lead by a man with an alias known as Blakkheim. The type of music he used to compose was avant-garde atmospheric black metal. People probably don’t know what avant-garde means but I will give you a short description. Avant-garde can be described like this: The most advanced, and in this case ’’the most advanced’’ within this type of music. Blakkheim started this project because he wanted to create music that was more extreme compared to Katatonia’s melodic and mellow music. But after 4 studio albums Blakkheim decided to quit his work with Diabolical Masquerade in 2004, but the music he created has left and will leave scars to those who listen to his work.
The album Nightwork was released in 1998 but it was re-released in 2007 with a slightly different album cover and a bonus track called Crystalline Friendz was included. Nightwork delivers black metal that is very unique compared to many other black metal bands. To start with, all the songs have a unique song structure and their own unique climaxes. Most songs are based around a certain feeling or element; Haunted By Horror is a very somber yet heroic type of song. Thiz Ghoultimate Omen is a very haunting and eerie song. Rider On The Bonez is one of the most superior overall atmospheric songs and The Eerie Obzidian Circuz really defines craziness and madness. There are also things in the songs that you could never imagine that could happen. Female chanting, flutes and other types of strange sounds are blend into this complex type of black metal. Nightwork is guaranteed to surprise the most prejudice of listeners. Blakkheim actually got a little help from a fellow metal master while he was working on this album. Dan Swano which is known for his marvelous work with progressive metal music like Edge Of Sanity, Nightingale and his self-titled band Dan Swano.
Blakkheim uses only one vocal style here. Raspy and incredibly evil black metal vocals, this type of vocals really add a lot of creepiness and evil to the complex and beautiful music. He actually sounds like a very pissed off Gollum, the creature from the books and movies called Lord Of The Rings. Swano also contributes with some vocals but only in one song, in Dreadventurouz you will hear some small portions of Swano’s growls. There are lots of guitars in this album, electro acoustics, regular acoustics and ordinary electric guitars. Here you will experience an incredibly versatility from Blakkheim’s guitar performances. Acoustics are blended with various types of riffs and solos which creates a terrific atmosphere to each track. The guitars are very melodic and dynamic, plus that there are some really cool riffing parts in songs like Haunted By Horror and The Eerie Obzidian Circuz. But even if this is black metal there are very few tremolo-based riffs and pickings. As the many black metal bands you hardly hear a bass here so there is nothing to mention about the bass. The keyboards are probably the most important instruments here because this is what makes Nightwork so special. There are two keyboards and there are a slew of different sounds from the keys. You will hear ordinary piano tunes but also classic ’’Dracula’’ tunes like in old and modern horror movies. In either way, the keys create a huge and complex web of melodic and majestic atmospheres in this album. And finally we have the drums. People usually associate black metal with blast-beats but Nightwork is basically free from blast-beats. There are only two moments where you will hear blast-beats in this album, good to some and bad for others. The drum pattern that seems to have been the favorite one in here is double bass kicking. There are lots of double bass drumming here in various paces. But the drumming is also very varied so nothing gets repetitive or one-dimensional.
Diabolical Masquerade’s Nightwork is definitely an album that defines words like unique and special. Everything is incredibly varied and diverse, the atmospheres and song structures makes the songs intriguing and continually interesting. You might think that one part sounds bad but suddenly the track takes a different turn and suddenly you like it. The only possible flaws that this album has might be the slightly flat sound production. The bass should’ve been a bit more audible, or at least the rhythm guitars could’ve been thicker. Everything is audible but the overall sound could’ve used some more thickness. Nightwork will suit those who have a vast taste in metal music, most because of the melodies, atmospheres and diversity.
+ Perfect song variety, no repetitiveness at all
+ Ghostly, creepy and eerie but yet so beautiful and atmospheric
+ Very easy to enjoy
+ Unpredictable music
- The sound production could’ve been a bit thicker
-- Rider On The Bonez 4.5/5
-- Dreadventurouz 3/5
-- The Zkeleton Keyz To The Dead 4/5
-- Thiz Ghoultimate Omen 5/5
-- All Onboard On The Perdition Hearz 4/5
-- The Eerie Obzidian Circuz 3.5/5
-- Haunted By Horror 5/5
-- Crystalline Friendz (bonus track) 2.5/5
Final rating will be a 4/5