Disclaimer: first review. Don't hurt me.
If you're familiar with Katatonia, then you may know Anders Nsyrom, also known as Blakkheim. His work, no matter what side project, tends to be nothing less than original. Diabolical Masquerade was his passage of delving into heavier, sometimes experimental music and through the four cds he put out under this name, Death's Design is at least remarkable for its endless combinations of genres, instrumentation, and themes. This is, however, made to be a soundtrack for a movie that doesn't exist so that would explain the 61 songs, most being under a minute.
The intensity and frantic emotion you feel when you hear the first dun.. dun.. DUN.. DUN.. of the cd...well it only increases by the time you get to track 2, which only takes 5 seconds. The first movement doesn't necessarily represent what the whole cd will sound like, but it sure sets the horror movie mood.
Going through the first few movements, you get some impressive imagery of what could be going on in the movie, which makes this kinda like a write your own scene thing...anyhoo...
The fifth movement brings about some clockwork....then blasts into one of the most epic 6/8 organ leads I've ever heard with a great rhythm under it. And then you hear the majesty of Dan Swano's clean vocals, yayyyy. Once Blakkheim starts his black metal rasp, you feel like storming into battle and slaying thousands to the beat of the double bass. This song is probably what you want to check out if you want one song to hear before the rest.
Moving on to the 8th movement, some pretty cool jazz riffs. Thankfully there's more of that to come. The 9th movement brings the sadness like no other track on here, probably representing a turning point in the movie. You're graced with lush flute and synth lines until it breaks for a eerie refrain of a previous song...and then BAM back into the first part of the song with distorted guitar playing the clean parts and busting into an extremely herioc lead, empowering your mind for the next movement.
The 10th-13th are the parts where you know something's going down. Again, it's really fun to try to write the movie while you're listening. One thing about the 10th I feel I must mention is the middle where it breaks to beautiful happiness and more clean vocals, only the lyrics are utterly creepy:
"It can see you...so don't try to hide
when you will wake up, it's only a dream..."
It explodes into some painful screams and with the mix of melancholy leads and power of the vocals, you can't help but feel so decadent, yet once again empowered to right the wrongs.
The 14th brings in another jazz solo, quite the bitch to tab out, but also very worth it since it's pretty :) The 15th-18th bring a new feel into the cd which could be described as what you'd listen to if you're playing a role-playing game in a temple filled with booby-traps.
The 19th movement recovers the powerful leads from earlier, except most of the music is performed by synths. The imagery of these tracks brings about a finale with a supernova in the backround, that's all I could use to describe it. Once the drums kick in you're thrown into something indescribable but you feel the need to fight someone to save everyone. And as you hear the 5 second scream of the 20th movement, the curtains close, and my jaw was down there..farther...there it is.
There's really not much more to say. If you're an open minded metalhead, or just open minded music lover, then I strongly advise to check this out. The band itself has been abandoned until recently when Anders felt the spirits speaking to him once again, so we'll see what happens.
1st, 5th, 9th, 10th, 14th, 16th, 19th