Diablo Swing Orchestra
Sing-Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious


4.5
superb

Review

by psycho888999 USER (20 Reviews)
September 19th, 2009 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Great new direction for a fledgling band.

Diablo Swing Orchestra have officially joined the ranks of weirdos such as Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Fantomas, Arcturus, Stolen Babies, and Mr. Bungle. With this album, they have thrown out all the blatant presences of repetition and straightforwardness demonstrated in Butcher's Ballroom. Yes, it's still a rhythmically simple band with a myriad of influences ranging from the styles mentioned in their namesake to techno to middle eastern music to tango, but SASFDD show the band recoiling a lot from the accusations that their music was not 'avante garde' and jumping rather eagerly on the bandwagon of strangeness. For one, the musical structures are quite hard to read and not as 'hooky' as their previous release. Some token 'joke songs' like Siberian Love Affairs, Bedlam Sticks and Memoirs of a Roadkill are thrown in as deliciously bizzare interludes between the 'real' songs, which are much lengthier and unorthodox in composition.

Concerning the production, it's crystal clear as always. All the instruments(except the guitar) are polished to stand out in the mid-forefront without detracting from the vocals. The guitars are where they belong, since all they 'really' do is play three to five note rhythms in a rather fitting 'Meshuggah' tone, creating an aggressive growl in the background just to remind us all that this is metal. The 'extra' instruments, by some miraculous feat of engineering, are also perfectly balanced when called upon. They never seem too intrusive or too obscure. All in all, there's really nothing much I can say about this other than it's quite tasteful.

The instrumentation is also top notch. The guitarists never hog any attention with their electric parts. They have a little bit of a nice lead in Ricella Dell'anima, but other than that, they are simply content to sit in the background and add 'heaviness.' It would be nicer in the future if the band allowed them to actually 'do' something with their electric guitars rather than allowing them to shine only on acoustic parts and the odd song or two. The drummer is also similar in that he NEVER shows off and simply keeps a tasteful bouncy beat. Where the band shines is their use of unorthodox instruments. The violin(s?), and trumpets are played to great effect and possess some beautiful melodies when popping up. The real star here however, is Annelouice Wolgers and Daniel Hakansson, also the guitarist. Unlike Nightwish, Epica, and a gaggle of other faux operatic bands, Annelouice is the real deal. She possesses a genuine TRAINED operatic voice that can soar to the fabled glass shattering heights in some of the songs. She's a little more restrained on this album, lending about fifty percent of the vocal work to Daniel, who possesses a rather peculiar talent for switching between a boy band quasi falsetto croon into a completely unprecedented opera basso voice which I assume he has just recently acquired, since it was completely absent on the last album. The contrasting 'bearded male' rumble and 'opera diva' wailing work perfectly together, punctuated by the occasional monotone harping by Annelouice and some comical rhythmic narratations courtesy of Daniel's basso alterego. If anything, you should buy the album just for the vocals, since this is one of the best you're ever going to find in 'clean vocal metal.'

The composition is where things really get interesting. Like I said before, they probably got wind of criticisms of not being part of their respective scene, so they decided to take a little bit of strangeness Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and a little bit of cartoonish sensibility and unorthodox compositions from Arcturus and Mr. Bungle to add to their own established sound. The result is absolutely astounding. They sound like a natural evolution of themselves rather than a band trying too hard to grasp at being 'avant garde' (cough cough Mayhem's Grand Declaration of War cough cough) I was a little scared they would try to grow the inkling if mainstream hookiness in Butcher's Ballroom, but it turns out that my fears were completely unfounded. If their next release could manage to spiral just as gracefully into dementia without losing the DSO essence, they honestly could be the next contender for Mr.Bungle's dusty and abandoned throne.

In closing, this is a highly recommended piece of avante garde goodness.It is bizzare, beautiful, playful, and utterly insane, something Diablo Swing Orchestra have learned and perfected better than Fantomas' cartoonish spaz-outs could ever could.



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user ratings (164)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
September 19th 2009


44484 Comments


Why didnt you just post this under the one that had the artwork? Page looks fucking tacky with 6 artless reviews. I cant wait to hear this.

And Tarja is the real deal btw.

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

R6Rider
September 19th 2009


4635 Comments


I checked these guys out the other day cause you had em on one of your lists Balls

Interesting stuff, although a little generic

Digging: Dodheimsgard - 666 International

jingledeath
September 20th 2009


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This sounded pretty good from the one listen I gave it.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 20th 2009


3768 Comments


That was a really good review - clear, easy to read, informative, etc. And you pretty much nailed exactly why I thought the Butchers Ballroom was great, but nothing too exciting. I wasn't going to check this out, but i might now.

nodnerB
September 20th 2009


189 Comments


Woah I want it.

Poet
September 20th 2009


5935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's better than The Butcher's Ballroom in some aspects.

Tandred
September 20th 2009


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was worried that The Butcher's Ballroom would be one of those hard-to-follow-albums, but they outdid themselves. Fantastic.

KYZAR
September 20th 2009


513 Comments


ha! love the artwork.

Zoo
September 21st 2009


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this'll probably grow on me, idk

maartendq
September 22nd 2009


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nothing short of brilliant and on the same level as their debut.

sleepyhead
September 23rd 2009


593 Comments


ok I gave this a listen and must admit its been a while since i've said "WTF IS THIS???" (but in a good way) It's simply impossible for me to rate this but I'm predicting at least a 4

Tyler
Emeritus
September 23rd 2009


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

im curious about this even though their first album sucked

jingledeath
September 27th 2009


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is really really fun and if I ever throw a party then this is what I'll play to get people to
dance

Tyler
Emeritus
September 27th 2009


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

got a few songs in and had to turn it off. will give it another chance later but it was pretty terrible. the second or third song sounded like Korn.

EasternLight
September 27th 2009


2700 Comments


this looks...i dont know

Poet
September 27th 2009


5935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

got a few songs in and had to turn it off. will give it another chance later but it was pretty terrible. the second or third song sounded like Korn.


lol what?

Tyler
Emeritus
September 27th 2009


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Parts of Lucy Fears the Morning Star and A Rancid Romance sounds like Korn only with an irritating opera singer and horns.

fireaboveicebelow
September 27th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't see that...even if I try to

Rhinoceron
September 27th 2009


94 Comments


The opera singing is very annoying. Not sure if I'll continue listening.

Shattered_Future
September 30th 2009


1540 Comments


Must listen again. First listen through left me with a feeling of a ton of ambitiousness that ultimately leads nowhere. Aside from the last track, which is probably one of the best that they've done. A Tap Dancer's Dilemma as well perfectly captures that vibe that they were going for.



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