Diablo Swing Orchestra
Pandora's Pinata


4.0
excellent

Review

by Greg Viessman USER (44 Reviews)
May 15th, 2012 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Snap Your Fingers and do the Jitterbug all while banging your head to this Groovetastic album.

Oh 2007. It was quite an interesting year for me in terms of music. Starting off by joining this website in February with an account that is now long lost in time, I commented on every genre of metal imaginable as I was a 16/17 year old looking for his niche in the music world. Going through death metal, power metal, black metal, progressive metal, and every other type of metal imaginable, I was on a binge of non stop riffage and blast beats. In September I came across this review by Shattered_Future about a band from Sweden named Diablo Swing Orchestra. They developed a sound that was (and still is in some respects) almost impossible to describe. It was jazz, metal, swing, and classical all in one album. “The Butcher’s Ballroom” was phenomenal for this reviewer who was finding something new to shine in an oversaturated metal scene. While the band’s second album, released in 2009, was good, it did not live up to the expectations that the first one had. After forgetting about the band for almost two years, I found out that they were releasing a third album in May 2012. Obviously I had an interest once more.

Pandora’s Pinata is everything that Sing Along Songs for the Damned and Delirious could have been. Opener “Voodoo Mon Amour” is the single off of the album and is perfect in showing what the sound of the band is like to someone who has never heard them. Starting off with a crunchy guitar riff, the song goes into a trombone and trumpet lead. Lead vocalist Annlouice Loegdlund and her operatic voice continue to be quite the complement to the swing/metal style that the band presents. It carries on that way for the majority of the album aside from the fabulous track “Aurora” A traditional opera track, Annlouice shows off her voice in the genre it was supposed to be singing. “Of Kali Ma Calibre” works not because of any of the “gimmicks” that the band may include (although some call operatic vocals with metal music a gimmick anyways) but because it is a good old fashioned operatic metal song.

Daniel Hakansson is the other main vocalist in the band and he gets more recognition singing than previously. When first listening to the band almost five years ago, I was a little annoyed by his vocals because I just wanted to hear Annlouice wail nonstop. However, this record completely changes those originals feelings and Daniel performs admirably, especially on “Justice for Saint Mary” and “Honey Trap Aftermath.” His has a nice range and switches quite well from his medium to high tone.

While the vocals are really good on the record, they can’t compete this time with the rest of the band. The guitars are as heavy as ever. Just listening to the opening of “Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball” makes the listener want to headbang to a band that has not created too many headbanging moments. For the best part of the entire album, look no further than the drums and the bass. Almost every song has the rhythm section being the highlight. “Black Box Messiah” has a great groove feel to it along with a children’s choir singing in what I think is Korean. Nothing can compare to “Honey Trap Aftermath” though. Starting off with the cello, brass section, and weird sound effects, we are treated to the best four minutes of a funkadelic bass lead perhaps ever. I’ve played air guitar, air drums, and sang air vocals. Never have I had a desire to play air bass. This song changes that completely and can not be praised enough because the rest of the band rules too.

Pandora’s Pinata fixes everything that should have been right with the last album and becomes Diablo Swing Orchestra’s most complete album. Detractors of the band probably still will not like a single thing on this record. Fans will love it because it takes everything from the first two albums and adds a little more to the table: more metal, swing, proggy synthesizer sounds, and over the top bombasticism. Someone looking to find unique music should not steer away from this based on perceptions from the fans or detractors. Instead they should go into it expecting to hear music that they have never heard before and will probably never hear imitated. Diablo Swing Orchestra has made an album that is crazy, over the top, beautiful and fun.



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user ratings (224)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Greg Fisher STAFF (4.5)
A sprawling tour de force that moves seamlessly between metallic technicality and full-throttle symp...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Poet
May 15th 2012


5935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Apparently this came out yesterday in Europe.



Poet
May 15th 2012


5935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well you're wrong about the vocals...but right about the end of Justice for Saint Mary.

LoneWanderer
May 15th 2012


180 Comments


I've heard a lot about this band...but yeah I have enough Kayo Dot to finish so this is on the back burner.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2012


7433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The review is unfortunately not very good. The first paragraph is redundant. Plus, I can't shake the impression that you're selling this album short. It's really so much happening on here and your descriptions seem to be a bit lacking. I won't neg though.

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

Poet
May 15th 2012


5935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How is it redundant? Almost every review I've ever done has the "personal" opening paragraph that tells how I even got into the band in the first place. In this case it tells the people how I got into the band in the first place.....oh what guess that's redundant huh?

Plus how do I sell the album short? I'm not going to jizz all over this album because it's not necessary or warranted. I explain that the vocals are good and the bass is godly. What the hell do you want me to do?

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2012


7433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fist of all, I don't care much about personal rants in the reviews. Well, let's just say I don't like them. Secondly, my main gripe would be that you didn't tell anything about wonderful orchestration of the whole thing and thus its cinematic scope etc. This is an excellent album to review for sure. I may try to do it as well.

Poet
May 15th 2012


5935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But it still doesn't make the review bad because I didn't feel it was necessary to include things you would have done. And aside from you not liking the personal touches I had (been doing it for almost five years here now), there's nothing else you mentioned that warrants a "bad review" response.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2012


7433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I didn't think the review is bad per se. That's why I didn't neg it. I just think you could do a better job describing this so multi-faceted release.

MarvinLapsus
May 17th 2012


133 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Good review. I agree with your rating and review, this may be their best album yet, and I think it's their most easy to listen, also.
But not all of their fans are as pleased as me: a friend of mine told me he didn't like it because he perceived it was more straight-forward than their two previous efforts: both in terms of singing and musical complexity.

Poet
May 26th 2012


5935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Holy Crap Batman just saw that this got featured...awesome.

Philalethes
May 26th 2012


245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album is SOOOOO good. I absolutely love Aurora. The arranging abilities of this band have grown immensely since their last album. The different types of articulations that the strings switch between are wonderfully done. I love how the song has mostly lyrical melodies and harmonies, but then suddenly intersperses it with some truly dissonant passages, that seem to completely obscure what the harmonic structure actually is.

BallsToTheWall
May 26th 2012


44805 Comments


Pos for first paragragh.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

drewcordova
May 26th 2012


705 Comments


I like the opening paragraph. Using an anecdote is a potent way to hook people into reading. It creates a shared common understanding between the reader and reviewer. Also, I appreciate the fact that you didn't get all emotional over the album. It's great when reviewers try to remain slightly objective (although it's obvious that you like the album). Definitely going to check this out. Pos.

chambered49
May 26th 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

im gonna check this out it lookos sweet

chambered49
May 26th 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

1st song this is so ridiculous i cant help but love it hahahahahaha

Det_Nosnip
May 26th 2012


374 Comments


Cool, will have to check this out. Butcher's Ballroom is one of my favorite albums, but I could never get into the second album. Excited if this album reaches the potential this band clearly has but hasn't quite reached.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012


10362 Comments


I liked the first paragraph. Sure, it was longer than it needed to be but I enjoyed its personal stance.

This sounds interesting - may have to check it out. Have a pos, friend.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012


10362 Comments


dat avatar.

chambered49
May 26th 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i should not be liking this as much as i am the background music to aurora reminds me of jonny greenwoods score for twbb the metal parts are actually cool and the juxtaposition is pulled off really well here

Vesper
May 26th 2012


3085 Comments


a children’s choir singing in what I think is Korean

Sounds pretty clearly like Japanese, not Korean, especially because, you know, Japan is the weird one.

A couple of my friends are insane about this band, but I've never been able to dig their sound.



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