Diamanda Galas
Diamanda Galas


4.0
excellent

Review

by INTERNATIONAL POPSTAR STEVEN WILSON USER (46 Reviews)
January 5th, 2016 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist


In the world of music and art, there are some people who are just simply gifted. When you’re talking about one of the most progressive and intriguing singers of the last 50 years, it’s hard to say Diamanda Galas is simply gifted when is more accurate to say that she’s blessed, possessing one of the most impressive and imposing voices in music. While she may certainly be blessed, there’s nothing holy about her music. When you’ve got such a large vocal range that you can perform practically anything you want, why not do something a little unorthodox with it" With her self-titled album, Diamanda Galas uses her voice, accompanied only by tape manipulations and industrial sounding electronics, to create unnerving and at times terrifying atmospheres and textures.

Lasting a little over half an hour, there’s not actually an awful lot to this album, but it’s certainly not a forgettable 32 minutes by any stretch of the imagination. Straight away, the album greats you with an uncomfortable burst of noise, followed by Galas wailing comfortably around the 6th octave, a throat-clenchingly high pitch for any normal human being. The first side of the album, “Panoptikon”, named for the prison layout where all of the inmates are able to be observed from a single vantage point, captures this feeling of constant observation during unwanted imprisonment. They way the album is recorded is important for the atmosphere. There isn’t a lot of dynamic range in the recording, with peaking all over the place especially as “Panoptikon” continues on. This adds a ghastly texture to Galas’ voice, adding to the frightening sense of entrapment.

Galas’ vocals don’t just consist exclusively of ghoulish wails and banshee shrieks. There are several instances where Galas begins to shout, a lot of it unintelligible nonsense but some of it actual words, as if the mind of the prisoner trapped forever under surveillance in the panopticon is speaking to itself. Galas’ voice is manipulated in strange ways such as pitching down and layered over the top of itself to become even more punishing. The way the piece builds is very clever, the atmosphere becoming more and more claustrophobic as it continues.

The second half of the album takes a slightly different approach and channels a slightly different emotion. Inspired by the Junta regime that ruled Greece from the late 60s to the early 70s and inspired by traditional Greek mourning rites. This side features howling, spitting, growling, shrieking, purring, hissing and quite simply anything Galas felt was in her ability to do, layered in a capella like some freak show barbershop quartet. Though this side isn’t quite as unsettling and powerful as the first half, it still possesses a strong air of horror to it and a poisonous desire for revenge emanates from Galas’ voice.

For those looking for something to challenge them, or those with an already healthy interest in the avant-garde, Diamanda Galas’ self-titled album is an entertaining half-hour for the morbidly curious. A fantastic vocalist with a twisted sense of atmosphere with a lot to offer for those open-minded enough to give it a shot.



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user ratings (29)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jasdevi087
January 5th 2016


4649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Trying to find the passion to write again. Decided to challenge myself and write about something a lot more difficult than i usually do. Did not proof read it, so I would not be surprised if it sucks.

CalculatingInfinity
January 5th 2016


7657 Comments


Very nice to see you reviewing again Jas :]

Pestiferous
January 5th 2016


1372 Comments


Fucking love this chick

EasterInTheBatcave
January 5th 2016


254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Only album I don't have by Diamanda. I can't find it anywhere. Pos, btw.

AnimalsAsSummit
January 5th 2016


2985 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review jas, awesome as hell to see this get more exposure. i dig this album hard but litanies is definitely my fave

TheMoonchild
January 6th 2016


1127 Comments


Her most underrated album yet. Desfixiones is my fav of hers but I'll admit I'm a tad biased because it was the first album of hers I heard.

Great review.

altertide0
January 6th 2016


2989 Comments


The music itself is actually not that exciting here but damn me if these vocals aren't some of the best in the business. An excellent choice for a review and a great read as well.

EvoHavok
January 6th 2016


7295 Comments


Nice write-up, Jas! Interesting pick, too.

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2016


5471 Comments


This sounds vaguely like it would be akin to Pharmakon... is that right at all? Great review man :]

Jasdevi087
January 6th 2016


4649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well, I'm glad this was positively received



Umm, yeah I guess it's kinda like Pharmakon but not really. This is way more about the vocals and in that respect, they aren't even on the same level.

lef456
January 6th 2016


71 Comments


Nice to see this finally has a review. I've listened to this and Litanies, and I probably like this one more. Shame she doesn't care for this one, and refuses to reissue it. Would buy it in a heartbeat if she did

NLD
May 25th 2016


589 Comments


this album is fucking with me rn

GhandhiLion
February 25th 2017


1492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bump.

Digging: Big Star - 3rd

Jasdevi087
February 25th 2017


4649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

when are her two new ones dropping?

GhandhiLion
February 26th 2017


1492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

March 24.

Dewinged
February 26th 2017


6950 Comments


she scares the shit out of me

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Tower

GhandhiLion
March 21st 2017


1492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good

Jasdevi087
March 25th 2017


4649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

she goes fucking NUTS on the new one. can't believe she can still hit double high Es

EasterInTheBatcave
March 26th 2017


254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Finally found this. I dig. Also, where can I hear the new one?

Jasdevi087
March 26th 2017


4649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Spotify



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