Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Piñata review
|Band:||Diablo Swing Orchestra|
|Release date:||May 2012|
01. Voodoo Mon Amour
02. Guerilla Laments
03. Kevlar Sweethearts
04. How To Organize A Lynch Mob
05. Black Box Messiah
06. Exit Strategy Of A Wrecking Ball
08. Mass Rapture
09. Honey Trap Aftermath
10. Of Kali Ma Calibre
11. Justice For Saint Mary
The oldest band from Sweden is back to enchant, with an incredibly roundly built album. A definite must for everyone who, at least once, was institutionalized for erratic behavior, or was part of a circus.
The legends say, in Sweden, there was a band dating back to 1501, who played "like no other", and now, our pioneers take on the same name to continue a legacy. Playing like no other - that's a good commercial, and the skeptical first listener might say, "Alright, show me whatcha got". Well, believe me, it is like no other. Not just in quality, although they hit high notes there too, but in presentation and in content... damn...
The band did gain great underground recognition with their previous two albums, particularly the first, Butcher's Ballroom. They turned heads by playing a weird presentation of avantgarde metal, incorporating swing (obviously...), jazz, flamenco music, circus music, various folk influences to name just a few. Putting this many elements into the stew requires great expertise to round songs out and make a coherent album. Well, in my humble opinion, Butcher's Ballroom still had "hit and miss" moments when it came to this, but their second album, Sing-Along Songs For The Damned & Delirious was a real improvement, so I eagerly awaited their newest lovechild.
For those who heard any of the previous two albums it's not all that different, but let's be fair, upgrades are extensions were made, new ingredients were again added to the mix, even though the first track (which came out as promo and scared us) doesn't necessarily have anything new. But for those who never heard any previous records, well, prepare to be surprised. But, most importantly, in terms of coherency, this is where I really hear a round, complete, coherent, brought to perfection record.
We, again, have influences from swing, jazz in most songs, Spanish music in "Guerilla Laments", some oriental/gypsy fillings in "Mass Rapture", symphonic aria in "Aurora", groovy non-metal dance material in "Honey Trap Aftermath", dark atmosphere and even small blastbeats in "Of Kali Ma Calibre", and something I don't want to ruin for the listener at the end of the final song, "Justice for Saint Mary". It's a thrill-ride, where headbanging and dancing shoes can be combined at most points.
The many influences come to the surface from both song structure and the myriad of instruments they put in. I can't even identify all the instruments I'm hearing. Also, for a complex being like this to work, we need serious vocal talent, which the duo of Annlouice Loegdlund and Daniel Håkansson provide humbly, although I hear much less of Daniel and much more of Annlouice than last time around. It's not really a problem, but on the last album they provided some really great back-and-forth singing in songs like "A Rancid Romance", which, I believe, would have deserved a reboot.
Still, it's a well structured, coherent album, I can recommend it to anyone with an open mind who has had enough of rarely finding something new on the scene these days. If you haven't heard the band at all, it's a good place to start.
My personal highlights include: Kevlar Sweethearts, Mass Rapture, Honey Trap Aftermath(!!) and Justice for Saint Mary.
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