"There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line." Oscar Levant
A more apt beginning could never be spoken when embarking down the rabbit hole that is reviewing this latest creation from the guys and ladies at Diablo Swing Orchestra. Formed in 2003 this Swedish Metal band has constantly delighted a firm foundation of followers with their unique style and perfect delivery. But hey you didn't come here to hear a history lesson on the formation of the band. If you are inclined you can find the wonderful tale of intrigue that is the mythology of Diablo Swing Orchestra on their Wikipedia page. You are reading this to gain an insight into their latest opus yeah? Ok here we go... quite mental! That is all, goodnight!
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You want more than that? That should have sold any fan of truly original and evolving music. You do realise writing this is cutting firmly into my listening time as I have to stop to write whilst the music blares from my speakers and I could miss slight little nuances that I haven't observed the previous seven times I listened to the album? Well then I better get started, as accurately portraying how awesome this perfect audio asylum is, proves to be a Herculean task. Not for the task of finding great things to say at all but the sheer filtering process which I shall have to embark upon to convey this in a document that doesn't rival the length of classical tales.
From the beginning then, seeing as it's an awesome place to start methinks. 'Voodoo Mon Amour' kicks off the album in sublime rockabilly style. This track has been paraded to the public already as a taster to the forthcoming album. I have read a few reviews which simply state: "...this shows off their awesome talent". That's a true understatement and one that does a little disservice to the track. I find it a veritable cascade of musical ability that any open minded music fan will be extremely pleased to have opening this album. An extremely active and kinetic beginning which correctly sets the scene for what we are about to hear! The vocals are sublimely symbiotic with the swing era instrumental styling. Rockabilly Metal at its best.
Onwards and upwards then into a mariachi band feel in 'Guerrilla Laments'. The true genius of this track lies in its ability to invoke a myriad of imagery. I honestly believed that I needed a bottle of tequila in some Tiajuana bar, blistering heat beating down whilst enjoying the technical expertise of some fabulous musicians on a stage. At this point I feel the need to emphasis some sick drumming skills. The fills and the runs are bloody amazing! A little slice of Mexico in dreary English weather.
'Kevlar Sweethearts' impressed me immensely with the wonderful use of strings in the beginning before launching into a more Romany feel. This is a much more folk Metal track that wouldn't be out of place around a gypsy camp fire delighting onlookers with their aptitude. In this one we are treated to a softer, lulling style of song which is complimented extremely well by the vocal work of Annlouice. Beautifully soft but still in keeping with that undercurrent of sublime insanity which, so far, is making this album a perfect listen. There's even still a slight little mariachi undercurrent here enmeshed in a very folksy style.
Cue the small instrumental interlude in 'How To Organise A Lynch Mob'. Solely strings but slowing the pace down beautifully before launching itself, with perfect reckless abandon into 'Black Box Messiah'! Straight from the off this track lays down some engaging and entertaining music that grabs you instantly. The chorus itself wouldn't be out of place in a Tarantino flick methinks. That's what immediately grasps me about this song. It's an upbeat, quirky track that you just can't help bopping along to. Foot tappers paradise>
It's at this point I realised that listing every single track means I shall literally be here all week. If you take out the fact that I would be here all week it again does you a disservice as part of the beauty I found in listening to this album is that I was pleasantly surprised at every track change. It constantly surprised me, shifting styles and underlying themes as it went on like an awesomely told tale. I will however hit on a few tracks that really caught my attention.
Tracks such as the extremely operatic 'Aurora' which starts as if it would be right at home in a Disney film but then goes on to deliver some very powerful operatic moments. And then, just to mix shit up, leaves you reeling with a little Egyptian feel towards the end. Awesome!
'Of Kali Ma Calibre' treats you to the reason why this band has roots firmly entrenched in the Metal genre. This is a much heavier beginning leading into a 'March Of The Valkyries' style before once again diving into more heaviness. I honestly conjured up the image of a woman in a horned helmet and breastplate belting out this tune on a massive stage to a packed auditorium of opera aficionados.
The list goes on my friends! My, does it indeed go on! The music contained within this album is an amazing mix of technical ability, vocal range, innovation, evolution and pure, downright, gob-smacking surprise. A musical cocktail of elements that shouldn't compliment each other as perfectly as they do here. In a firm nod to the Swedish in the band it's a genuine smorgasbord of pleasures that are uncovered as the listener goes along, much to their delight!
Referring back to my earlier quote, not only do I genuinely believe that Diablo Swing Orchestra have erased the line between genius and insanity but I will also go on record as saying this is probably my favourite album of 2012 so far. The open minded music fan will love this.
"Smorgasbord of delights; arranged beautifully and tastes divine".