Within this early stage of 2014, after hearing more albums than I care to recollect I'm about to share my third top album with you.
Along with gems like Bigelf ('Into The Maelstrom') and The Vintage Caravan ('Voyage') unleashing some awesome albums, it is time to celebrate the Spanish epic Rock machine we know as Diabulus In Musica! If you enjoy your female-fronted Gothic Metal, then 'Argia' is a supreme example of how it should be tackled.
Incorporating a genuine warm heart oozing emotion and beating to their Metal and Classical credentials, these guys have pulled off quite a feat, let me tell you.
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It isn't too common that the name of the band is longer than the title of their album, but here we are confronted with studio album number three, and that is exactly what we discover before we've pressed play on the drama which remains unkempt and unknown within the album.
The artwork is striking and tells a story which runs throughout the music with lyrical themes of emotional pain and torment before breaking through it all like the proverbial phoenix! I'm not being over-the-top am I?
Musically the 'Argia' transports the listener to the tender with moments like 'Sed Diabolus' which effortlessly glides in to 'Eternal Breeze' with a self-assured elegance and majesty. There are full-on moments of Metal too like the single 'Inner Force', 'Mechanical Ethos' and 'Spoilt Vampire'.
If you're partial to atmospheric passages, then 'Et Resurrexit (Libera Me)' and 'Horizons' share their charms.
Incorporating several languages throughout from Basque and Latin to English and Spanish, there is an abundance of textures and shades to coax the ears from a bored slumber.
This listening experience swoops and pillages with equal passion the more occasions you give it a spin. Rewarding is one word that continued to plague my mind when playing it repeatedly. 'Indigo' wrapped up the album with a soft caress which felt like the equivalent of a sigh of relief.
The relief that the pain and the challenges were behind the main protagonists; Zuberoa Aznárez – lead vocalist, arranger and many other aspects in conjunction with co-founder of Diabulus In Musica, the keyboardist and co-writer Gorka Elso. Their explanation for this excellent release can be viewed elsewhere on the mighty MetalTalk.net thanks to an interview I conducted with both of these main exponents of the music.
For the first time in ages, the hairs literally stood up on the back of my neck during 'Healing' when around four minutes and forty seconds in to the track, Zuberoa performs some gentle operatic and unleashes a triumphant and valiant cry - Makes me shudder to think about it even now.
Oh, and before I forget there are a couple of guests included amongst the plethora of instrumentation. Ailyn Giménez is lead vocalist of Sirenia and makes an appearance on 'Furia De Libertad' whilst Therion's lead vocalist Thomas Vikström guests on 'Encounter At Chronos' Maze'.
I realise that due to each one of us having our own set of values and tastes, that some may not get as much out of this album as I have done, but it's a treasure worth holding dear to the bosom. Maybe it can be our secret album that many won't feel or appreciate in the same ways as we do?
Whatever your verdict, please remember that their motivation for recording this album wasn't the money or the fame, but because they simply love making music and being creative. After wading through the choirs, the strings, the riffs, the pounding drums and the melodies, remember that watching a piece of emotionally-driven art come to life as each and every sequence and piece was assembled and arranged, is the only reason this album was made.
It was both cathartic for the creators and rewarding once it was accomplished.
Et Resurrexit (Libera Me)
From The Embers
Furia De Libertad
Encounter At Chronos' Maze