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Diablo Swing Orchestra - The Butcher's Ballroom CD (album) cover

THE BUTCHER'S BALLROOM

Diablo Swing Orchestra

 

Progressive Metal

3.91 | 127 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's so unfair when bands like these are virtually unknown. This is a class act.

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA's music is incredibly original. In their album, "The Butcher's Ballroom", they go over a lot of different territories. Metal, avant-garde (though not in the same vein as more extreme bands like Unexpect), symphonic (more in the sense of their choice of instruments than in their choice of structures), jazzy, but always, always unique.

The band play a metal style that at times may remind us of bands like THERION (specially in their latest album, "Gothic Kabbalah") but also of completely different bands like AYREON (some riffs and ideas make me say that). Though metallic, the music never gets extreme or difficult to listen to by the non-metal fan. As the band's name implies, they can carry a rhythm, as well as a tune, and they do. Imagine the soundtrack for a burlesque, grotesque infernal theater, full of little puppets dressed in red, staging sarcastic, ironic plays that require an insane, almost sickly perverted musical joke for soundtrack. That's not to say that this music is a joke: the complete opposite is true. This is some really serious art. With room for melody but also for violence. With

That is also accomplished with the original orchestration that may be this group's biggest achievement. Besides the traditional guitar-bass-drums set-up, the DSO adds all kind of keyboards, strings (but not in the common synth-like sense but as individual, single musical units with more than just harmonic/background duties) and winds. As I just mentioned, all of these varied instruments have a reason to be there. Unlike other artists who just add non-traditional colors to their palettes but just as some kind of reinforcement for the typical metal line-up, DSO makes this new voices matter. When you hear a cello, it's no in the background, but on the forefront, playing a riff or a melody.

Another one of "The Butcher's Ballroom" 's great success stories is the leading vocals. Annlouice Loegdlund's operatic voice steals the show with its warmth (yes, warmth, amidst furious metal riffs) and the heights it is able to reach. There are some growling vocals here and there, but they are almost unnoticeable and completely swallowed by the weight of Loegdlund's art. This is not your typical "beauty and the beast" band where the female part is just but a shadowing contrast to the prevalent male guttural one. Here, the "beast" side of the equation is almost reduced to zero, while the "beauty" (and it is a beautiful voice) leads the way for more than 90% of the album.

The skill of the musicians needs not be questioned. Throughout the whole disc we're constantly marveled at the quality of the playing, by either the gifted drummer, the precise bass player, the virtuosic string instrumentalists, or the incredibly creative, innovative guitar players. Though the linear notes don't contain the names of the members of the band, they're listed here.

Without a doubt, one of the most overlooked albums of 2006 (I can't believe that this album wasn't even mentioned in best-of lists while experiments in noise got all kinds of recognition). A gem that you should try to discover. These Swedes deserve your time.

Recommended for: Every fan of progressive metal. Fans of non-extreme avant-garde metal Fans of experimental/art rock in general.

.the Diablo is waiting to dance a swing with you. With the most infernal, seductive of soundtracks.

The T | 5/5 |

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