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Devil Doll - The Girl who Was... Death CD (album) cover

THE GIRL WHO WAS... DEATH

Devil Doll

 

Heavy Prog

3.89 | 104 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

semismart
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Having recently finished reviewing an album whose music I described as weird, strange, peculiar even deviant, I couldn't help but think that I would describe the music of Devil Doll in much the same way, with perhaps a couple more suitable adjectives like perverse and satirical.

Yes, I'm afraid Old Man Metal is about to force feed another one of those really weird bands on you. True you don't have to read this but Devil Doll is an interesting phenomenon, a conjunction great and wonderful musical competence with perverse theatrics and macabre absurdity. If you are familiar with either Lacrimosa or Therion, imagine their marvelous music combined with something as over the top as Weird Al Yankovic, Victor Borge or even Dr. Demento. Sound interesting? I invite you to read on. You can stop whenever you want, I promise.

DEVIL DOLL

I'm sure you're all familiar with the terms eccentric and hermit. Devil Doll and especially their leader Mr. Doctor seems to be the musical equivalent of an eccentric hermit. One could be forgiven if they never heard of Devil Doll, being one of the most obscure underground bands this side of the now planetoid Pluto. . The inscrutable Mr. Doctor, originally from Slovenia, as in former Yugoslavia, and now based across the Adriatic in Italy, has, until recently, stingily released copies of his five albums on his Hurdy Gurdy label, as if a famous artist releasing numbered paintings. This has made the original releases collectors items and I have observed bids on Ebay of upwards of one hundred dollars.

If this is not proof enough of Mr. Doctor's eccentricities, there is a rumor that there is a sixth album - the very first album, of which only a single copy was made and retained by Mr. Doctor himself. Also the original version of 'Dies Irae' was the official fan club's released box set, a hand numbered release of only 1,500 in the whole universe, including special artwork, lyrics, sheet music, and extensive liner notes, all presented in a leather bound sleeve. Many copies of Devil Doll's early releases often had hand painted covers and liner notes occasionally handwritten, reputedly in Mr. Doctor's blood. (No lie)

Discography The Girl who Was... Death (1989) Eliogabalus (1990) Sacrilegium (1992) The Sacrilege of Fatal Arms (1993) Dies Irae (1996)

Devil Doll has a most unusual musical presentation. Bizarre is perhaps the best description. They have released five albums, the last being this album in 1996 and I could use the same description on all five. The music has been described in numerous ways. Their music has been called Dark Heavy Progressive by some, a Sinister Prog Metal Symphony by others and even Theatrical Goth Rock.

Personally, I find Devil Dolls music to be an odd combination of beautiful melodies with elegant choirs and outrageous vocals of macabre stories. Mr. Doctor, sometimes referred to as the man of a thousand voices, as a vocalist seems more like a carnival barker or master of ceremonies. When you throw in weird sound effects and occasionally strange backing vocals one gets the feeling of listening to some dark ominous theatrical Rock Opera.

THE GIRL WHO WAS ...DEATH

THE GIRL WHO WAS ...DEATH, is loosely based on the old 1960's TV drama, The Prisoner. The name is even taken from one of The Prisoner's episodes. This initial of Devil Doll's official releases is not broken into tracks. Neither are the next three. Only the last released album Dies Irae has a track listing, which still segues into a single performance.

There is obviously a large cast and a plethora of sounds from heavy organ to accordion. As to be expected, THE GIRL WHO WAS ...DEATH sets that unique Devil Doll recipe of elegant orchestral with some gothic influences, contrasted sharply with keyboard-led passages that feature the sinister, bizarrely twisted voice and antics of Mr. Doctor. The album features a wide range of instrumentation including stunning violin work, which makes the appeal of this album is compelling. A good way to envision the music of Devil Doll, is to imagine an ominous foreboding horror music soundtrack in combination with classical and progressive nuances.

CONCLUSION

Devil Doll's vocals are fairly tortured featuring "Mr. Doctor" who sounds more like an eclectic, specter of macabre than a lead singer. Those unfamiliar with his singing style may find it out of the norm as he tends to talk, mumble, screech or stutter his way through the songs in lieu of singing. The result is something that only one's personal taste can judge... some will love it and find it inventive,as I do, for others it will be too strange to assimilate. However the great thing about Devil Doll is not Mr Doctor but the extremely interesting music. THE GIRL WHO WAS ...DEATH contrasts classical strings with great synth, piano and organ work and the occasional brilliant progressive rock breakout. The musicianship is excellent as is the production, something Devil Doll are noted for. Not surprisingly, this album runs like a movie soundtrack with full theatrics and animation of imagery, imbued within the fine instrumentation. Without a question the music is somewhat avante garde and should only be listened to by a receptive audience. In summary " THE GIRL WHO WAS ...DEATH " is an unusual album full of innovation and heavy classical, macabre soundtrack elements, one that this music lover appreciates!

If you're wondering why, if THE GIRL WHO WAS ...DEATH is such a great album, I didn't give five stars, it's because I hate hidden tracks, especially ones with long blank spaces between songs. This album whose length is advertised as 66.02 minutes, is actually 38:48 minutes of music, interrupted by 26:20 minutes of silence, followed by the 1:56 finale. They are the bane of humanity, or in this case the extremely psychotic and sadistic.

semismart | 4/5 |

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