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Devil Doll - The Sacrilege of Fatal Arms CD (album) cover

THE SACRILEGE OF FATAL ARMS

Devil Doll

Heavy Prog


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janusz.groth@
5 stars Dark, powerful album. A cross of heavy metal, gothic rock and symphonic music. A real killer mixture. Fantastic album. They recorded before Therion era and their are far, far better than all Therion and others. A must.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#1722)
Posted Sunday, November 09, 2003 | Review Permalink
Marcelo
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars So dark like -curiously- brilliant. Melodic and powerful, symphonic and heavy, operatic and gloomy, this is an amazing album from an unique band. Listening this album about death and obscure worlds, the sensation is something like to walk in the night, crossing a cemetery straight to a funeral. Brrr!

But while the strange and crazy Mr. Doctor's voices can cause a lot of chills, the orchestral parts and the symphonic arrangements, as well as melodies, are great. Blending many and very different styles at only one 72 minutes song, listener will be scared and, at the same time, comforted and maybe in ecstacy.

Be brave, listen to this band and have -at least- an unique experience.

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Send comments to Marcelo (BETA) | Report this review (#1723)
Posted Saturday, December 20, 2003 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The music of DEVIL DOLL is something very special and each album of theirs remains some of the most original gothic prog work ever done. This was apparently a fan club only re-release and the sleeve warns that "this music can alter your mental health". An orchestra tunes up, some polite applause and then a Sousa-style march that is interrupted by some mob sounds... wow and then it gets going. Strings and organ accompany sinister chants in a liturgy of the damned that turns into a stunning GOBLIN-esque prog workout. It's a crime that some horror film director didn't grab these guys cause they make some of the most tense, evocative evil soundtrack music I have ever heard. They actually make Italy's GOBLIN sound like the happy hour in relation to this music darkness. About 6 minutes into it, the DEVIL DOLL we all know and love starts to materialise, with the unmistakable strains of Mr. Doctor's hissed/whispered/growled vocals taking over and leading the listener through a surreal maze of terror and insanity. While one is listening, one can clearly hear influences of gothic-rock, progressive-rock, classical music, theatrical music, chamber music, soundtracks of old horror movies, opera and church music. There is simply no such category in which one could neatly and safely place DEVIL DOLL, unless you name category itself as DEVIL DOLL.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#1724)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This record only contains one huge track: it lasts near 80 minutes!! I've never heard such progressive rock so far! It is one of the most disturbing, scariest album i've never heard! The music is funest, diabolic, insane, dement, dark, religious, theatrical, P-O-W-E-R-F-U-L, apocalyptic, and you must be a little crazy to really enjoy it! The recording and the compositions are PROFESSIONALLY made, well structured, absolutely not amateurish! The track gives me the feeling that a super genius serial killer makes a satanic cult and tries to attract some fragile victims by seduction, temptation and magnetism. Punctuated with some Hitlerian crowd ambiences & speeches, the disturbing church organ, the sad violins, the slow solemn piano, the haunting accordions and the poignant religious choirs are complementary to an omnipresent set of extremely deranged & disturbed male voices, obviously exaggerated. As if all this was not enough, an excellent metal rhythmic guitar gives the aggressive & rhythmic mood, when needed. AROUND 22:30, THE MEGA CROWD REACTION, BEFORE THE HITLERIAN SPEECH, WILL MAKE YOU FALL FROM YOUR COUCH, ESPECIALLY IF YOU LISTEN IT VERY LOUD: THAT'S ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!

The composition is, I must admit, absolutely delightful, approaching the genius state, although it may seem for the listener lengthy, because of the numerous long pauses and the overall slow rhythm. Don't listen to it alone in the dark: IT IS A VERY DISTURBING ALBUM, an acquired taste! For maximum effect, turn up the volume!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#1725)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Take the grandeur of progressive rock and the macabre melodrama of goth and you have DEVIL DOLL. Both genres have a potential for unique power, and both can also be extremely silly (I can say this in all honesty, because my fondness for both genres is tempered with a recognition of their respective pitfalls and weaknesses). By the way, I'm also a fan of the Italian sub-genre of progressive rock, so one could certainly think that DEVIL DOLL was made specifically for me.

Except that I don't really like the band. "The Sacrilege of Fatal Arms" is very deep into silly territory, despite the obvious talent and discipline of the musicians involved. Sure, it looks great on paper; spine-tingling orchestral rock that takes the GOBLIN experience to new symphonic heights. I should be loving every over-the-top macabre minute of it, and instead I'm grimacing at the childish vocals ("Man of 1000 Voices"? I hear three at most, and they're all laughable) and dated metal guitars, and getting distracted by attempting to name every classic horror soundtrack reference. Perhaps DEVIL DOLL should try harder to be scary themselves rather than settling for horror-by-association; what little fun could be had from sampled horror film name-dropping was milked to death by bands like WHITE ZOMBIE over a decade ago- and it didn't even work too well back then.

Whereas FANTOMAS, CRADLE OF FILTH and DIMMU BORGIR (and a host of lesser 'fate worse than Death Metal' bands) can tickle your creepybone like a cheap B- movie frightfest, DEVIL DOLL just doesn't hit hard enough to overcome the silliness. They certainly can't hold a candle to some of the truly unsettling music that can be found lurking in various avant-garde classical and experimental industrial albums; the moments of musical quality here are too few and far between to compare to the shudders of Penderecki, UNIVERS ZERO's "Heresie", or even BAUHAUS' "Mask". In 79 minues, you may find perhaps a minute or two of anything approaching effectively creepy and original music, most of which is due to the lush choir and string section. Neither authentically scary nor scary fun, "Sacrilege" reminds me of one of those cheap 'sounds of horror' albums that are purchased for the sole purpose of adding atmosphere to an office Halloween party. This is perfect music for people who think prog peaked with IQ and that horror is best represented by MARILYN MANSON and Anne Rice; i.e., safe pretend terror for people who are easily impressed by an over- the-top spectacle.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#1726)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A single 79 minute song may sound cool in principle, but it's pretty agonizing to listen through all the way and not at all easy to describe. How do I even begin? I originally planned this review to be one that dissects the various parts of the album. But I found myself repeating the same phrases over and over again, which surely isn't a great sign.

Basically, this single track has got loads of sound effects (is there an excerpt from a Mussolini rally?), some massive quasi-classical choir sections, prominent organ and strings, substantial doses of occasionally excellent prog-metal, spoken grim disturbed spoken word sections from vocalist Mr. Doctor, usually over some distracted piano playing. The underlying dark tone really calls to mind the worst excesses of King Diamond's Abigail/Them rock operas and after a while it became too much for me. Just to let you know, my favourite bit of the song is the piano and string-driven segment that starts off at around the 29:30 minute mark ... I'm not kidding, by the way.

The Sacrilege Of Fatal Arms plays out like a film that is too difficult to understand, and while it's cool to have checked it out once, it's not something you'd want to revisit too often. I can actually see this album being used as an instrument of torture. ... 27% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#36310)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
slack4justice
2 stars -2.5 stars

The music of Devil Doll is highly influenced by the macabre scene of old horror films, and hugely influenced by early horror soundtracks. And when that movie doesn't have soundtrack, Mr. Doctor, the band's mastermind, likes to put music to it. Anyways, plots and emotions of old horror movies are turned into thematic orchestral hard rock that DOES NOT WORK. Now, I'm a huge fan of horror, especially old horror, it's one of my hobbies. I know Mr. Doctor likes that scene as well (and wrote a bio on Bernard Herrmann), but whatever Mr. Doctor is trying to prove here, doesn't work on any level. The discipline of the musicians involved are kind of shot down by Mr. Doctor's weak arrangements, and badly accompanied by his "1,000" voices, in which all I hear is him trying to be operatic and absolutely demonically, disgustingly weird at the same time, and I can't take it seriously. There are very few moments in this album (which is one long track) where there's a sense of good emotion and melody that's even decently connected to the theme of what's trying to occur in Mr. Doctor's settings. The lyrics travel all over the place, most of them seeming like things Mr. Doctor wrote down on a napkin that he wanted to just say an end whenever he felt. Dated metal guitar and electronic drums overlap shoddy orchestral work that never successes to invoke any kind of emotion in you, which you think would happen due to the subject matter, but it just doesn't. I respect what's going on here, well, at least what's trying to happen, but what Mr. Doctor is dealing with, I KNOW he could make something very powerful and successful in his visions, but this is not it, at all.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#38909)
Posted Friday, July 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
Yanns
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Huh. I must say, before everything else, that this is an extremely, well, odd, album. It takes a very very ambitious person/group to create any piece of music that lasts 80 minutes, and in that, you cannot fault Mr. Doctor for having his own visions and not compromising them. I mean, his visions certainly aren't normal or conformist, and they are in fact extremely odd and weird, but it's who he is. No point faulting him for it.

This album, then, is naturally going to be out there. And it is. But, I actually found it very enjoyable. Yes, parts are strange, creepy, just plain "What?", but if you have an open mind (which you should already have, since you listen to prog), then there's a good chance you'll be able to give this album and this band it's due.

A lot of this album is not music at all. The whole opening "pope speech" and other sections thorughout the album are speeches and other random things. It contributes to the album, so you can't complain about them.

However, I must say, the instrumental sections in the song are absolutely awesome, and that can't be denied. Every time a new theme or riff comes in, it's purely incredible. These sections have a heavier edge to them for the most part. However, there are some softer sections, like those with the piano, and these are also extremely nice as well. The opening orchestra is fantastic, etc.

However, the singing is, well, not really singing. The voices used in the band are just odd and, in my opinion, don't work well. Again, though, it's his vision. Yet, I can't help but wondering what this would have been like if they had a normal vocalist. You know, someone who would actually sing the lyrics normally. This would have then easily been a 4 star album. But, it isn't, and the vocal sections bog down the album to a 3.

This is not to sasy that the vocal/not as good parts outweigh the instrumental/better parts. There are more high points then low points. But, it is in fact enough to lower the rating.

Also, there are plenty off good vocal sections (not nearly as many as the not so good ones, though). For instance, the section around minutes 47-48 with the piano is incredible. This is how the rest of the album should be, I think.

This can be a very enjoyable album if you let it. Honestly, I walked into this album thinking "Yeah, right. I'll wind up giving it a 1 or 2" Well, also remember that this would have been a 4 with normal singing. So, as I said, give it what it deserves. You might be very pleasantly surprised. 3/5 stars.

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Send comments to Yanns (BETA) | Report this review (#51035)
Posted Sunday, October 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Beautiful.

An artistic masterpiece. A stunning display of craftsmanship and artistic intelligence. I won't lie, you need to be a bit crazy to like this. Take the oddities of VDGG's Peter Hammill and multiply that 10 fold. First of all, despite this running 79 minutes, it isn't exactly a song. Sure, we have a recurring theme we hear pop up every now and then that gives us some sense of normalcy, but this is more an experience than an actual piece of music.

There's so many intricacies to this record, so many subtleties, so many strokes of genius that you may find your jaw dropping in mere awe. I don't find this record "scary" by any means. I embrace it. I let it all in. Let it fill up every conscious muscle in my body. The Hyde like vocals, the sharp leads, the military chants, the orchestral sweeps and the droning. It's immaculately constructed, and completely original (except maybe it's similarity to other Devil Doll works).

This surely will be a hit or miss album purely by its design. However, for those a bit on the weird side, you may find solace here with the works of Devil Doll, which are not scary, cold, and distant, but a breathtaking experience that few artists could capture. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#111258)
Posted Friday, February 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Bombastic, unstructured, but .enjoyable!

That is what I can tell about the music of Devil Doll's "The Sacrilege of Fatal Arms" looking at the entire music of this album which consumes one full length of a CD without any spare at all - or probably couple of seconds only. Looking at the musical approach this album is very bombastic as the band composed their music by taking into consideration of occupying the whole space of the CD!

As far as music concerns, this album is quite bombastic in its approach as it starts with a kind like a live ambient - which might be the case with this album - that reminds me to Rick Wakeman's "Journey to The Center of the Earth". The only different thing is the kind of music produced. While Rick Wakeman's based the composition on orchestra music while this album takes different approach: use orchestra as accentuation of the whole plot of messages the song tries to convey. Of course, the nice thing happens when the music blends all together all elements of rock / metal, guitar riffs and drums into symphonic music. The moods also different from one segment to another as it is indicated by the type of music: from mellow to grandiose orchestral arrangements and it abruptly stop to a segment with mellow style where only piano accompanies the vocal. On vocal, I admire the range of vocal style by Mr Doctor from start to end. In fact in certain segments he can have various (probably 3 or 4 types) vocal at certain part. The music also brings a church organ solo as well as violin / cello solo. One might consider enjoying this album is like experiencing with a journey of 79 minute plus music which its various endeavors.

The various moods and styles offered by this album are also combined with multi-structure that is very hard to follow. It's pointless to trace the album using melody line to connect the dots - from one segment to another. But if you don't care about this matter, you just need to enjoy every piece of music this album offers without any preconceived ideas on how the music should sound like. Of course there are parts with melodic or catchy tag line but it's very rare as you would get the subtleties by combining altogether into one cohesive music.

Overall, I would say that this is an excellent album by Devil Doll. The fact that as an album this release should integrate all segments of the only one song into cohesive whole, this is what the bad is not truly successful. I tend to give three stars instead of four. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#121038)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unlike Sacrilegium, this piece has taken the time (79 minutes worth) to develop into a far more refined and realised work. It remains their masterpiece in my eyes, that they managed to develop the theme into a much more passionate vision only reinforces that. As with all Devil Doll releases, it should not be entered into without preparation. Like having nearly 80 minutes to sit and immerse in the atmosphere that the composition weaves. Because of its length, it makes it a challenging listen, but despite the pretentious construction it pays off, due to its design it truly constitutes an epic and well focused piece, and a true highlight of obscure 1990s progressive music. It should be noted that it contains a short silence after 69 minutes hiding a hidden conclusive ending, but due to the short period of silence, the 5 stars stand.

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Send comments to Renkls (BETA) | Report this review (#531732)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW. My friend showed me this. I didn't think we'd get through it! But we had a 3 hour car trip and managed it twice! Well, what can I say...I've never heard anything this strange! My friend is an odd fellow, so I should have expected it. But a 79 minute song!? Insane, really! And those lyrics are just weird and surreal. I wouldn't want to listen often, but man, it's an experience alright! I've just joined here, but I thought I should find this insane piece of music and say just how strange and original it is. I've never heard anything quite like it.

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Send comments to Smegcake! (BETA) | Report this review (#531743)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink

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