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Diamanda Galás


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Diamanda Galás You Must Be Certain of the Devil album cover
3.39 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Swing Low Sweet Chariot (2:45)
2. Double-Barrel Prayer (5:05)
3. Let's Not Chat About Despair (4:58)
4. Brids of Death (5:20)
5. You Must Be Certain of the Devil (4:57)
6. Let My People Go (3:21)
7. Malediction (4:19)
8. The Lord Is My Shepherd (1:32)

Total Time 32:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Diamanda Galas / vocals, Hammond organ, piano, synthesizers, keyboard bass

- Charlie Terstappen / drums
- Kurt Schmidt / guitar
- Peter Zimmerman / percussion

Releases information

LP/CD Mute STUMM 46 (1988 UK)
LP/CD Mute/Restless 71403 (1988 USA)
LP out of print
1st pressing of the UK LP edition contained special artwork on inner sleeve.
Also available on 61822 "Masque of the Red Death".

Thanks to avestin for the addition
and to Bj-1 for the last updates
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DIAMANDA GALÁS You Must Be Certain of the Devil ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (18%)

DIAMANDA GALÁS You Must Be Certain of the Devil reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the first Diamanda's releases on major label (Mute Records)."You Must Be Certain Of The Devil" is the third part of the trilogy "Masque Of The Red Death". The first part is "The Divine Punishment" , the second part is "Saint Of The Pit". Minimalistic electro-acoustic trio is on support of her voice ( which as usual is main instrument) and some keyboards.

They say avant-garde music is not for everyone taste. I agreed, but can add that Diamanda's music is not for everyone avant fan taste. But if you want to be shocked and hypnotized, just try this.

Album's opener is "Swing Low Sweet Chariot " - astonishing voice-only avant- gospel ."Double-Barrel Prayer" is nervous electronic/punk pulsation with some meditative spoken voices (and usual Diamanda's screaming vocals, for sure) and guest guitarist Kurt Schmidt.

"Let's Not Chat About Despair" is screaming-spoken word composition with some keyboards and strings samples. Minimalism in full form, including acoustic piano crazy blues."Birds Of Death" is album's central ( and longest) song. Electric guitar, unusual drumming and strong, almost attacking Diamanda's vocals. Mystic cult's atmosphere.

"You Must Be Certain Of The Devil " is funny anti-gospel, once again."Let My People Go " - acoustic nervous piano and voice ballade! "Malediction " is based on cold electronics rhythm, drumming, acoustic piano and half-spoken/half screaming vocals. Last album's song ( "The Lord Is My Shepherd ") is short (one and half minutes only) and contains whispering lyrics only.

If you're familiar with other Galas' works, this album is another interesting experience for you. For newcomers it is better to start with more accessible works.

Review by Bonnek
3 stars You Must Be Certain of the Devil is the third instalment of Galas' Masque of the Red Death trilogy. But the music couldn't be more different then each of the preceding chapters.

While still dominated by Galas' vocal gymnastics, much of the terrifying intensity has been sacrificed for more regular singing and an accessible sound. After the piercing opening, Double-Barrel Prayer is an upbeat and catchy piece. A continuous avant-rock loop sets a grooving pace. Galas' operatic vocal is very dominant but somehow it's become more streamlined and polished, with more focus on bluesy hooks then on the chilling horror ambience of old.

Another aspect that makes the music more easy to digest is the choice for English vocals. Certainly the combination of English and the strong influences from new wave as well as from soul, blues and gospel might make it a good entry point into her music. At least it did for me. Double-Barrel Prayer, Birds of Death and Malediction might appeal to fans of Nick Cave, Coil, Einstürzende Neubauten and other good company from the 80's. By contrast, Let's Not Chat About Despair, You Must Be Certain and Let My People Go present a wicked take on classic R&B.

It's not Galas' most consistent or impressive album, but it's an original item in her catalogue and a recommended entry point for the uninitiated. 3.5 stars.

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