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THE GIRL WHO WAS... DEATH

Devil Doll

Heavy Prog


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Devil Doll The Girl who Was... Death album cover
3.89 | 104 ratings | 20 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Girl who was....Death (38:48 + 26:20 of silence + 1:56)

Total Time: 66:06

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- MR. Doctor / man of 1000 voices, organ
- Edoardo Beato / piano
- Katia Giubbilei / 2nd violin
- Albert Dorigo / guitar
- Sasha Olenjuk / 1st violin
- Lucko Kodermac / drums
- Bor Zuljan / guitar
- Jani Hace / bass
- Davor Klaric / keyboards
WITH:
- Paolo Zizich / backing vocal
- Mojca Slobko / Harp
- THE DEVIL CHORUS conducted by Marian Bunic

Releases information

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The Return Of EveThe Return Of Eve
Lucky Bluebird Records 2007
Audio CD$29.98
$17.99 (used)
Queen of PainQueen of Pain
CD Baby Inc 2003
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$35.03 (used)
The Sacrilege Of Fatal ArmsThe Sacrilege Of Fatal Arms
Audio CD$45.00
$20.98 (used)
SacrilegiumSacrilegium
Import
Phantom Sound & Vision 2008
Audio CD$26.99
$19.99 (used)
DIES IRAE(ltd.paper-sleeve)(reissue)DIES IRAE(ltd.paper-sleeve)(reissue)
MARQUEE
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ELIOGABARUS(ltd.paper-sleeve)(reissue)ELIOGABARUS(ltd.paper-sleeve)(reissue)
MARQUEE
Audio CD$46.29
$56.64 (used)
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DEVIL DOLL The Girl who Was... Death ratings distribution


3.89
(104 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
36%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
40%
Good, but non-essential (15%)
15%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

DEVIL DOLL The Girl who Was... Death reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Slovenia's main claim to prog fame, Mr. Doctor's Devil Doll is certainly a controversial act, somehow hovering between the "Grand-Guignol" vocals, classical music and at times a good symphonic pomp rock. However the Doctor's vocals is not always the best medicine for the music's appreciation. In this album, the DD project goes as far as including choirs with Gregorian chants, which in itself is quite impressive, impeccably executed and well produced, but the overall utility of such artefacts is rather puzzling. Get back to the review of eliogabalus if you want to know more.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#1707) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars So here is where it all began, a progressive gothic soundtrack based on Patrick McGoodham's British TV Series "The Prisoner". Complete with the tortured lyrics and vocals of Mr. Doctor, DEVIL DOLL deliver a wonderful yet very dark epic album full of violins, guitars, drums guitar bass and keyboards. As I listen and re-listen to these DEVIL DOLL albums, I am very conscious of the evil overtones of this music but always find so much color still within these recordings. I would not suggest you listen to these recordings with all you windows in your house wide open as the psychiatrists will be knocking at your door! I would call Mr. Doctor a modern day classical composer who uses music as his surrealistic canvass on which we paints his obsession with theatrical horror sceneries with dabs of vaudeville thrown into the mix. Really hard to peg down this music really but I would categorize as gothic prog. A very evil listen yet very wonderful album... may take others a few listens before they are hooked and always remember to listen with windows closed.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#1708) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004

Review by 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.

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Send comments to semismart (BETA) | Report this review (#94018) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Review by T.Rox
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Devil Doll - Masters of the dark arts!

"The Girl Who Was . Death" is a wonderfully theatrical piece of dark, often foreboding music inspired by the 1960's TV series "The Prisoner" (starring Patrick McGoohan).

Mr. Doctor's unusual vocals, backed by the rest of Devil Doll, with 1st & 2nd violins and the Devil Chorus choir makes for really interesting listening by a group with a unique sound.

I thoroughly enjoyed TGWWD from the first spin, finding it spoiled only by the ridiculous 20- odd minutes silence between the main song and the remake of "The Prisoner" theme song to give the "single song" a length of 66 minutes and six seconds . ho-hum, would that be "666"? . just a bit too much of a gimmick for my liking.

Without the huge silence (which I have achieved with the help of some recording software) 4.5 stars . with the silence as the CD came I can give it only 4 stars!

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Send comments to T.Rox (BETA) | Report this review (#94390) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 13, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars An epic beginning.

One of my favorite debut albums (although its technically not the debut, if there really is that 1 unreleased album copy) that shines with a grace that some of the other DD albums didn't achieve. Many normal bands would be jealous of the hooks these guys have, and other bands certainly lack the creativity and peculiarities of a band like Devil Doll.

The opening 10-12 minutes of this album/song is absolutely amazing, stunning, excellent band work. It fully opens the doors for the concept to be implemented. Not as uncanny as the Sacrilegium project, but nonetheless very fulfilling, especially those privy to excellent violin work. Mr. Doctor's vocals are really love or hate, there's little in between on this guys style. I find him to make for an excellent storyteller and is the driving force of the music, the rest merely being players.

Not as emotionally complex, compelling, or unique as some of their other efforts, but no less quite excellent. Fans of darker music will surely be rewarded by this find, and if you happen to run into an actual copy of the album, you'll find it worth quite much. An enriching and rewarding experience.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#114142) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 04, 2007

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The first official Mr. Doctor's release, made after the still unreleased The Mark of the Beast... And his first absolute masterpiece!

In The Girl Who Was... Death you will find all the elements that make the Devil Doll's music so special... The true original way of singing (or speaking) Mr. Doctor has, the marvellous orchestral arrangements (the strings are great, and so are the Eduardo Beato pianos...), the classical music influences, and some heavy riffs mixed with this odd and obscure feeling this music has.

This album (or song...) is structured like a kind of symphony, with a main theme around the whole song is constructed... This is just what a good progressive song should be! But the wealth of the music included here is beyond the frontiers of progressive... Or course you can give this music the name of progressive... But also classical, dark, ambiental, cinematic, gothic... Devil Doll is just the representation of the brilliant and rich mind Mr. Doctor's mind, and it's really difficult to describe it in just a few words.

The style of The Girl Who Was... Death is the typical from Devil Doll. Maybe a bit heavier than the rest of the discography, and less ambiental and not so dramatic like the following Eliogabalus, but with more quality in my opinion. I dare to say that after the incredible Dies Irae, this is the best Devil Doll's efforth... And of course, the sound and the production of the album are brilliant, like every Mr. Doctor's work. Every instrument (and there are manhy of them...) sounds cristal clear, not only the strings and keyboads, but also the strong drums and powerful bass. This album could have been made yesterday, because its timeless style and its marvellous production, wich still sounds really actual, although this album was made almost 20 years ago.

Conclusion: the first Devil Doll's masterpiece... If you are interested in hearing something really different, beyond the frontiers of progressive rock then you should try this album. And if you like the dark sounds, with a lot of classical, old movies and heavy influences, then Devil Doll is your group, and The Girl Who Was... Death is a perfect album to start with them. An unique, genuine and unrepeatable band!

My rating: *****

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#170153) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars One of the most occult bands in the history of progressive rock.DEVIL DOLL's project is dominated by the figure of Mr.Doctor,the main man behind this band.What we meet in their first album is somekind of symphonic rock orchestra with lots of gothic elements and weird vocals...Mr.Doctor doesn't exactly sings,I could say that he whispers,he pronounces words,sometimes he even make strange noises with his voice...Really dark situation...As for the music,''The girl who was...death'' delivers excellent symphonic rock with great violin themes and majestic keyboards,a sound similar to the SAVIOUR MACHINE works...I'm not blown away by this album but this a very unique progressive/dark/occult rock experience and if you have the chance check this out...if you are not afraid of the dark!

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#170249) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Girl who Was... Death is the debut album from Italian/ Slovenian progressive horror rock act Devil Doll. The album was released in 1989. Devil Doll is different from anything I´ve ever heard before even though their music consists of many known elements from various genres.

I hear both goth rock, soundtrack horror movie themes, Classical music, a bit of heavy rock and also Cabaret style pieces. The Girl who was....Death is one long song. The time in my display says 66:06 minutes but there are really only 38:48 minutes of music before about 25 minutes of silence and then about 2:00 minutes of sound again. A very annoying and deceiving way of making an album IMO.

The music is very well composed and I´m entertained all the way through the album. The vocals from Mr. Doctor ( What a lame name) have the right lisping accented Dracula quality to match the lyrical horror theme. I´m actually reminded of Filthy Danny from Cradle of Filth more than once because of the theatrical vocal style ( Mr. Doctor don´t use extreme metal vocals though).

The musicianship is excellent and in addition to guitar, bass, drums and keyboard/ piano we´ re also treated with both violins and harp, and a big choir. This is truly epic music.

The production is good even though the most heavy parts are not that well sounding in my ears.

The music on The Girl who was....Death is truly progressive and epic music, but not really to my taste and I can´t give the album more than 3 stars. I´m a big horror movie fan, but the music just doesn´t create the kind of images in my mind that I think it´s supposed to. This is a good album though and I strongly suggest that you take a listen to see if you´ll be captured by the unique sound of Devil Doll. They certainly deserve the attention.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#186807) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 24, 2008

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well unfortunately all the albums by Devil Doll, including the present re-issued debut album, are controversial works!! Don't get me wrong, my evaluation is often high, as for the their creativity, in fact the compositions of this strange ensemble are quite far away from the common places. Nevertheless- in the same time- you can't find a true progression in their music, sometimes formulaic and with the strange support of a skillful vocalist, who usually exaggerates his performance: He seems almost "clownesque" in his vocalism and it could disturb me a bit, at the end!! So in some circumstances you would be convinced to change the evaluation and let it be lower...but coming back to "The girl who...", this work is close to "Sacrilegium" and quite diverse in comparison for instance to "Eliogabalus", talking about the style. Anyway their sound is always very personal and original too and the atmosphere is always scary, as well as disturbing (extremely gothic in its essence). Moreover I don't like a few (fortunately) music passages, reminding me of some Gothic Metal (cause I don't like the heavy metal music-genre so much, in general...), but it's a minor defect after all for this Italian/Slovenian band, whose ideas are often good, even though the output of their albums sometimes is uneven...as usual make your personal choice, but if you don't like the horror soundtracks probably you will erase one star from the final score!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#294615) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Devil Doll's musical style can be described as a blend of symphonic prog, goth rock, and horror film soundtracks. Though some of Mr Doctor's more pretentious stunts - such as only recording one copy of the band's debut album, The Mark of the Beast, and keeping it for himself, or producing 500 copies of the first run of this album and then burning 350 of them at a concert - might come off as ridiculous attention-seeking, there's no denying that at least on The Girl Who Was Death the man has concocted an intriguing blend of styles which don't obviously go together. With a concept based around celebrating the classic TV series The Prisoner and a typically eccentric vocal performance by Mr Doctor himself, the album is certainly an acquired taste, but one worth acquiring.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#591042) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2011

Review by VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I will admit that I was drawn to Devil Doll's music more because of the mystique surrounding the band than anything else. I read stories of how the band's frontman was a near-enigma who was only known as "Mr. Doctor;" how the group printed only 1 copy of their first album and then kept it; how the majority of this very album's first edition was burned onstage during a show.

For as weird as the stories are, I was expecting something really strange; perhaps RIO in the vein of Univers Zero or something of that ilk. I guess that just goes to show that you can't judge the sound of a band by its behavior, though, because in comparison to the weirdness of the band their music is almost shockingly normal. Sure, the vocal delivery is certainly one of the more bizarre I've ever heard (Mr. Doctor goes from rasping like he can't breathe to moaning like a disturbed spirit), but the music itself is very accessible, with epic gothic symphonic parts played against crossover prog-metal parts with a touch of folk. There's a lot of interesting music here, but I do feel at times that Mr. Doctor's reach exceeds his grasp.

A haunting, minimalist melody accompanied by some wordless chanting make up the first few minutes of this single track album, with the chanting becoming more strident as the song progresses. Multiple voices coalesce into an epic, gothic sounding collage of sound before the track goes into a more uptempo instrumental section that seems to take audible cues from genres as diverse as symphonic prog and industrial music. This section seems to serve as a kind of prologue, for at about the 5 minute mark it all abruptly drops out, leaving in its place more minimalist instrumentals and for the first time, lyrical vocals from enigmatic frontman Mr. Doctor. These vocals range from growling rasps to guttural shrieks, and in my opinion they definitely fit the off-kilter, almost spooky accompanying music. Another uptempo section follows this, heavily laden with string parts that pair with distorted guitars to create some kind of bastardized fusion between folk and symphonic metal.

For awhile, the track alternates in a similar pattern; with sparse vocal sections juxtaposed against bombastic, symphonic instrumental parts. It's an effective technique even if it does break up the flow of the song a little bit, but I must comment that after several listens the highly segmented pattern does get a tad tedious, as it isn't really deviated from for about 15 minutes. Fortunately, after that, the song does start playing with some new styles, putting robotically distorted vocals against doomily riffing guitar.

The following section again lets the strings take the lead, placing gorgeous melodies and frenetic classical jams against excellently supporting guitar riffs to create a kind of symphonic doom metal. Never content to stay too long in the same place, however, there's another uptempo instrumental breakdown that sounds like nothing so much as a video game soundtrack, followed by another vocal section that sounds like some sort of dark carnival music. In my opinion, this section makes the best use of Mr. Doctor's vocals on the entire album, with the frontman rasping and growling his way through the performance with all the vigor of a carnival barker.

The instrumental section that follows is one of the most melodic on the album, with an almost shocking (given that the album came out in 1989) resemblance to Phideaux. Another hyper- minimal, this time almost dark-ambient section follows, itself succeeded by a dramatic gothic piano part over which Mr. Doctor wails and moans his way through more cryptically dark lyrics.

A series of instrumentals follows, and while they're by turns beautiful, bombastic, and spookily haunting, the development of the track as a whole is a bit strange. The various instrumentals are almost "too epic" in that quite a few of them sound like they could have been the finale for the entire piece. The result is that until there's a thematic reprise at about the 35 minute mark the album sort of just feels like a bunch of different pieces that are all very cool in their own right but don't really develop the flow of the album as a whole. That isn't inherently a problem if you choose to view the album as a collection instead of a single track, but I always find my mind wanders a bit during the interim and when the track proper ends it always comes as a bit of a surprise.

Another note is that though the track is listed as 66 minutes the album proper ends at around 40. There's almost 25 minutes of silence and then there's a very short little piece that makes use of some vocal clips from the episode of The Prisoner from which the album takes its name. It's not a bad little section but, to be honest, I usually find myself turning the album off after the track proper ends. The postlude just doesn't add that much to the album.

All in all, then, "The Girl Who Was... Death" is an interesting album, if not quite a masterpiece. As a collection of distinct pieces of music, it works very well, but as a single epic track, well, I've heard better examples. Absolutely worth a listen (or, better yet, several) but this is, in my opinion, a good album but not a great one.

3/5

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Send comments to VanVanVan (BETA) | Report this review (#807860) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 20, 2012

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'The Girl Who Was... Death' - Devil Doll (91/100)

There is so much mystery surrounding Devil Doll that speculative essays could be written on this music's context alone. For how little we really know about 'Mr. Doctor' and his enigmatic history, there are so many clues in his work, however possibly misleading, that give some impression as to the man's character. I first became fascinated in the work of Devil Doll some years ago, and since then, appreciation nor wonder have not abated. The extent to which Devil Doll have maintained this enigma would almost have me wondering whether the whole thing was really an elaborate hoax, but The Girl Who Was... Death stands as the evident work of some manner of genius. Although Mr. Doctor wears his influences (both musical and otherwise) most often on his sleeve, the result is something unique and inimitable. Regardless of your previous experience with goth or progressive rock, metal or even neoclassical music, Devil Doll makes for a stark and challenging experience; prospective listeners have been warned, but those that dare venture forth may find themselves captivated forever.

Considering the established style Devil Doll espouse here, it's easy to forget that The Girl Who Was... Death is the defacto debut from a then-relatively new band; a 1987 LP The Mark of the Beast apparently existed before this but, in true Devil Doll fashion, its mere existence has been under dispute. It's rare to hear of a band debuting with a strong sense of identity, and rarer still to hear a band with an identity all to themselves. In the case of Devil Doll, the odd mesh of Romantic minimalism, gothic post-punk and off-kilter sprechgesang sounds alien upon first listen, but I posit that Devil Doll as a stylistic construct would appear completely natural in the light of his influences. Many of these influences are no doubt as esoteric as Mr. Doctor himself; others are more apparent. Among the latter, classic horror cinema is at the top of the list. The album cover features actress Elsa Lancaster (in The Bride of Frakenstein) in the final moments before her character's death. Long stretches of minimalism led by the piano and eerie strings lend a sense to the archetypal silent horror film score, not to mention the expressionistic lyrics, which divulge a sense of being stalked and chased by an unknowable entity. The excellent TV series The Prisoner (itself enjoying an enigmatic context of no small obsession) is also evoked, through the title, lyrical excerpts (tying into the album's thematic sense of solipsism and the lonesome individual), not to mention a rock rendition of The Prisoner's theme, hidden at the end. Though their aesthetics and chosen mediums are different, I'm sure The Prisoner's creator Patrick McGoohan would at least look upon Mr. Doctor's work with a sense of intellectual respect, if not an appreciation for the music itself.

While the work of an auteur may be seen as a compilation of his influences, it's the resulting product and identity that truly matters, and in the case of The Girl Who Was... Death, the effect is overwhelming. While the style of Devil Doll would be predominantly neoclassical through their five album stretch, The Girl Who Was... Death opens the saga with a more clearcut balance between string orchestrations and rock. The two halves are also more segregated here than they would be on later bouts. Set as a single forty minute composition (the rest of the stated album length is silence, in keeping with the hidden Prisoner theme at the end) the suite jumps between periods of slow, minimal piano, theatrical metal and avant-garde orchestrations. Although the long-drawn piano passages are atmospheric, they're remarkably understated in contrast with the excitement of the heavier parts. The album takes almost ten minutes to 'get going' and shed light on its rockier elements, so listeners with an impatient ear will likely find themselves scratching their heads. Among the musical highlights are a gypsy fiddle solo, a beautiful, longing violin build, carnivalesque fanfare halfway into the work, and a jarring instrumental section towards the latter half, complete with disjointed piano and chilling violin screech, a la Psycho. While the long periods of relative inactivity in the music give the exciting moments greater impact, the effect of its trying minimalism begin to wear off by the time the album is close to finishing. A masterpiece it may be, but The Girl Who Was... Death still offered room for its successors to improve. If Devil Doll's jaw-dropping Dies Irae from 1996 is any indication, at some point those small spaces were filled in.

No discussion of Devil Doll's music would be complete without a regard for Mr. Doctor's vocals themselves. I have saved talking about them for the end of the review precisely because they are the most challenging, puzzling, and altogether compelling part of Devil Doll's music. I am not sure who gave him the nickname 'The Man of a Thousand Voices', but the name is given weight through his performance here. Devil Doll's frightening frontman is a vocalist in the truest sense of the world; his delivery here is less singing by the traditional definition, and moreso incredibly intricate and theatrical speech, with the occasional melodic (or, I daresay, operatic) ingredient. Mr. Doctor's sprechgesang, to put it simply, is weird and scary, and evocative to an almost overwhelming level. It's the sort of strange voice I can only imagine spoken by Peter Lorre, had he actually become a creature from a German Expressionist horror film. For a musical comparison, think Current 93's David Tibet, if he had been somehow forced to stay awake for a month (possibly by the Lorremonster?) watching nothing but Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It's jarring and bound to be a complete turn off to some listeners, but for those who know, it works.

The Girl Who Was... Death is frightening fare, regardless which genre you try to (hopelessly) place it in. Even so, there is a deliberate method to this so-called insanity; behind the maddening screams and gothic bombast, there is the truly uncompromising mark of an auteur here, who let nothing hinder his vision. Particularly in a rock or metal-related work, that sort of purity is hard to come by. The Girl Who Was... Death is one of the best and weirdest albums I have ever heard, and even then it's not the best thing Devil Doll would create. What then can I call it, save for the work of a bona fide genius?

Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#1280517) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 20, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars This masterpiece is the first disc of the enigmatic and elusive Devil Doll, an Italic- Slavic group, led by the mysterious Mr. Doctor. Devil Doll is the name of the movie " The Devil Doll" by Todd Browning, released in 1936, and are one of the most unknown band of modern music, considering that t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1085200) | Posted by agla | Tuesday, December 03, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My first proper introduction to Devil Doll, this was definitely disconcerting on first approach. Why? probably the length as well as the lyrics, which I had not prepared myself for. But now that it has been about a year since I've come across this band, I now can appriechiate their music much ... (read more)

Report this review (#531726) | Posted by Renkls | Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow, what a straaaaange band. It seems to be a cross between metal, horror movie soundtrack, and goth rock. Well, the music is very well made, and pretty much always succeeds in conjuring the feelings it aims to- drama, fear, suspense, anger, and all that good stuff. And don't forget Mr. Doctor's ... (read more)

Report this review (#272597) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Wednesday, March 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I just lost a couple nights of sleep.... DEVIL DOLL is the scariest band I have ever listened to, ever. And also, probably the most unique band also. DEVIL DOLL is a band that blends classical, metal, opera, art rock, and goth to name a few. Their bandleader, a mysterious man by the name of Mr ... (read more)

Report this review (#220615) | Posted by ZeroDreamPlasMaximus | Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an absolutely amazing album, but it isn't an easy listen. To fully enjoy it, you have to sit down, close your eyes and become absorbed in the music and atmosphere. The mood Devil Doll creates with this album is much more grotesque and haunting than I thought would be possible to be produce ... (read more)

Report this review (#133728) | Posted by BobFrank | Sunday, August 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This first album of Devil Doll is one of the keys to understand the subsequent discography of this band leaded by the mysteriuos Mr. Doctor. Wandering through different styles such as gothic, metal, prog, classical amongst others, "The Girl..." is a very interesting piece to hear alone in the ... (read more)

Report this review (#74180) | Posted by progadicto | Wednesday, April 05, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I consider that this it is not only a disc, mas am a masterpiece, wake up a complex range of feelings well, from the mas inoffensive, to the mas lewd and delirious. The creations of mr. Doctor are addictive, and this titled disc "the girl who was death" he is really supreme. This is a band "única", ... (read more)

Report this review (#1710) | Posted by | Wednesday, October 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Touching the border of madness, setting up a gloomy scenery, The Girl who was...Death is unlike anything you have ever heard. If you truly like music forget the formulas, forget the types, forget mainstream. This is the thing. The year now is 2004 yet this album remains original, up to date as its t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1709) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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