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DIAMANDA GALAS

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Diamanda Galas biography
Diamanda Galás was born in 1955 to Greek orthodox parents and was raised in San Diego, California. Her musical path began at an early age with studies of jazz and classical music. Her father, a professor of Greek mythology, who used to play the bass and the trombone in a jazz band was the one to introduce her to the world of music - jazz, Greek and Arab music - and they played music together; she on the piano without singing as her father objected strongly to the idea of a woman singing. She did however study opera later on. At a young age she completes a Master in Music and becomes at the age of 14 a member of the Symphonic Orchestra of San Diego. At the University of California she studies what would become another important aspect of her creation, Performing Arts. She then veered from classical music towards free-jazz and starts playing on keyboards rather than on a piano. Between 1975 and 1977 she started to sing with friends in the streets, and then continued to sing in asylums and mental wards and it is then that she began thinking about developing her vocal abilities. She will however, not persist in the academy in which she felt she did not have the freedom to express herself and develop the way she wanted. She then traveled to Europe, where she made her first time appearance at the Festival d'Avignon in France in 1979. This was the lead role in the opera, Un Jour Comme un Autre, by composer Vinko Globokar, which he based on the documentation of the arrest and torture of a Turkish woman for alleged treason Amnesty International.
Another influence for her was her brother Philip Dimitri Galas (1954-1986), who "introduced her to cabaret music, and to writings by Nietzsche, Antonin Artaud, Gerard Nerval Artaud, Gore Vidal, Baudelaire, and Lautreamont", which would influence her style of writing music and performing shows. Hot only because of her brother's disease (it started before his diagnosis), she becomes an activist for AIDS patients and their outcast status in society. This would eventually lead her to the Masque Of The Red Death trilogy and Mass Plague. We will return to this piece of art later. AIDS however, is not her only interest, though this people affected manifest some of her main interests - alienation, loneliness, isolation, and repression by society, establishment and government. Those themes recur in her work.

In 1982 she releases Litanies of Satan her first work in collaboration with Dave Hunt. Dave has done an adaptation...
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Plague MassPlague Mass
Mute (Artist Intelligence) 1991
Audio CD$7.53
$3.10 (used)
Malediction & PrayerMalediction & Prayer
Asphodel Records 1998
Audio CD$23.04
$0.49 (used)
SingerSinger
Mute (Artist Intelligence) 1992
Audio CD$7.98
$2.98 (used)
Litanies of SatanLitanies of Satan
Red Distribution, in 1992
Audio CD$35.00 (used)
Sporting LifeSporting Life
Mute (Artist Intelligence) 1994
Audio CD$5.98
$3.30 (used)
Masque of the Red DeathMasque of the Red Death
Mute U.S. 1993
Audio CD$195.95
$18.00 (used)
La Serpenta CantaLa Serpenta Canta
Mute (Artist Intelligence) 2004
Audio CD$10.16
$3.95 (used)
Guilty Guilty GuiltyGuilty Guilty Guilty
Mute/Caroline 2008
Audio CD$15.00
$4.79 (used)
Vena CavaVena Cava
Mute 1993
Audio CD$7.12
$2.48 (used)
Saint of the Pit / DivineSaint of the Pit / Divine
Import
EMI Europe Generic 2002
Audio CD$20.24 (used)
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DIAMANDA GALAS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DIAMANDA GALAS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 16 ratings
The Litanies Of Satan
1982
4.04 | 8 ratings
Diamanda Galás (also known as: Panoptikon)
1984
4.00 | 14 ratings
The Divine Punishment
1986
4.10 | 10 ratings
Saint Of The Pit
1986
3.46 | 8 ratings
You Must Be Certain Of The Devil
1988
4.33 | 3 ratings
Vena Cava
1993
4.10 | 11 ratings
Diamanda Galás with John Paul Jones: The Sporting Life
1994
3.00 | 2 ratings
Schrei X
1996
3.00 | 4 ratings
Defixiones, Will And Testament
2003

DIAMANDA GALAS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.93 | 6 ratings
Plague Mass
1991
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Singer
1992
4.91 | 7 ratings
Malediction And Prayer
1998
3.50 | 2 ratings
La Serpenta Canta
2003
3.50 | 4 ratings
Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!
2008

DIAMANDA GALAS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Judgement Day
1993

DIAMANDA GALAS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 4 ratings
Masque Of The Red Death
1988

DIAMANDA GALAS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Untitled
1982

DIAMANDA GALAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Diamanda Galás (also known as: Panoptikon) by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.04 | 8 ratings

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Diamanda Galás (also known as: Panoptikon)
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I love October, don't you? It makes me fish out all my old scary albums. Here's one that rears its ugly head from the depths of Hades. One fit for those looking for something truly scary this Halloween.

To the unwary 'Panoptikon' will sound like it was created in an experimental weapons laboratory in Los Alamos. Designed solely to torment and destroy those of sound mind.

Here Diamanda Galas pushes her vocal acrobatics to the extreme. So forced and powerful, they sound like the high end range of a violin just before the strings burst. They swoop and swirl from high pitched caterwauling to growling rabid dog, amongst a sea of strange electronic noise. This is followed by what sounds like the demonic possession of human beings. Quite literally like 'Regan' from the 'Exorcist'. Track upon unpleasant track of tormented souls trying to avoid the clutches of Satan himself. The swirling slabs of noise and Gargoyle voices speaking in tongues should be enough to have you pulling the bed sheets up over your face like Stan Laurel when that Bat was flying around his face in a haunted mansion.

This is utterly unique and really disturbing. The operatic gutteral wailings and shrieking will shatter your valuable chandeliers and all glass objects within screaming distance. So beware folks.

This self titled 1984 release has sadly never seen the light of day on CD. Such a pity then that we're left with this super recording only available in its original 1984 old scratchy vinyl format. It actually adds to the appeal. It sounds like a Satanic mass played by a coven of witches in the 1850's.

Apparently she found the production values of too low quality to merit a CD release. This is very surprising and I guess there must be other reasons for this decision. There's no one more annoyed by crumby recording technology than me. Sitting with my vinyl copy I have to say that there's nothing amiss at all. At some moments there's two and at sometimes three Diamanda Galas's screeching and panning in unison in extreme stereo - battering my poor ears to oblivion and leaving my hair standing on end.

Great stuff - but don't play it in front of your relatives or they'll send for the men in their funny white suits who'll be 'coming to take you away ha, ha'

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 The Litanies Of Satan by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.38 | 16 ratings

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The Litanies Of Satan
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Zeuhl Glikowski II

1 stars WHAT????!!!

This is real? I can't understand what is this exactly, i can't even describe how I feel about this... I'd never listen something like this before, it's hard to believe that this is considered music. I'm not saying this is bad, but in my opinion there is anything musical on this album... in some moments I wish to stop it and listen to The Monkees just to calm myself down.

This is very... how can I describe it in a word?... Creepy, I think the right adjective it's creepy, scarry, or... maybe...

Fortunately it's over, i'll never listen to this woman again in my whole life...

I do NOT recommend this album, specially if you suffer of nervous crisis, by the way, if you like creepy, dark and scary stuff, enjoy it...

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 The Divine Punishment by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.00 | 14 ratings

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The Divine Punishment
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Look what I just found lurking away in a dark corner of the Archives...

A beautiful but terrifying album. Diabolical - but in a good way. Inexplicable ululations from the startlingly scary, but strangely sexy Diamanda Galas are at the forefront throughout. This is ritualistic dark ambience from someone who's clearly watched 'Rosemary's Baby' too many times. With a vocal range that defies description, next to Lisa Gerard of 'Dead Can Dance' - she's probably the strongest vocal performer I've heard from any female singer.

This is the best and most accomplished of her albums. I once saw Diamanda Galas on 'The Tube' on Channel 4 in 1986 and will never forget the look on my parent's faces, as she wailed through a double microphone plastered in heavy make up and spider's webs with her jet black hair 18 inches high, getting louder and louder with those unearthly frequencies until our aquarium nearly shattered.

It would just be a cruel joke to call this a Satanic Mess - it's far more than that. Guaranteed - you'll never hear anything like this anywhere else.

It's actually an album about 'Aids', released in 1986 - when that affliction was just becoming public knowledge with the death of Rock Hudson.

This will probably be torture for most people to listen to, but it has that something or other that is strangely compelling. The only comparison I can think of is 'Jacula' - minus the vocals. So for goodness sake, don't play this when friends come round!

One way or the other I'm getting my bible out tonight, like a good Christian, just in case I have a visit from the Spanish Inquisition armed with crucifixes at 3.00am.

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 You Must Be Certain Of The Devil by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.46 | 8 ratings

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You Must Be Certain Of The Devil
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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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 Saint Of The Pit by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.10 | 10 ratings

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Saint Of The Pit
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Saint of the Pit is the second chapter of Galas' Masque of the Red Death trilogy. It is the most consistent and recommendable album in the series, incorporating more melodic compositions while still maintaining the avant-garde experimentations and terrifying ambience.

It opens with an instrumental modern classical masterpiece. With organs and electronic instruments Galas creates an uncanny atmosphere on La Trezičme Revient, it's a storm of slowly weaving dissonant patterns, very abstract and experimental. Exeloume has only Galas' voice and a few electronic percussive effects. It comes close to an Arabian lament, but the expression achieved is chilling, the passion and pain conveyed by Galas' voice is unmatched. Heauton Timoroumenos is more experimental and possibly even more desolate.

The lyrics on the album are mainly taken from the French romantic poets (Baudelaire, De Nerval and Corbičre). On Artémis, Galas recites one of those poems over a developing piano, looping around the lower and darker scales of the instrument, not dissimilar from Mussorgsky's most solemn piano works. Also Cris D'Aveugle takes the piano into the scariest corners of the human mind. It is the most impressive and confrontational piece on the album, featuring not only melodic features but also Galas' spookiest ork and troll inflections.

Galas' art is as much about performance as it is about music. Therefore, the music alone, impressive as it may be, will never be a complete experience. This is a lady that you need to see and hear in a live setting, preferably in the hall of a medieval castle notorious for its dungeons and torture rooms. For example in The Gravensteen in Ghent. Warmly recommended!

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 The Divine Punishment by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.00 | 14 ratings

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The Divine Punishment
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars For those in need of an introduction, Diamanda Galás is a NY avant-garde / performance artist from Greek origins. Next to a battery of electronic sounds and piano, her most powerful instrument is her astounding voice, covering an impressive range of 3.5 octaves. She goes whispering, shrieking, singing and terrorizing through song material that ranges between modernist piano compositions and abstract experimental horror soundscapes.

The Devine Punishment is the first instalment of Galas' Masque of the Red Death trilogy around the AIDS epidemic and all the agonies and drama that it brought forth. It is the most experimental and eccentric album in the series, containing almost no repeated melodic patterns and creating a horrifying atonal experience with droning rhythms, dissonant organ effects and outrageous vocals. Galas is a classically trained artist but do not expect operatic stunts, instead she performs everything from screaming hellhounds to falsettos, cracks, whispers, growls and obsessed outrage.

Each of the 2 long pieces can be divided into a number of shorter sections of which the very last one Sono L'Antichristo has to be heard to be believed. It's a demonic prayer that eradicates all other music that wants to give shape to evil. Galas impersonates AIDS itself and presents it as a curse of the antichrist. In 12 lines, repeated in a hysterical craze, she presents herself as la prova, la sanzione, la pestilenza and 9 other Italian nouns for everything that is threatening and abominable.

Needless to say the lyrical content is essential to understand and appreciate this piece. It is as much a performance as it is music. Actually, this will not pass for music to many people. But the agonizing power of it is unmatched and has to be heard. The next chapter in the series might be a better place to start though.

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 Masque Of The Red Death by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1988
4.09 | 4 ratings

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Masque Of The Red Death
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Diamanda Galás is a NY avant-garde / performance artist from Greek origins. Next to a battery of electronic sounds and piano, her main and most powerful instrument is her unique and astounding voice, covering an impressive range of 3.5 octaves. She goes whispering, shrieking, singing and terrorizing through song material that ranges between modernist piano compositions and abstract experimental horror soundscapes.

This boxset is a compilation of three earlier albums that made up her Masque of the Red Death trilogy around the AIDS epidemic and all the agonies and drama that it brought forth. At that time, AIDS was still very much hushed by the government and Galás wanted to provoke people into a consciousness around the topic. Galás's brother became infected with HIV and died during the recording of the trilogy. It must have injected the music with an added personal angle.

The three albums are very different in approach. The Devine Punishment is the most experimental, Saint of the Pit is more digestible due to its shorter separate compositions and grown melodicism. You Must be Certain of the Devil is the most accessible for rock fans, at least, if the avant-punk of bands like Foetes, Coil, Einstürzende Neubauten and Laibach sounds welcoming to you. Eventually, once you have warmed up to her spine-chilling witch vocals, you will want all of these albums.

This item might be hard to find as a box-set, but the separate albums are readily available and probably also the cheaper option. Depending on your taste, you better start with the album that you might connect with most easily. I'll try to cover which album that might be for you with separate reviews of each of these works.

And oh yes, never play this if any of your family members are around. 4.5 stars

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 You Must Be Certain Of The Devil by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.46 | 8 ratings

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You Must Be Certain Of The Devil
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

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.

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 The Litanies Of Satan by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.38 | 16 ratings

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The Litanies Of Satan
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Diamanda Galas debut mini-LP is more than explosion. It is just music from different world. Not from space, her roots are there, on our land and in our modern world. But her music is something you even couldn't imagine it exists.

Main Diamanda's musical instrument is voice. She uses some minimalistic electronic effects and tapes as small sound accessories, and it's all. No more instruments, no more musicians. Just herself and her magic diabolic voice!

There are just two compositions on this mini-LP ( even all later re-releases, including CD, were never added with bonuses). Open nerve and scream both are her arm, genius and deep experimentalism are both her strategy.

If you're never listened to her music, just be ready to be shocked as deep as you can only imagine. Or better just start from her another, later work. Because not everyone can survive almost 30 minutes of screams, cries, half-spoken voice (few languages) and very few sound effects mixed in two long nervous, exalting and crazy compositions.

But there is magic (possibly black magic) in her voice and her music ( yes, I believe ,it is music!). And there is one thing only I can promise: you will love her or will hate her.

I love her music and her world.

Warning: Not for listeners with nervous breakdown and mellow music aesthetes.

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 Diamanda Galás with John Paul Jones: The Sporting Life by GALAS, DIAMANDA album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.10 | 11 ratings

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Diamanda Galás with John Paul Jones: The Sporting Life
Diamanda Galas RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I have this album for years, but to be honest, I am listening it just one-two times every year. It doesn't mean that album isn't good enough. Possibly, it is just different from what I am expecting from great Diamanda Galas.

If you never heard Diamanda Galas songs, just imagine classically trained opera-singer using her voice for punkish, NY downtown avant screaming (yes, she sings, but you will be shocked by this way of singing for sure), playing acoustic piano and mixing in her songs all impossible combinations, usually blues standards, Greek, Spanish or other exotic folk songs, classic pieces and avant arrangements. This mix often sounds fantastic, mostly because of her charisma.

This album is a rare exception - she collaborates with ex-Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones (plus drummer Pete Thomas). So her crazy and magic singing is framed by bass pulsation and some drumming. She plays keyboards, but quite often it is synths, and they have very back plan line. And even if music is still enough minimalistic, some magic has gone.

Still very strong album, it could be interesting more for Diamanda fans. For newcomers or just usual listeners I can recommend any other of her real solo works: you possibly will love it or will hate it, but you will feel much better, what her music is all about.

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Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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