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Devil Doll biography
Formed in Venice, Italy and Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1987 - Disbanded in 1997

Dark and heavy prog band which inspires their music on the old silent horror movies. DEVIL DOLL's music has been described as "an elaborate and bombastic collision of styles" and "a perverse, yet brilliant soundscape of some forbidden netherworld". Bands like JACULA can be pointed as an influence to this (at least) very different band.

DEVIL DOLL's albums are a journey into the unknown theatres of the unexplored soul and mind, they are like a sick cabaret of unsuspecting and, at times, soul-possessing opera. "The Girl Who Was...Death" is an interesting modern symphonic sound with a pervading air of menace. "Eliogabalus" is like a prog-metal symphony, a grandiose, overarching structure that works like a suite. I certainly didn't take a trip to heaven when I for the first time became familiar with DEVIL DOLL's many masterpieces!!! The music is not for everybody, but recommended to those who like their singers dominant. Recommended to fans of Silent horror movies! LOL

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Queen of PainQueen of Pain
Lucky Bluebird Records 2003
$95.79 (used)
The Return Of EveThe Return Of Eve
Lucky Bluebird Records 2007
$104.00 (used)
Girl Who Was DeathGirl Who Was Death
Hurdy Gurdy 2006
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22h 55m
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DEVIL DOLL discography

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

DEVIL DOLL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 129 ratings
The Girl Who Was... Death
3.81 | 90 ratings
3.76 | 72 ratings
3.75 | 77 ratings
The Sacrilege Of Fatal Arms (OST)
3.77 | 111 ratings
Dies Irae

DEVIL DOLL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DEVIL DOLL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
Devil Doll Bag
4.75 | 4 ratings
Box Set

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sacrilegium by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.76 | 72 ratings

Devil Doll Heavy Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Welcome to Sacrilegium, the fourth album of one of the best prog-rock bands of the 90's!

Every Devil Doll is a whole and complete experience by itself. The style of the band was more or less the same throughout its whole career, but that means that every album has thousands of influences, styles and colors very well mixed and intertwined with Mr.Doctor's unique style of singing. Sprechgesang, to be exact.

And Sacrilegium is no exception!

It is another excellent composition by the mastermind Mr. Doctor, who was also in charge of the production of this record full of intricated passages, obscure lyrics, and their typical heavy metal guitars mixed with Gregorian chants, classical music, folk, cabaret, Bernard Herrmann's influenced passages and even tango.

Everything fits in Devil Doll's music and the result is just incredible!

Best Tracks: Sacrilegium has only one long song, just like every Devil Doll album with the exception of Eliogabalus.

Conclusion: the third Devil Doll opus is maybe not so surprising as their debut The Girl who was Death and not so outstandingly good as their last and best album Dies Irae, but it's another excellent record by one of the most unique, personal and unrepeatable prog bands in history.

My rating: ****

 Dies Irae by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.77 | 111 ratings

Dies Irae
Devil Doll Heavy Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Devil Doll was one of those acts I knew of forever, but never bothered with their CDs, because I wasn't sure if I'd like them or not. Well, I'm glad to start diving into this group, better late than never. Dies Irae was the final release from Mr. Doctor and company. Due to anonymity it's hard to tell why they disappeared, but you get the feeling they mined this strange dark gothic prog for what its worth, but at the same time, there isn't a bad release in the bunch. This is truly an acquired taste, you dig what they do, or you don't. This stuff is truly over the top, you can't help but imagine a cobweb-infested old mansion or castle with pipe organ occupied by a vampire, and the music truly captures that imagination. Make no doubt Mr. Doctor was a horror movie aficionado. Passages that go from one thing to the next, from Gregorian chant, sinister violin playing, pipe organ, evil sounding voices from Mr. Doctor, and rocking passages. There's no denying how much Jacula had an impact on Devil Doll. I sense a little Van der Graaf Generator and King Crimson in the process, I guess because Mr. Doctor's voice can resemble a bit of Peter Hammill at time, and funny enough, the evil witch Scotia found on the 1990s PC game Lands of Lore: Throne of Chaos. The music is truly theatrical to the max, so you can imagine them performing this music live with a set that looks like the backlot of a horror movie set. Alice Cooper certainly did his horror rock theater performance, but he did it with a standard hard rock sound, but Devil Doll takes that horror theatrics to the next level with a far less accessible art rock approach. I really think that these guys really gave the sagging prog rock scene a boost, even before Änglagård appeared on the scene. What I really love is this isn't neo-prog at all. The group also tended to avoid synthesizers (although they'd sound great with a Mellotron), keyboards seem confined to piano and pipe organ, but there is no shortage of other instruments. Not an easy listen, this music truly demands your attention, but the payoff is well worth if, if this style appeals to you. If gothic theatrical art work sounds good, give this a try, in fact, give all their albums a try!
 Eliogabalus by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.81 | 90 ratings

Devil Doll Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 1989 Mr. Doctor worked simultaneously on three different projects: an esoteric work titled ''The Black holes of my mind'', an adaption on four works of Austrian composer Hanns Eisler under the name ''Mr. Doctor sings Hanns Eisler'' and ''Eliogabalus'', inspired by Antonin Artaud's "Heliogabalus: or, the crowned anarchist".Entering the studio in 1990 he had to face a very limited budget, so his work on Eisler's compositions was abandoned and the other two works were combined in a single album release, ''Eliogabalus''.The album features Roberto Dani as a newcomer on guitar and also fresh drummer Rick Bosco.It was reputedly pressed in three editions, two vinyl pressings, one of which was a limited one of 50 copies, and a CD one.

The 20-min. ''Mr. Doctor'' was the composition intended to become the centerpiece of ''The Black holes of my mind''.Propably this is a cut-out version, which sounds a bit different from what Devil Doll has presented so far.The gothic and heavy elements are somewhat reduced for a more symphonic-oriented sound, which still contains Mr. Doctor's frightening whispers and some bombastic grooves, but it goes mainly in a rather dreamy style with strings, smooth guitars and orchestral keyboards/piano, while the band's leader even sings in a regular style, which reminds me a lot of Alex Caimati from NUOVA ERA.The music is more elaborate and polished with multiple variations between rockin' rhythms, pompous arrangements and spoken parts.The symphonic and operatic elements dominate this composition, which also contains a few excellent female-choir parts.The 25-min. title track does not differ much, even if it was to be originally included in a different work, meaning that Mr. Doctor was stylistically settled around the time.Of course ''Eliogabalus'' has a more varied depth of atmospheres and comes a bit closer to the sound of the previous album.The mood is quite dark and sinister with absence of ethereal themes, although there are even some minimalistic moments throughout.This comes as a mixture of Avant-Garde/Classical influences with full-blown Symphonic Rock, again the great string section and the beautiful guitar melodies prevail along with the soft piano parts and Mr. Doctor's ability to switch characters with his voice.Elements from Horror Film Scores and Ambient Music can also be tasted, ''Eliogabalus'' ends up to be a composition with some majestic moments but also lack of consistency.

While the second work of Devil Doll has much in common with the debut of the ensemble, you should rather imagine a less bombastic and more refined version of ''The girl who was... death'' to meet exactly your expectations.Symphonic Opera with elements from Avant-Garde and Minimalism, not fully convincing, but certainly pretty atmospheric and well-composed.Recommended.

 The Girl Who Was... Death by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.91 | 129 ratings

The Girl Who Was... Death
Devil Doll Heavy Prog

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

 The Girl Who Was... Death by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.91 | 129 ratings

The Girl Who Was... Death
Devil Doll Heavy Prog

Review by agla

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 their appearances can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and that their records have been printed always in very few copies, and now seem to have vanished into black hole... The record in question is part of the prog world, a "obscure symphonic prog " considering the importance of classical instruments, a trademark of the group. This record focuses a little more than half an hour a series of songs ( linked between them) inspired by the stories told in '67 by Patrick Mc Gohan, in the television series " The Prisoner ". The haunting voice of Mr. Doctor, scans the various moments whispering, screaming, choking, as the music plays beautifully and always varied, overwhelming, energetic, majestic, creating a nightmare that appeals to the shocking final revelation . An album obscure from the many esoteric references, a journey through death and despair.
 The Girl Who Was... Death by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.91 | 129 ratings

The Girl Who Was... Death
Devil Doll Heavy Prog

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.


 Dies Irae by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.77 | 111 ratings

Dies Irae
Devil Doll Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Unlike most previous Devil Doll releases, Dies Irae was split into parts to allow listeners to easily find particular parts of the composition. Make no mistake though: this is another album- length single-track saga following the precedent and compositional principles established in The Girl Who Was Death, in Devil Doll's characteristic application of symphonic prog compositional principles to gothic rock aesthetics and subject matter. The inclusion of string soloists borrowed from the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra aids the enigmatic Mr Doctor in attaining the level of pomp and gravitas aimed for, and if the band's basic approach hasn't evolved much since the debut, it hasn't degraded much either.
 The Girl Who Was... Death by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.91 | 129 ratings

The Girl Who Was... Death
Devil Doll Heavy Prog

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.
 Dies Irae by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.77 | 111 ratings

Dies Irae
Devil Doll Heavy Prog

Review by Renkls

4 stars Most mainstream Devil Doll ever went, but not their best - definitely the most accessable single track album, divided into parts which is something the other albums were not gifted with. Not that it seemed nessersary unless people wanted to listen to it intermittantly rather then as the whole song that it represents, which is at turns either wonderful or rather slow and mediocre. Though I still enjoy it and never skip parts, some pieces don't do so much for me as others, a bit like Sacrilegium, I feel it needed the right cut to bring out the goods, and it got an alright one, but until (most likely never) it gets the treatment it really deserves, then it won't be the best Devil Doll ever made. That authority goes to Sacrilege of Fatal Arms.
 The Sacrilege Of Fatal Arms (OST) by DEVIL DOLL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.75 | 77 ratings

The Sacrilege Of Fatal Arms (OST)
Devil Doll Heavy Prog

Review by Smegcake!

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.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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