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Diablo Swing Orchestra - Swagger & Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole CD (album) cover


Diablo Swing Orchestra


Progressive Metal

2.79 | 34 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
2 stars DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA has been and remains one of those true freaks of nature swimming upstream and going against every orthodox trend in the world of music yet somehow manages to defy all odds and manages to catch the world's attention with each new release. This Swedish band shocked the metal world with its 2006 debut "The Butcher's Ballroom" that effortlessly juggled the disparate genres of extreme metal, swing jazz and opera into a jaw dropping masterpiece of avant-metal splendor. While the following "Sing Along Songs For The Damned & Delirious" may have been more of the same, the formula was so out of the box in its approach that two installments of this wacky crazed infusion of music madness was well in order.

With the band's third album though the band began to chill out a bit and crafted more straight forward fusion-loaded possibilities with shorter tracks that focused on less chaotic juxtapositions of elements therefore it was a shock for the band to return with "Pacifticuffs" that focused on extremely complex and abstract progressive rock workouts, an album that worked quite well for yours truly. Well, DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA is back once again with SWAGGER & STROLL DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE and this time around, the DSO has decidedly reverted back to the immediacy of "Pandora's Piņata" with more direct songs on the shorter side without the abstractness and complexities of its predecessor.

This is a lengthy album clocking in at 61 minutes and to be honest one of my least favorites of this creative band so far. Gone are the wacky diva wailing over swing jazz and metal bombast. Gone is the magic that once animated DSO so well. While DSO has not abandoned its love of every genre in the book, it has though abandoned the fusion aspects for the most part. Right from the getgo the rather weak "Sightseeing in the Apocalypse" which opens the album features none of the band's classic genres. Instead it's some sort of electro pop anthem that goes nowhere. The following "War Painted Valentine" is the track that should've started the album with heavy metal guitar riffing and mariachi band motifs and is probably one of the most recognizable and memorable of the entire album.

Starting with the third track "Celebramos Lo Inevitable," the album seems to flail around like a headless chicken. This track is basically a Mexican mariachi track that adds a bit of metal guitar but it's all so predictable and substandard to what the band has done in the past and quite weak. The album feels even lamer once followed by the electro swing "Speed Dating An Arsonist" which sounds like anything bands like Caravan Palace would crank out. Not bad by any means but hardly a DSO classic. It just gets worse with "Jig Of The Century" which is some sort of Queen inspired folk rock tune. The Queen inspiration mostly from the vocal harmonies. Songs like "The Sound of an Unconditional Surrender" almost sound like an admission of defeat for a once innovative band that has become content simply covering songs rather than crafting original fusion. This track is utterly forgettable.

"Malign Monologues" returns to swing and sounds like a real jazz band with a few metal leanings and a bit of tango but once again weak by DSO standards. The mess continues with more electro swing, symphonic ballads, more mariachi, cheesy metal and dark cabaret music. Ugh. Everything just sounds so half-assed and honestly this album resembles an archival release of unused tracks than a proper album. I'm a huge fan of this band and i have to say that this is definitely the biggest disappointment of the year. While no tracks are bad per se, none are memorable and everything is inferior to pretty much anything DSO has released in the past. This is a RABBIT HOLE that i will not be going down again and this album ranks as the worst this band has released to date. Thumbs down.

siLLy puPPy | 2/5 |


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