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Diablo Swing Orchestra - Sing-Along Songs For The Damned & Delirious CD (album) cover

SING-ALONG SONGS FOR THE DAMNED & DELIRIOUS

Diablo Swing Orchestra

 

Progressive Metal

3.98 | 192 ratings

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Kempokid
4 stars While Diablo Swing Orchestra's The Butcher's Ballroom was very much was I expected from a band with such an identity, being quirky gothic rock in the vein of Aurelio Voltaire on steroids, with a more metal oriented sound, while also encompassing a wide variety of genres into the music. This album however, is what I was hoping to hear, being far more bombastic and insane than their first album, with more focus on straight up metal to complement the wide range of styles undertaken, leading to a much louder, more heavy album overall. I personally find it to be a big step up in essentially every way to their debut, being heavier, more entertaining, much more bizarre, and most of all, a lot more consistent.

Just like with their debut, simply classing this as swing metal would be quite an understatement, as while the big band sound does appear in quite a number of tracks, other styles such as tango, mariachi, or just straight up prog metal all bleed through, providing great deals of eclecticism to the album. While there are many songs which employ heavy use of this big band style, the opener, A Tapdancer's Dilemma is definitely my favourite of them. The song is simply brimming with energy and insanity, with even the soft moments containing a latent manic bombast to them, accentuated by the wonderful guitar and bass, switching between heavy riffing and restrained staccato. The vocals are also wonderfully out there in general, now the male vocals being just as insane and dramatic, providing an even more strange tone to everything. Another example of this incredible energy is the bouncy, unhinged Bedlam Sticks, whic along with being another song that just never sits still, makes things even more wild with the inclusion of various bizarre voices chanting the chorus, sounding like a pack of small demonic creatures of some sort. Of the 10 songs, 7 of them are an absolute joy to listen to, and one of them is a short interlude, all of which I'd mostly say similar things about, with a couple of exceptions (which I'll get to in a bit). However, there are two songs that don't quite click with me in the same way, Memoirs of A Roadkill and Ricerca Dell'Anima. While neither of these are bad songs by any stretch, Memoirs feels like the one experiment on the album that doesn't quite pan out, without anything appropriately strange to fit in with everything else on the album, causing it to feel somewhat unneeded. Ricerca Dell'Anima I have less of an issue with, but I simply find it to be less impressive all around, lacking the same kind of impact as the others both in terms of composition and execution, having less memorable memories along with a less interesting performance on the whole.

There are two songs on the album which I do find to be very clear highlights, both being more prog metal oriented than the other tracks and using the extra genres as an addition to heighten the experience. This shows the avenue in which the band could further grow and improve. The first of these songs is Lucy Fears the Morning Star, which has an amazing trumpet buildup that then completely blasts everything away as extremely groovy, heavy guitar riffs make their way in, before softening and becoming more of an eerie creeping sensation rather than stomping around. I love the frenetic breaks in the melody where the cellos weave their way through. As the song slowly rises in power, more powerful riffs make their way in, overpowering everything as the listener feels completely obliged to lose themselves within the rhythm. This repeats once more through, being somewhat more powerful this second time however, and vocal distortions mimicking a small child becoming even more prominent, not to mention unnerving. After this, out of nowhere, the song completely shifts gears and goes full mariachi, which initialliy I wasn't the keenest on, but now I honestly couldn't imagine the song being so great without this fun way to end it. The other song that I find hits all marks spectacularly is the closing piece, Stratosphere Serenade, starting off displaying an incredibly majesty to it, with the cello and guitar playing off each other perfectly, before they both properly kick off, the cello leading with an almost mournful tone to it. One thing I noticed almost immediately was the presence of the more standard male vocals, a big change from basically the entirety of the album, which I find works incredibly here for what feels like a somewhat more serious song. Everyting about this first half of the song feels far more subdued than anything else the album presents, which works perfectly both for an album closer, and then completely catching the listener off guard with the masterful second half. Just over halfway through the song, everything cuts and fades out, only to be replaced with a futuristic sound in the form of a repeated riff with heavy amounts of alteration to the base sound, heavy reverb and the like in the background, and then the song just builds. It continues adding all the elements to it and then continuing to tweak elements here and there, adding sound effects, taking others away, slightly altering various elements of the outro as the fast faced guitar and drums continue repeating. This section is by far my favourite part of the entire album, and caps it off superbly.

Overall, I far prefer this album to the first, as it expands upon all the things done right and then ups the insanity tenfold. Almost every song here works absolutely perfectly, being intensely fun and infectoius, the catch being almost all, which is the one issue I do have with this album, that there are 2 songs in a row that damage the flow of the album to some extent, which is fortunately saved by the fact that Stratosphere Serenade is just so great. Overall, I would recommend this album to anyone who likes some stranger stuff that also knows what fun is, as while not the most complex album, it's definitely extreme amounts of fun.

Best songs: A Tapdancer's Dilemma, Lucy Fears The Morning Star, Stratosphere Serenade

Weakest songs: Memoirs of A Roadkill, Ricerca Dell'Anima

Verdict: Extremely fun almost all the way through, and a must listen for anyone who like quirky, heavy music, as this is definitely very well executed in that regard.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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