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Diablo Swing Orchestra

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Diablo Swing Orchestra Pacifisticuffs album cover
4.14 | 158 ratings | 4 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Knucklehugs - Arm Yourself with Love (2:26)
2. The Age of Vulture Culture (5:00)
3. Superhero Jagannath (5:41)
4. Vision of the Purblind (1:01)
5. Lady Clandestine Chainbreaker (4:50)
6. Jigsaw Hustle (4:52)
7. Pulse of the Incipient (0:34)
8. Ode to the Innocent (3:49)
9. Interruption (5:21)
10. Cul-de-sac Semantics (1:09)
11. Karma Bonfire (4:14)
12. Climbing the Eyewall (4:40)
13. Porch of Perception (0:43)

Total Time 44:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Kristin Evegård / lead vocals, piano
- Daniel Håkansson / guitars, vocals (1,3,11)
- Pontus Mantefors / guitar, synth, Fx, vocals (1,3,11)
- Johannes Bergion / cello, backing vocals
- Daniel Hedin / trombone, backing vocals
- Martin Isaksson / trumpet, backing vocals
- Anders Johansson / bass
- Johan Norbäck / drums

- Diana Lewtak / violin
- Yuki Tashiro / violin
- Max Wulfson / violin
- Nathalie Bertilsson / viola
- Viktor Turegård / double bass
- Paloma Pinto Viloria / clarinet
- Kristian Karlstedt / tuba
- Michael Osbeck / percussion
- Alexander Lövmark / backing vocals
- Ellinor Bergion / backing vocals
- Lotta Wilk / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Sebastian Kowoll

CD Candlelight Records ‎- CANDLE 7924022 (2017, Europe)

LP Spinefarm Records - 792741 (2018, UK)

Digital album - bandcamp

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA Pacifisticuffs ratings distribution

(158 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA Pacifisticuffs reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars Very few bands in the overcrowded world of progressive rock / metal manage to develop a highly unique and utterly original sound right from the start and even fewer manage to keep the legions of copycats from jumping on the bandwagon, but fourteen years after their formation, the bizarre avant-swing-symphonic-metal-rock group DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA still manages to exist in a musical universe all their very own. After long speculation of whether or not the band would continue after the departures of vocalist Annlouice Loegdlund and percussionist Petter Karlsson, the band kept the rumors at bay by declaring that they were still an active musical group yet somehow the years slipped by with no new album. Finally after a mere half decade DOS returns with their fourth album PACIFISTICUFFS. While originally slated for a 2016 release, the countless delays and technical difficulties in the mixing resulted in a year long delay from the original target. But at long last towards the end of 2017, the album has finally emerged and sounds exactly like what one would expect as a followup to their 2012 album "Pandora's Piñata."

As with all the DSO album, PACIFISTICUFFS is quite the sophisticated project that may not be apparent upon a casual listening experience. The band once again take the disparate elements of swing revival and symphonic prog rock as their main canvasses to paint upon but include the usual metal guitar riffs to add the extra heft albeit the latter are much less pronounced as opposed to their earlier heavy guitar-laden riffing. This album still retains all the DSO characteristics that came before but there are a lot more genre diversions as well. The most prominent of these is a heavy emphasis on Balkan gypsy folk rhythms and musical scales that add that polka-esque oom-paa-paa feel to much of the album. Some of the brass sections also carry a klezmer type of flavor at times and there are even parts that dip into Elvis Presley country-esque territory ("The Age Of Vulture Culture") and tango ("Cul-de-sac Semantics") as well as occasional banjo outbursts. The symphonic tracks are quite grand with lush violin and viola passages that make you forget you're listening to a rock based album at times. This is quite the assembly of musicians and contains a huge army of personal on board to bring about this album. There are not only eight members credited to be official members but an additional eleven musicians that add the touches of violin, viola, double bass, clarinet, tube, additional percussion and backing vocals. The production department is no less impressive.

While DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA gets lumped into the avant-garde metal camp, i have to emphasize that this is not really a metal band at all but an avant-garde swing revival band that just happens to incorporate aspects of metal into their overall sound. For those who only rely on the metal bombast to keep their interest, then PACIFISTICUFFS will surely disappoint because of the fact that the metal parts seem to play much less of a role this time around. True that tracks like "Superhero Jaggnath" have ample bursts of guitar riffing prowess but for the most part, this album is more of a silky smooth studio album that some may call overproduced and overweening in its pompous operatic outbursts that at their peak don't sound too far off from some of the zeuhl band Magma's most in-yer-face moments. Also as always, DSO focus their full force on over-the-top catchy melodies that become exaggerated by the pomp and awe of the many backing elements of swing, rock and symphony. Both newbies vocalist Kristin Evegård and drummer Johan Norbäck integrate perfectly into the band with Evegård sounding exactly like her predecessor in every possible way. On a side note, the non-album track "Jigsaw Hustle" which appeared in 2014 as a lone single has been rerecorded and shows the diverse palette expand even further into the disco revival world. The track reminds me a lot of ELO's "Out Of The Blue" era.

After only a couple listens to PACIFISTICUFFS, i'm utterly amazed at how well it all flows together so seamlessly where every little touch is disciplined and the puzzle pieces placed in a precise order in order to achieve the desired effect. All the delays in the mixing room were worth the wait as the production is absolutely crystal clear and instead of all the disparate instruments sounding like a big muddy mess, each has found its niche in the greater sonic picture as if a great conductor is hiding behind the scenes as to ensure that nobody jumps the gun and gets all jiggy on us. PACIFISTICUFFS will not win over any non-believers for sure. If anything it will scare off all but the most serious music nerds who are fans of the many genres on display here. For me, this album ranks as one of the band's most ambitious and taking the logical path of progression past 2012's "Pandora's Piñata." It's hard to know what to call this anymore since the tracks vary so much and no element dominates the soundscape for long. Not every track contains metal, nor swing nor symphonic chamber rock. Some contain all three but no matter which of these holds the reins at any particular moment, they are always accompanied by unexpected elements guided by memorable and captivating melodic developments. I do believe that DSO have proven that they are no mere novelty and that they have the chops to pull off some of the most mind-bending genre juggling there is to be heard.

4.5 rounded up

Review by kev rowland
5 stars There are times when just the name of the band is enough to make the casual critic to become quite intrigued, and that is definitely the case with this Swedish octet. Eight musicians? Yep, and it isn't the line-up that one might expect from a rock band: Daniel H'kansson (guitars and vocals, Pontus Mantefors (guitars, FX and vocals), Kristin Eveg'rd (vocals and piano), Anders Johansson (bass), Johannes Bergion (cello and vocals), Martin Isaksson (trumpet and vocals), Daniel Hedin (trombone) and Johan Norb'ck (drums). In many ways this doesn't come across as a band, but something far more eclectic, as if it was a group of musicians performing a score for a Tim Burton movie. As a family we watched 'The Nightmare before Christmas', and some of the songs on here (especially 'Superhero Jagganath') could have been dropped into it and would have fitted incredibly well!

Since the start back in 2003 the band has defused the seriousness of everyday life with a humorous twist where everything is allowed. The musical framework is wide to say the least and DSO strive to constantly surprise and challenge their listeners: it is eclectic and rule-breaking, but somehow always makes total musical sense. The arrangements and melodies are unusual to say the least, but this is not out about being 'out there' just for the hell of it. This is music that is both compelling and always interesting. Since 2012's 'Pandora's Pi'ata' the band have taken the opportunity to reinvent themselves and approach their task with fresh eyes and ears. Annlouice L'gdlund left the band in 2014 to pursue her opera career, but new singer Kristin Eveg'rd has brought some serious new writing skills to the mix, both in the lyric departments as well as composing. It is also the first studio album for Johan Norb'ck, who joined the fold in 2012 for the touring of Pandora's Pi'ata: not many drummers have to wait five years to make their recording debut with a band, but he really has started with a bang.

Although it is possibly to call these guys progressive metal, the first word of that term in their case covers a huge amount of genres from swing to prog, incorporating some RIO and plenty of avant combining with musical theatre and soundtracks. At the beginning of 'Jigsaw Puzzle' the strings are so delicate that they could have been used in a James Stewart movie, before it morphs into disco ELO, yet all in a way that just works. This is not a band who are content to sit within a genre, and treat music as it is a living free thinking animal that is going to go its own way in the jungle. There may be times when it will follow a path that has already been created, if it happens to be going in the same direction, but it never stays on it for very long as there is way more fun to be had in the wilderness.

It is seriously like nothing else I have heard in the last year, during which time I have reviewed more than 600 albums of different genres, and that is a statement in itself. Superb.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars One of the finest albums of 2017!!!

This album was my first encounter with Diablo Swing Orchestra and they made quite an impression on me. I have since gone back and listened to most of their albums (and am now about halfway through purchasing hard copies). I understand that many of this band's fans are upset about Annlouice Loegdlund leaving the group, in my opinion, Kristin Evegard is an improvement. Her lyrics are intense and exciting, and her voice is like Kate Bush with an intense amount of attitude, easily moving from kittenish seduction to venomous vixen and back in a blink of an eye.

Musically, DSO somehow manages to weave countless different musical styles together seamlessly. In "Knucklehugs", they go from a standard rock anthem into a rollicking bluegrass romp, with a cello taking the usual fiddle solo. "Superhero Jagganath" (another song where Evegard excels) blends Nordic metal with Hawaiian sounding passages (some sung in an Elvis-inspired twang). "Jigsaw Hustle" starts with a disco riff, but breaks out into crunchy prog-metal riffs. The only song that comes close to a traditional modern swing orchestra sound is "Karma Bonfire", and guess what, they are fantastic at this as well.

My only complaint, however slight, is that I can't understand many of the lyrics, as some of them are drowned out by the delightfully bombastic instrumentation.

I can't imagine anyone who won't be blown away by this album.

Latest members reviews

5 stars THIS HAS BEEN ONE OF MY FAVORITE ALBUMS THAT I'VE PICKED UP IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, EASILY! And I've got a fairly substantial collection! So what is this album like? It would be too simple to describe it as Klezmer ... (read more)

Report this review (#1976396) | Posted by HarmonyDissonan | Friday, August 10, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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