Diablo Swing Orchestra
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Diablo Swing Orchestra

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Metal Classical

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Jul
04
Diablo Swing Orchestra @ Schloss Broich

Mülheim, Not Applicable, Germany

Mülheim, Not Applicable, Germany

May
08
Diablo Swing Orchestra @ Wave Gothic Treffen

Leipzig, Not Applicable, Germany

Leipzig, Not Applicable, Germany

Mar
28
Diablo Swing Orchestra @ Anson Rooms

Bristol, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

Bristol, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

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Music

Press


Music like this doesn't come out that often; nowadays, in the metal scene, everyone seems to be doing what bands from the 80's and early 90's already shaped, most metal music kept recycling itself over and over again until we sadly got used to that fact without minding much. When a band like D:S:O suddenly appears and breaks the whole metal scheme with such an original sound and renewed vibe, I just can't help to be utterly impressed as I am right now.

D:S:O successfully combines a rich and meticulous preference for diverse connotations such as Swing, Flamenco, Jazz, Gothic Metal, Progressive Metal, Symphonic Metal and Orchestral undertones in the whole album (who knows which genres I'm missing here); and in the end we have one of the most interesting albums this year. "The Butchers Ballroom" is an overwhelming experience that generates all kind of feelings from the beginning to the very end, making you want to replay the piece over an over again until your ears feel anesthetized.

I can't even explain how worthwhile this album is; from the overture you'll understand this is like nothing you've ever heard before. Songs like "Heroines", "Pink Noise Waltz", or "Wedding March For A Bullet" are blatant explosions showing the strength and power that D:S:O dwells, but cuts like "D'angelo", "Balrog Boogie" or "Zodiac Virtues" manage to show an astonishing ensemble that perfects the ability of music as a complex art. Musically, "The Butcher's Ballroom" is so complex and intricate that it could take a whole article to analyze the depths of every single track wrapping it; the instrumentation is skilled, the vocals are both beautiful and dominant, the atmospheres are dark in Act#1 but strong in Act#2, so as you can see this album has everything a music fan could wish for.

Production-wise the album is really clean, the layout is very suggestive and the lyrical content is outstanding, to find out more you'll have to buy this album. To sum things up, D:S:O is the most promising band this year; if their debut had such an impact in the audience I can't even imagine how their next albums will sound like.

Highly Recommended!!!

Best Tracks: "Balrog Boogie", "Pink Noise Waltz", "Heroines". - metalstorm.ee


The Butcher's Ballroom might be the debut from Diablo Swing Orchestra, but the story started long before 2006, it started in 1501 to be precise: "The history tells the tale of an orchestra that played like no other. With music so seductive and divine that the ensemble overwhelmed audiences all over the country, and people from all social classes took them to their hearts. However, the church disapproved of the orchestras influence on the people and the orchestras' extensive use of the prohibited tritonus interval and accused them of being devil worshipers and eventually they was sentenced to death by hanging. But before doing so they all signed a pact saying that their descendants were given the task of reuniting the orchestra in 500 years and continue their work of spreading thought-provoking music. Six envelopes were therefore sealed and given to trustees of the orchestra to pass on to family members. And by 2001, it was time for the Diablo Swing Orchestra to resurrect."

OK, I do not know how much of this is story you believe to be true, I leave that up to yourself to decide. Nevertheless, it sets the tone right and fits the music perfectly. The music from Diablo Swing Orchestra feels to be of the forbidden kind; mysterious and impossible to resist as if the devil had hooked his grip on you. It is very rarely I can say that an album sounds like nothing I have ever heard before, but I'll be damned if I cannot say it this time. This sounds like nothing I have ever heard before and furthermore, I have not been able to stop listening to it since it came in my possession.

It is not an easy task to describe this album, but I will do my best to do this theatrical metal with an uplifting spirit justice. The opening track Balrog Boogie with lyrics in Latin sounds like twenties swing plugged into to an amplifier, guitars dealing out metal riffs complete with trumpets, strings and a groove that is impossible to resist. Diablo Swing Orchestra have created a grand and theatrical feeling on the album and the inspiration seems to be coming from all over the place, and even if this is basically heavy metal, those elements seem to be the least represented. After a quick glance the less initiated would say that this sounds very much like Nightwish, which is not completely wrong but also far from the truth but the amazing vocals from Annlouice Lögdlund throws you nevertheless in that direction. Similar in voice to Tarja Turunen from Nightwish but damn me if Annlouice is not a notch better.

The music is filled with clever breaks and melodic passages, and that they use cello in such extent as they do really helps to add an orchestral feeling to it all. There is one amazing track after another here, but I wonder if Poetic Pitbull Revolutions is not the most remarkable of them all? With a Mexican sound they unleashe the trumpets backed up by the guitar that makes me think of Western movies and when the mighty chorus arrives it is like freakin' El Mariachi with shredding guitars meets Therion, brilliant and irresistible. So far, we have influences of swing, Mexican music, Nightwish and Therion, and to this we can add jazz, waltz, progressive metal, a bit of melancholia, and from the song Zodiac Virtues I get a vibe of Muse, and this is not all. You could easily think that this would make the music stray away but that never happens, since Diablo Swing Orchestra manage to keep it all together and succeed in holding a red line through the entire album with the sound. As in the closing song Pink Noise Waltz when they combines metal with waltz, nordic melancholic folk and jazz and it just feels so natural.

At the same time as this is skilled musicianship with a mature and intelligent song writing, there is also a feeling of youthful playfulness in this band. And I feel that no matter how much and for how long I keep on writing, words cannot do this band justice, they must be heard. If you have an open mind and the appetite for something new, something fresh, and something that is cleverly done - Diablo Swing Orchestra is the band for you. - metalcovenant.com


Diablo Swing Orchestra are clearly a group who don’t harbour concerns about being labelled since most of the work is done for you in the band title. Yes, their sound does have a swing element to it in parts and yes, there is certainly an air of ‘devil’ to the music. Don’t let the term ‘orchestra’ fool you too much, however. Though there is a wide variety of different instruments on this album, they are rarely played all at the same time, therefore the orchestral sense refers more to the quantity of instruments at the band’s disposal rather than the idea that you’ll get twenty things playing simultaneously. This removes any ostentatiousness or epic air from the band’s sound that some may have been concerned about, so the songs don’t give the impression of being played in the majesty of an opera house or orchestral pit, but rather in the backroom of some 18th century peasant tavern.

The Butcher’s Ballroom is really a journey through a variety of different song ideas, some jazz, some metal and some swing, and others which are short, one minute interludes which help mesh the album together. These interludes, for what they’re worth, are certainly not fillers since though they are only a minute or so each they are all beautifully executed. D’angelo, a clean operatic aria sang over acoustic guitar, Qualms Of Conscience, a soft, piano-led piece along the lines of the slower Beethoven or Chopin pieces and Gunpowder Chant, by far the most creepy song on the album, which purely consists of the murmur of a didgeridoo put to the beat of a snare drum, conjure up a classically dark but sinister atmosphere between each number which is bespoke to the tone of the album.

The full songs themselves are also quite different to one another though it is the first two tracks of the album, Balrog Boogie and Heroines, which are the most deserving of the Swing tag, both of which heavily use trumpets and the plucking of a cello to add to the swing feel. Indeed, this theme bleeds into the third track on the album, the wonderful fiesta-esque Poetic Pitbull Revolutions, which includes trumpets in abundance and sounds like something that might be played at a Spanish carnival. The rhythm is mostly carried by the drums rather than the guitars, since the drumbeats dictate what kind of feel each song is going to have while still managing to retain an undeniably metal air.

The band have decided to use operatic female vocals for all of the songs and though this might scream ‘Nightwish’ to some people, nothing could be further from the truth since though Nightwish started out with operatic vocals as a mistake, Diablo Swing Orchestra use them very intentionally and they work spectacularly with the music. Ann-Louice Lögdlund is no doubt an immense talent and it’s clear that she is not attempting to have an operatic voice for effect. Opera is obviously her forte, and this does help the music to have a highly unique and individual feel even though a lot of the songs, especially on first listen, may come across as a little challenging.

Not every song on the album may be as individual as the band would like, though. Clearly an effort has been made to make a lot of the tracks sound different especially when in so many metal albums it’s usual for some songs to sound like carbon copies of the next. However, towards the end of the album the songs start to trail off and sound like nothing too special anymore. The earlier songs have such strength, energy and fire and the later ones, since they’re not using the same tricks anymore, turn into more standard metal songs with no real hooks or centres.

Still, this is hardly a big criticism since overall the music is inventive enough to hold its own and it will definitely keep you coming back for more time and time again. In a way Diablo Swing Orchestra have treated us with their uniqueness and it’s easy to take them for granted when there is hardly any other band that they can be compared to, especially when it comes to metal bands with female vocalists. The years since making their EP have clearly been put to good use and we should all enjoy the results of such a labour. The Butcher’s Ballroom, whichever way you look at it, is a thoroughly original and well-executed debut that many bands could only hope to pull off, and others wouldn’t even have the creativity to envision.

8.5/10 - soniccathedral.com


Discography

LP - The Butcher's Ballroom - 2007 Candlelight Records

Photos

Bio

The Diablo Swing Orchestra dates back to 1501 in Sweden, where history tells the tale of an orchestra that played like no other. With music so seductive and divine that the ensemble overwhelmed audiences all over the country, and people from all social classes took them to their hearts. Their performances rapidly earned a reputation of being feral and vigorous and gained the orchestra a devoted crowd that followed them around.

During the later half of the 16'th century the criticism against the royal crown dictatorial ruling had intensified. Gifts and tenancies had made the chruch extremely wealthy, and since the money merely was used to strengthen their power the discontent among the people was growing. To many people the orchestra presented them to a new view upon things and a way to cope with everyday life.

The church witnessed how their influence over the people decreased and began to depict the orchestra as treacherous, saying their intentions were anything but righteous. The orchestras extensive use of the prohibited tritonus interval in their music as well as their excessive lifestyles was facts that were not looked mildly upon. During church services priests slandered the music saying it was an insult to Christ himself. However, when this attempt to reduce the orchestras popularity failed, the church began to use more desperate measures in order to regain its former power. The Devils orchestra became the slogan they used and the members were accused of being everything from devil worshippers to the spawn of Satan. This catchphrase eventually caught on and became the popular name of the orchestra. When even these efforts shown futile the church ultimately framed the orchestra members for a murder and a ruthless manhunt began. The following two years the orchestra lead the lives of outlaws and were forced to perform in barns and outhouses, where only a strictly limited number of people were allowed to attend. Luckily generous people provided them with food and somewhere to sleep.

In order to capture the orchestra the church issued a reward to the person that could provide such information that lead to the capture of the orchestra. The sum was so large that the orchestra, tired and weary of living as fugitives, realised that it all had come to and end. They knew that sooner or later someone would reveal their whereabouts and the decided to go down in style.
But before doing so they all signed a pact saying that their descendants were given the task of reuniting the orchestra in 500 years and continue their work of spreading thought-provoking music. Six envelopes were therefore sealed and given to trustees of the orchestra to pass on to family members.

They announced their final concert publicly as a grandeur finale. Thousands of people showed up and even though it was almost no one who could actually hear the music, the massive sing-along of the crowd granted the performance to be the most talked about in history. Thanks to the huge amount of people the orchestra was allowed to play until their last song when armed guards finally managed to storm the stage and arrest the musicians. They were sent prison and later sentenced to death by hanging.

Stockholm 2003, by mere accident two of the original orchestra descendants meet in a music shop and began to discuss music. It later shows that they both have received a strange letter from some ancient relative containing instructions on how to reunite The Devils Orchestra. They both become very excited and though some genealogy they managed to find all of the remaining successors in a period of three months.

Unfortunate all of the original scores were confiscated and burned by the church back in 1503. So music-wise the new orchestra were left with no directions on what to play. After some meticulous discussions it was agreed upon that the music should be like a modern version of the old orchestra. Annlouice was chosen to front the band, her angelic yet powerful operatic voice was perfect to bring a bombastic feeling to the music. Pontus dance-influences and programming skills came in handy since the orchestra wanted the arrangements to sound a bit more futuristic. He shares guitar duties with Daniel who also is the main composer in the band. Andy brought some groove to the mix adding powerful slapping and funk-oriented bass licks, while Andreas's energetic drumming made sure the songs are driven and pulsating. Together with Anders, he lays the solid swinging foundation of the band. Johannes's theoretical knowledge and stunning technique combined with an emotive cello-playing style made him essential to the bands sound.

Together they answer to the name of Diablo Swing Orchestra and are determined to honour the legacy of their ancestors.