Produced by Dan Swanö with Blackheim. Captured with digital devices at Unisound Studio, September 1996. Mixed and engineered by Dam Swanö. Mastered at Cutting Room by Peter In De Betou. All music, lyrics and concepts written between 1995-1996. Released on Adipocere Records, 1997; re-released on Peaceville Records, 2007.
The band split in September 2004.
Another week, another Diabolical Masquerade album to review; and there’s another one coming up next week. I’m stuck in some kind of black metal Groundhog Day.
I have to admit that I got rather distracted this week, partly by work and a couple of web development projects I’m working on at home, but mostly—in terms of listening—by the new Steven Wilson album, Hand. Cannot. Erase, that was released on Monday. So this has been a largely in-car listening review.
I really liked last week’s album Ravendusk In My Heart so I was hoping for something similarly good, even if this was the difficult second album.
In many ways this is more of the same but unlike their debut I didn’t quite connect with this album. I know there is often a tension between fans wanting more of the same and bands wanting to develop, I can’t quite work out on which side of that argument this album lies. Perhaps it would take a few more listens before I fully appreciated it.
A few tracks stand out, though. “Ravenclaw” (track 3) has a kind of plodding mediaeval feel which is quite out of keeping with the rest of the album, but that does make it memorable.
“Across the open vault and away” (track 6) is quite a beautiful, acoustic instrumental. Why is it that metal bands can write such beautifully sweet melodies in a way that is absent from almost every other genre? (I’m not complaining.)
“Hater” (track 7) has a very old school thrash feel, with vocals that wander from King Diamond to Jeff Waters (Annihilator).
The final track “Upon the salty wall of the broody gargoyle” opens with a riff that could easily be early Celtic Frost, even the vocals are very Tom G Warrior—including a few ‘death grunts’. It’s quite brilliant.
Even though I didn’t get to spend as much time with the album as I would have liked, even just listening through it just now as I wrote this it still made me smile. Again, this is definitely a keeper. I look forward to listening to this and its older sibling back-to-back.
Review score: 80%