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Diablerie – The Catalyst Vol. 1 – Control

The Catalyst Vol. 1 – Control
by Harry Green at 19 June 2017, 1:30 PM

The ratio of diamonds to coal in industrial metal is disappointingly low considering the wealth of potential, realized or otherwise, in electronic music. Of the dozens of bands looking to combine electronic music with metal, only a handful do it with enough zest and direction to deserve recognition. The rest just tend to ineptly rip off Fear Factory and Strapping Young Lad, maybe throwing in a bit of a tithe to the church of djent, but otherwise remaining steadfastly not worth your time.

Finland’s DIABLERIE, formed in Vantaa in 1999 and with one prior full-length, “Seraphyde”, in 2001, looked like they were going to belong to the latter category. “The Catalyst Vol. 1 – Control” was from the first two tracks shaping up to be just such an outing, a relatively inoffensive but forgettable retreating of FEAR FACTORY where the guitarist largely forgets his instrument has frets and the vocalist can’t quite death growl. Thankfully the band remembers here that keyboards are the center of electronic music and should coordinate (not necessarily dominate, mind) the other elements of the music. By using their melodic keyboards as an anchor for their sound they’re able to explore various permutations of industrial.

Throughout this album DIABLERIE adapt the robotic aesthetic of industrial metal but have more of a cyberpunk approach, that is to say one with an emotional core. “Rabid” definitely takes a couple notes from Strapping Young Lad, right down to the punk influence and particularly with the use of certain tremolo riffs, with a helping of Omnium Gatherum on the keyboard. “Wear My Crown” is very heavily influenced by ILLIDIANCE to the point of being indistinguishable. That’s not a criticism, though, ILLIDIANCE is great and more bands could stand to follow their lead. The instrumental “You Stop You Die” leads nicely into “Grey”, both having a strong arena EDM style in the chorus and a largely groovy approach. “This Drastic Clique” shows some influence from Mnemic and MXD in its strongly rhythmic flavor.

“Osiris” is the standout track on this album, with the most unique stylistic points. The combination of harder Neue Deutsche Harte-type electronics (particularly reminiscent of Eisbrecher), the low-pitched distorted vocals and mid-tempo marching rhythms of Gothminister, the double bass and more symphonic minor-key keyboards of Shade Empire and “cyber metal” more generally and the ethereal background vocals with multilayered keyboard melodies drawing from Neurotech produces a very identifiable sound. The building blocks of the song are strong in themselves, and it’s a powerful whole.

The release shows potential. It’s a tentative but authoritative step beyond the mechanically tepid comfort zone in which most industrial/death metal finds itself. The blend of influences evident in “Osiris” are a demonstration of the myriad avenues the band could take – combining the groove of Neue Deutche Harte with the ferocity of Fear Factory and the melody of Neurotech would be a neat synthesis. As it is, it positions DIABLERIE well above most of their industrial peers and is a worthwhile outing both for industrial fans and those new or averse to the genre. Working within existing convention with enough energy to demand attention, and occasionally providing the listener with a glimpse of a new industrial sound.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8
Memorability: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Hexordium: The Final Realisation That You Don’t Matter
2. Selves
3. Rabid (Dogs of Church and State)
4. Wear My Crown
5. Odium Generis Humani
6. You Stop You Die
7. Grey
8. This Drastic Clique
9. Osiris
10. I Am The Catalyst
Henri Villberg – vocals, bass, electronics)
Tomi Ullgrén – guitars
Kimmo Tukiainen – guitars, backing vocals
Petri Mäkipää – drums
Record Label: Primitive Reaction


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Edited 20 July 2018

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