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Diabolical - Eclipse

by Chris Hawkins at 11 February 2019, 5:24 PM

DIABOLICAL have been hard at work in the underground for over twenty years now.  Formed in ‘98, these Stockholm musicians have now released their fifth full-length, “Eclipse”.  Anyone who has followed the band to any degree over the years knows that their blend of Death and Black Metal is heavy on groove, crushing at times.  Employing melody, they clearly convey their vision with extensive layering and orchestration.  There are many bands out there desiring a sound so thick and majestic yet few can pull this off so expertly.

The first track, “We are Diabolical,” contains emphatic choir and orchestration adding to the infernal majesty of the Metal.  This is the most effective of mission statements.  One cannot help but get the BEHEMOTH vibe in the way the riffs are heavily syncopated, locked in a perpetually sick double bass drum showdown.  This band, however, is a bit catchier in the sense that they employ clean vocals.  The cleanly sung parts serve to expand the sound offering harmony and extensive melody.  “Betrayal,” the second track, begins with a Doom-like procession of weeping octave chords.  Soon, though, the tempo is increased for a more aggressive verse section.  The chorus features a reprise of the beginning with clean vocals expertly harmonized with multiple parts.  It is promising to hear the brutality mixed with cleanly-sung parts.  Toward the middle, the song sounds almost Prog-like as it changes keys and expands the vocal part before returning to the initial pattern.

Fourth track, “Failure,” sees a return to Black Metal form.  Blazing drums drive the music as the guitars lay out riff after riff.  From tremolo-picked parts to crushing palm-muted sections, diversity is the formula at work.  What amazes is the effortless way the guitars switch between parts and techniques.  Clearly, these guys have been doing it long enough, and frankly, they helped write the book in Blackened Death Metal.  “Hunter,” the sixth track, has a medium-paced groove.  What first leaps out is the unique bass lines weaving in and around the guitar work.  Again, the band exploits multiple vocal parts in thickening up their sound.

It is true that DIABOLICAL fit comfortably within the genre of Blackened Death Metal.  The thing is, though, that they helped write the book.  Granted, there are parts that mirror the aforementioned BEHEMOTH and BELPHEGOR as well, but DIABOLICAL has an edge on those guys.  DIABOLICAL features three instrumentalists that also sing – and can sing.  It doesn’t sound whimpy or cheesy, but rather dramatic and melodic.  This is truly a solid release from one of Extreme Metal’s heavy hitters.

Songwriting:  8
Originality:  7
Memorability:  8
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. We Are Diabolical
2. Betrayal
3. Black Sun
4. Failure
5. Inception
6. Hunter
7. Tyranni
8. The Fire Within
9. Requiem

Sverker Widgren – Guitar, Vocals
Carl Stjärnlöv – Guitars, Vocals
Pär Johansson - Drums
Dan Darfoth – Bass, Vocals

Record Label: Indie Recordings


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