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Tuesday 9 November 2021

Reviews: Diablo Swing Orchestra, Sense Of Noise, Fans Of The Dark, Heads For The Dead (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Diablo Swing Orchestra - Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole (Candlelight/Spinefarm Records) [Matt Bladen]

Essentially what would happen if The B-52's, Yello, System Of A Down, Gogol Bordello and The Glenn Miller Orchestra all went into a musical blender, Diablo Swing Orchestra are a multi-faceted, experimental Avant-Garde musical force made up of eight members that play a multitude of instruments the most prominent though being the brass which is the key weapon in their arsenal. There are 15 guest musicians on the album as well mainly comprising a choir and strings. No band really sounds like DSO they are very much in genre of one as you will experience when you listen to this record from the lilting Celtic flavours of Sightseeing In The Apocalypse and Jig Of The Century, the Argentinian tango meets thick riffs that is Celebremos Lo Inevitable, the swing meets EDM offering that is Speed Dating An Arsonist and through several other musical genres all of which are based in jazz, swing and classical but with modern flourishes like electronic and rock. 

It's truly a sort of listen that you'll either just get or you'll shout "what the hell" loudly. Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole is nothing that would shock you if you've heard anything from the band before. Some of you may have seen the Postmodern Jukebox where new songs are turned into older genres, well DSO are the antithesis of this playing their own pre war style of music but with modern elements as I said earlier. Kristin Evegård's vocals are ideally suited for the swing songs while Daniel Håkansson and Pontus Mantefors both deliver their singing parts in fine style. Musically though is where DSO are at their most interesting whether it's some synth heavy industrial vibes on Out Came The Hummingbirds, or romantic string laden shoegazing soul of Les Invulnéables, Diablo Swing Orchestra's fifth album is as batshit as their previous albums with a fully cinematic experience. It'll be the weirdest album you'll listen to this year but also one of the most rewarding. 8/10

Sense Of Noise - Sense Of Noise (Self Released)

Mexico based band Sense Of Noise play Swedish Melodeath better than a lot of Swedish bands..no wonder then that their album features Björn "Speed" Strid of Soilwork and Antony Hämäläinen of Meridian Dawn as guest vocalists. It was also mastered at Fascination Street Studios to make it as authentic sounding as possible. In the PR it claims this album is for fans of Dark Tranquility, At The Gates and In Flames, all of which is backed up as soon as singer/guitarist Fede d'Empaire plays those first notes of The Broken Hope, after the evocative intro that is. The Broken Hope is Sense Of Noise dispelling any predisposition you may have about a Mexican band doing Melodeath, the clean/harsh vocal mix is bang on, the cleans coming on the melodic choruses while the harsher grunts are reserved for the verses, but it's the music that impresses as well here. 

The guitars are technical and ferocious, as the rhythm section brings ballistic battery. Everything sounds huge, the keys helping to bring those Soilwork influences, the classical piano and pumping synths  are a welcome addition to this album rather than a distraction. A track such as the thrashing Zero Kill, which features Strid as a guest voice, is more traditional in its Melodeath sound but has some blips from the synths that just bring a nuance to it. The band don't just do heavy well as the opening of Our Dying Light is folky before it transitions into the record's most impressive number a song ready for arenas. Having spent years playing in others bands Sense Of Noise are no amateurs, but their debut album is a mature offering that is the best example of the Gothenburg sound never to have seen Gothenburg. 8/10

Fans Of The Dark - Fans Of The Dark (Frontiers Music)

A new band from Sweden that open their debut release with a 10 minute track. The Ghost Of Canterville could be considered prog guess but it's a bit more theatrical, the song based upon the Oscar Wilde short story is an odd way to open a record as it sounds quite Medieval and dramatic but it does showcase the vocals of Alex Falk who along with main songwriter and drummer Freddie Allen founded the band together. But Fans Of The Dark are an unconventional band, the four members all come various types of musical backgrounds and the meld well. They came together to play melodic 80's style rock and they achieve that goal on this self titled debut. 

Other than the first track most of the tracks are driving melodic rock/metal that to me has elements of Dokken as Oscar Bromvall (guitar) and Robert Majd (bass) work in unison like Lynch and Pilson especially on The Running Man (which is based on the novel/film of the same name). Musically flashy the songs are very good really hammering home that 80's sound through choppy riffs, big drums and powerful vocals. I mean powerful, Falk has a massive voice, soulful and stage trained he's a revelation fronting this band bringing touches of Living Colour's Corey Glover. Fans Of The Dark are a band who have lofty ambitions, this debut is a very decent start. 7/10

Heads For The Dead - Slash N Roll (Transcending Obscurity Records)

Probably a little late to review a horror themed record but hey them's the breaks in this biz. Slash N Roll is an EP of horror themed death metal which features two covers. Establishing their sound over two full length records the band have always been fans of blood and guts so the three original tracks are reinterpretations of horror movie themes. They are barked out by Ralf Hauber over the thunderously heavy death metal sound created by Jonny Petterson who handles pretty much everything except for vocals and drums, which are destroyed by Ed Warby. 

Out of the three main tracks my favourite is Halloween which utilizes that original John Carpenter theme on top of the buzzsaw death metal riffing. The two covers are Skulls by The Misfits and Pet Sematary by Ramones both punk classics are brought into the Heads For The Dead style with lots of sound effects added to make it more death metal styled. Anything featuring members of Wombbath, Gorefest, Revel In Flesh, Hail Of Bullets, will be full on death metal explosiveness but Slash N Roll is most definitely a fan release for sure. 7/10

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