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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Diablo Swing Orchestra

Since the Diablo Swing Orchestra has three entries in the current's vocal charts, I thought I'd share some background information on them. The facts are taken from the websites given at the end of this post, while the interpretation is my personal view.

The three tracks Balrog Boogie, Heroines and Poetic Pitbull Revolutions are all from the album "The Butcher's Ballroom", which was released in 2006 by the Swedish experimental metal band Diablo Swing Orchestra (or D:S:O as they call themselves for short). Three years later they decided to release it on Jamendo which is how I discovered them.

They've built a myth about themselves according to which they are the descendants of band members of the 16th century which got into trouble with the crown and the church because of their music style. They were outlawed and saw no chance to get away with their life, so they made a pact following which their descendants would reunite as a new band 500 years later.

The first track, "Balrog Boogie" gives the tone: the listener could mistake the track as a mere jazz or swing tune but that doesn't last long... soon enough, styles start to be added and mixed. Is it a big band now? what about the cello? Oh and wait, what's that filthy gibberish, a demon straight out of J.R.R. Tolkien's world? One doesn't have the time to think more because Annlouice Loegdlund starts to sing... What a soprano! This high melodic voice immediately contrasts with the balrogs. Is it an angel or a fairy? Then you try to understand the lyrics. "Mea culpa" is clearly heard: "My bad". Follows a sequence of more or less well known latin phrases, apparently without any connection between each others except maybe that most of them have a strong religious taste. Is it a wink to the "heritage" of the 16th century? All this mixture definitely creates a strange mood, at times melancolic, at times full of creative energy. Is it how it feels to dance with balrogs? these freaks of nature ("lusus naturae")... The cruel laugh at the end says it all. Shudders...

"Heroines" and "Poetic Pitbull Revolutions" with reminiscences of Bach's Brandenburg concertoes for Cello respectively some mexican popular music that might come straight out of a far-west movie... And there's always this fascinating soprano, levitating above the metallic electric guitars. It's just a wonderful mixture which goes on like that for another 10 tracks.

What I like about this music is that you can listen to it for hours and always discovering something new in it. It transports you into DSO's world and lets you enough space to dream your fantasy as well.

Some compare the opera voice and the metal music with Nightwish. In my humble opinion, I think Nightwish, even though very good, doesn't reach DSO to the ankle. Their music is just so much richer! And some compare the energy in the voice with Nina Hagen's. That's a fair comparison.

If you haven't listened to it yet, give it a go right now.


Now if you haven't had enough, then listen up: Diablo Swing Orchestra's second album will be out in a week (September 21 or 22, 2009). It's called "Sing Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious" and will be available from several online shops, among others Amazon. Or do you want to wait another three years until they maybe release it on Jamendo?

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