Diabulus in Musica – The Wanderer

Building on their well received debut album Spanish symphonic metal band Diabulus in Musica return with their new album The Wanderer. Carrying on where Secrets left off but taking things to a higher and more defined level, the quintet from Pamplona have unveiled a release which stings and bites whilst taking the senses into dramatic realms full of melodic beauty and soaring harmonies. The album is often majestic, constantly absorbing and overall deeply satisfying.

Diabulus in Musica show two sides to their sound on The Wanderer in similarity to the recently released album from Xandria.  The difference though is where the majority of tracks from the German band wonderfully combined highly aggressive and harder metal intensity with their symphonic creativity within each song, the Spaniards apart from within No Time For Repentance use this blend either to just steel up the symphonic flows or to create distinct metal tracks which keep the grander sound at bay. This works well in an album that is eclectic in sound though at times one wishes the two elements actually clashed at full might to see what would emerge.

Formed in 2006, Diabulus in Musica are instantly notable for the great vocal range and skill of Zuberoa Aznárez, her voice wonderfully taking flight to impressively varying heights and depth. Complimented by the striking guitar play of Adrián M. Vallejo and the emotive and atmospheric keys of Gorka Elso the band frequently soar like eagles or swarm around the ear in persistent harmonious waves. Powerful though the guitar and riffs are the intensity is raised higher by the muscular bass and commanding rhythms of Alex Sanz and Xabi Jareño respectively. All components combined their strength and musicianship ensures the band is a formidable treat which even with seeds grown from the likes of Nightwish and more so Epica, forge their own enjoyable sound.

Released via Napalm Records, The Wanderer opens with the intro A Journey’s End and the sound of waves lapping gently as a storm brews before the idyllic calm is moved by an impending sense of menace and a crashing climax. This leads into the rampaging Ex Nihilo, a track unrelenting on pace and eagerness to consume the ear with glorious harmonies and enthusiastic riffs. With guitar, bass and drums pressuring, the vocals of Aznárez alongside the keys, rise and sweep around the senses to dazzle and caress. The melodic operatic tinged harmonies radiate and even the harsher male growls can only add an edge rather than over power their grace.

Sceneries of Hope comes next to show the diversity within the album, offering an electronic vein through and beneath the euphoric keys and voice. Only two songs in and one realises Diabulus in Musica with their large gothic sound and orchestral weaves know how to avoid straying into indulgence and excess, each song no matter the size of its design is tight and restrained, this ensures the likes of this song and the impressive Oihuka Bihotzetik never out stay their welcome or disengage focus.

Continuing the diversity the band brings in a classic rock edge for the explosive Blazing A Trail and then dip into folk metal with Hidden Reality each carried off with a confidence and surety in the results. With the terrific vocals ofAznárez as well as the skill of everyone else it does not take long to realise the limitations of the band is only defined by their own belief in what they are doing. An already pleasing album is elevated into impressive the further one ventures into it especially with the mighty assault of Shadow of the Throne. Here the band go into battle with metal alone. Crushing riffs march through  the ear like battalions whiles rhythms demand subservience. The vocals are solely male and delivered with a growl dripping venom and violence showing that the band can do metal as well as anyone and with invention as the teasing melodic extras and male vocal harmonies raining down upon the song show. It is glorious and despite the lack of Aznárez and her cultured sound is a big highlight even if they sound like a different band.

With the fiercely creative and almost experimental progressive No Time for Repentance (Lamentatio) and the simple but stunning folk driven title track, Diabulus in Musica reveal deeper pools  of aural nectar to feast upon. Though not perfect with the similarity to other bands unavoidable at times and a closer union between the majestic and metal side of the band maybe needed, The Wanderer is an excellent album which feels and sounds better play after play.

RingMaster 01/03/2012

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Swound!: Into The Sea

Missing some fun and mischief in your music? Do not worry as UK rock band Swound! is back to fill the gap with their second album Into The Sea. Full of whimsy, delight, and infectious tunes the album is a strongly enjoyable romp to put a smile on any sour face. The four Staszkiewicz brothers originally from the Isle of Man follow up their debut Hello Future Our Name Is Swound with a release that refreshes and reminds us that music should be fun and simple, an uncomplicated pleasure and a wicked tease for the senses which only the likes of Baddies and Innercity Pirates along with Swound! seem to have kept in their creative arsenal.

     Into The Sea is a thoroughly engaging and pleasing frisk of the senses though there are a couple of things that have to be said just to balance the unbridled eager words to follow. The album shows the continuation of the maturity to the bands songwriting first indicated with the previous single Predator 3. What has seemingly happened though is either the band has moved on from or forgotten the distinctly quirky and imaginative ideas that frequented previous releases. The unpredictability and downright eccentricities to their songs has been tempered into almost expulsion by the growth of their writing skills. You will not find the spectacular diversions within a Bust-A-Move, Whats Your Poison or We Are A Danger among the songs on the new album and as great as the new material is this lack of inventiveness does leave a tinge of disappointment. This change has also left a kind of similarity across the album, a singular pace and structure that is not as varied as one would have expected, but for all of that the album is simply great and destined to be a constant on ours and many others daily playlist.

The band release the album on their own The Grelmin Corporation label with sounds that reflect the quartets influence and love of the likes of Weezer, Nirvana and other nineties guitar bands. Self produced and mixed by Chris Sheldon the release leaps into the ear like an eager child, excitable and bursting with temptation. The album takes first breath with the excellent Your Kids Are Gonna Love It, with punchy drums from Lloyd and prowling bass from Tom to the fore. A Buzzcocks like hook adds to the fun as vocalist Joe begins the songs announcement and alongside Rowan their combined guitars jangle warmly as the rhythms continue to ignite ones inner beat. The influence of the previously mentioned Manchester band continues with a melody right out of Everybody’s Happy Nowadays to complete a vibrant and hypnotic opener.

As songs like the rock flavoured Big Trouble, the current single In My Head with another delicious grouchy bass manipulation from Tom and a chorus with more infection than the common cold, and the definite Weezer toned If Only I Could, ride the ear with a impish glint helping the album feel like one is going out with old friends, destined silliness and unbridled fun guaranteed.

The centre of the album holds the best songs starting with the grunge lined swagger of Everybody Hates Her. It is actually almost on the reserved side with the band utilising a simple and uncluttered approach to build a compulsive song which if you are not drawn into participation by mid way the recommendation is to check your wrist for a pulse. Within a couple of songs the punk spiced Oh No! erupts with a Ramones like crash of guitars spaced by voracious melodies and hungry bass groans. Though the song never explodes into life it has an appetite to rile up the senses and does just that by its end. The third song is the best on the album. Ghosts rumbles and strolls along with a swagger and attitude that is irresistible. It taunts and skirts around the ear before taking hold to spring wonderful hooks, insatiable rhythms and sheer warm pleasure.

With the likes of the catchy Physics Makes Us Strong and the Smokey Bastard like folk fun of Mean People Suck adding to the album, Into The Sea is a wholly appetising treat to relish and sure to put a grin on your face far beyond its actual stay. Their sound may have changed a little but the pleasure and satisfaction they give is just as endearing and thorough.

RingMaster 01/03/2012

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Erevos: Descensus Ad Inferos

Apart from the stirring and sonically intrusive sounds upon the debut album from Greek black metalers Erevos, the most notable aspect of Descensus Ad Inferos is the imagination which frequents its shadowed corridors. Though the creativity is not always openly apparent at first glance the quintet from Thessaloniki layers their music with an impressive and very pleasing varied ingenuity. Descensus Ad Inferos is a very fine album which the more attention it is given the deeper the pleasure received.

Formed in 2004, Erevos drew good reviews and responses from their first demo of 2005 Burning Souls onwards. Despite a line-up that changed almost consistently over the years the band grew in stature and strength proven by their second demo Mythological Evil the following year, and a split release and the Adou Katavasis EP later. 2010 saw the current line-up of two of the band founders in vocalist/bassist Growler (yes we chuckled at that too) and keyboardist Tisifoni, plus guitarists Pias and Abraxas, and drummer Tek established and settled. In May of last year the quintet then entered the studio to record Descensus Ad Inferos, the result a well thought out and crafted symphonic lined black metal gem.

Against a formidable and towering blend of persistent riffs and a blackened consuming groove, the opening track Adou Katavasis spreads its distinctly dark arms around the listener. Punctured by a simple solitary keyboard interaction the track evolves with menace into an excellent trash fuelled assault of black metal intensity and guitar manipulations. With a complimentary production the atmosphere of the track and its successor The Omnipotence Of The Judges is as effective as the growing intensity, a ferocity that grows as the album progresses. With guitars that light up the ear and keys which place a melodic weave of sounds around and through the directness elsewhere, the song is a stirring composition with a strong mass from the impressive assaulting rhythms and hungry bass of Tak and Growler respectively, the malevolent growls and caustic delivery of the latter adding a further snarl to the song and album as a whole.

As Decensus Ad Inferos unleashes each track it gets better and better, the mightily relentless intrusion of Kires and the magnificent beast that is Those Who Decide About Fate both flexing muscles of quality and creativity. The first has a rawness and honesty to it that attaches like a sonic leech whilst the latter leaves the sense staggering under its immense oppressive intensity. Both add a unbridled rock n roll element to the music providing further evidence of how the band multi task in styles within their songs. With keys that coax the ear like a mischievous angel to open up for the rampaging beats and destructive riffs, the song is only matched by the later Kerveros for the greatest moment on this excellent album.

Kerveros takes things more into death metal territory, its heavy intent a rolling boulder through the sparkling keys that flash behind the force. The musicianship as it is throughout the release is striking and a major factor in the success of each song. No one plays to excess, each member pushing themselves but within the tense and tight format of the songs. This makes the tracks on the surface seem rather straight forward and they are uncomplicated on the whole, but beneath there is a bubbling stream of ideas and spectacular though subdued essences waiting to be discovered.

The likes of Erinyes with its hellacious ear twisting groove and the brutal Grotesque Blasphemy (Slaughter pt.1), a track that grabs by the throat as it forcibly rams forth its contents, keep standards extremely high. The album is a blackened rapture for the soul conjured by a band that really have a defined destination and direction for their invention.

As the closing carnivorous bass and emotive keys only closing track Adou Anavasis explores the senses with intriguing ingenuity and sinister drama one knows they have just experienced a release from a band that with a tight continued rein on indulgence will create something even more special in the future. Erevos have given black metal food for thought and us a feast for the senses.

RingMaster 01/03/2012

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