This month sees the CD release of Hidden Pieces, the debut album from Swedish death metal project Diatonic. With a successful digital release last year, the acclaimed album recently caught the ears and attention of Into the Night Records, a label quickly signing them up and giving a physical presence to the band’s striking first album as they work on its successor.
Diatonic is the solo project of Joakim Antman, a Swedish musician who has played in the likes of Skitarg, The Ugly, and Overtorture. Creating the project to “fulfil his creative needs” multi-instrumentalist Antman enlisted the assistance of drummer Fredrik Widigs for his first offering as Diatonic, and with craftsmanship and imagination as gripping as the songwriting within Hidden Pieces, Antman quickly whipped up acclaim and attention with his debut; a success now given a meatier opportunity to reignite again with the CD release.
Hidden Pieces opens up with Dimensions, the track emerging from a mesh of radio incitements with stalking rhythms and equally predatory touches of guitar, the initial slow intimidation soon picking up steam in energy and menace. The raw, throaty tones of Antman similarly prowl and intrude to great effect, his backing tones perfect echoes to the animus escaping through his throat. Grooves and tantalising spicery equally get spun by the guitars whilst rhythms badger and threaten with ferocity and prowess. The track is compelling, addictively infectious with its barbarous swing and incessant hostility but equally enthralling in its creative twists and enterprise within a death metal bred tempest.
Burning Within is a matching incitement in success and rancorous breath, and also in its creative design where every aspect, whether subtle or hellacious, is allowed room to tempt and make a potent impact on the overall persuasion of the track. It is a common quality across the album, and though a familiarity to others within the genre also finds space within Hidden Pieces, Antman weaves them that invention and skill into fresh adventures to entice ears and imagination. The atmospherically hued and invasively antagonistic Led by the Mind is perfect evidence. The song almost smothers the senses with its emotional and physical malevolence but equally it brings striking unexpected passages of dark calm and melodic elegance to accentuate and temper the volatility of its heart.
Through the hypnotic sonic lure of The Cure of Suffering and the embittered Only I, the album grips tighter an already healthy appetite for the encounter, both tracks in their individual ways, merging melodic beauty and ravenous, almost pestilential, corrosive trespasses. Each also provide a cantankerous seducing before the album’s title track crawls into view with again a mix of invitation and threat. Melodic and intrusive invention entangle until the track reaches its full height and takes both aspects under its fascinating imaginative wing. As all tracks, its surface belies the craft and imagination beneath its savage skin which only leads to each listen revealing a little something more as the album increasingly impresses.
Fear Us is another seriously tasty gem within the throve of dark goodness that is Hidden Pieces, its web of repetitious stalking, sonic expression, and melody lined dissonance crafting an intrigue loaded captivation. Unpredictability is another potent essence to the album, as potent here as anywhere and matched in varying degrees by the closing pair of Followed and Left to Rot. The first of the two lacks the same forceful spark of invention and tenacity as in previous tracks, but still lures and chains attention with its provocative and thoughtfully spun textures amidst melodic imagination whilst its successor is a gloriously sinister drama of sound and imagination. At times it romances with keys led beauty and in other gnaws on the senses, their alternation and union seamless and increasingly bewitching. The track is glorious as it brings the album to an outstanding end; summing up all the qualities and success of the release in one masterful go.
Hidden Pieces gets better and more riveting with every listen, and as one who missed it first time around, give thanks to the label for giving us all another nudge to its presence and might. Anticipation for its successor is already brewing nicely.
Hidden Pieces is available on CD from November 20th via Into the Night Records @ https://intothenightrecords.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 20/11/2015
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