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Diablo are a Finnish group that have been coughing up melodic death metal since 1995, with Icaros being their fifth album. Although the band may not be so celebrated in metal circles, they certainly have names contributing to this release that some metallers will recognise, including band members from Tarot, Rotten Sound and Teräsbetoni.
Icaros sounds like bastard child of Nevermore and Meshuggah with melodic death metal imbued into it. Multiple riffs sound like less technical renditions of ones common to Meshuggah and the pulsating thrash attack that Nevermore utilize is omnipresent throughout the release. Unlike these metal behemoths though, Diablo have employed a keyboard on songs such as ’Trail Of Kings’ and ‘Light Of The End’ to instil an ambience to the music with successful results.
The melodic death metal passages of Icaros are quite astounding and it would have been beneficial if more of these substituted the punchy heavy Nevermore/Meshuggah style riffs. ‘Bad Sign’ showcases some fresh melodic death metal riffs and the closing number ‘Into The Sea’ uses melodic death metal to stir convincing emotions into the song. The title track has touching pure melodic passages created by an ethereal progressive guitar, although the juxtaposition of these passages next to the abrasive heavy riffs is not a successful venture.
To conclude, Diablo would be significantly better if they developed their own ideas rather than leaning ever so heavily on other bands. Their melodic death metal sections are well crafted and they would do good to elaborate these ideas. The intense riffs solely contradict them which leaves the CD quite devoid of unambiguous emotion.
Originally written for www.soundshock.net
Diablo, once upon a time known as Diablo Brothers, caught my attention with their Eternium album. It was a bulldozer of an album, with tons and tons of groove while remaining very melodic. Not utterly genius or utterly inventive, but one of those very simple but tasty treats you can keep playing. The style could best be described as a mix of early Metallica, Machine Head's non-nu metal albums and Vulgar-era Pantera with a tasty sauce of scandinavian melodeath.
Later on, Mimic 47 appeared. This album was a little unbalanced and had slightly more core-ish tendencies, but was saved by the catchiness and some true gems of songs, like the anthem D.O.A that could get an entire stadium shouting as loud as if it were Master of Puppets.
I approached the new album with curious caution. Would it turn out Diablo were progressing down the core road of doom, and would I be hearing something akin to, hell forbid, Supercharger when pressing play?
Diablo have completely outdone themselves. Relying on more than just hooks, grooves and catchiness, Diablo have put an extra pound of balls into their songwriting and an equal improvement in diversity and energy. The album kicks off with a tasty slow intro, but when finally the riffs kick in you can immediately hear it's business. The sound has taken on a fuller and ballsier form than on Mimic, and the groove basis lead by the immense rythm guitar section, the powerful and precise drumming, and the prominently featuring bass (use good headphones to get the maximum out of those!) keep the bulldozer running into your fucking head, while the lead guitar weaves awesome, catchy melodies through them.
Vocalist Rainer stands at the heart of the songs; his gruff shouts sound truly aggressive instead of the pale shadow of anger a lot of similar bands seem to offer. His clean vocals sound mysterious and give a sense of calm before the storm. Diablo have the dropped the sparse use of female vocals altogether; a good choice, as they would mostly distract from the ton of bricks swinging repeatedly into your balls.
Trail of Kings is one of the highlights straight from the start; frantic riffs with gorgeous leads and a nearly hysterical multiple-voice chorus. The single, Icaros, sounds both lamenting and relentless, with another very memorable chorus. But the greatest gem of the album is Resign from Life. Everything comes together here; balls-to-the-walls groove, incredibly addicting melodic leads, Rainer's raw shouting which sounds truly pained and furious, it all fits together into one incredible rush of a song.
Diablo have hardly ventured out of Finland, but in the land of thousand lakes they've become capable of topping charts. They deserve that recognition outisde of their homeland as well, because while still not reinventing the genre, their materials manages to be easy to listen to while relentlessly dragging you along with the groove.