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Satan Metal with a Touch of Humor, Hmm... - 78%

DeafSparrow, October 17th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Hells Headbangers Records

This review was originally posted on Deaf Sparrow's Facebook page on 29 March 2016. Written by Stanley Stepanic.

I like when art grabs my attention, and this debut from Greece's Diavolos clearly did, otherwise I wouldn't be wasting my time. This one was released in 2015 by Hells Headbangers on CD and vinyl. Considering this is the band's first and only release, clearly the label knew something about them before anyone else, or had contacts with them, because these guys have been in so many different bands it isn't even funny (look it up).

But there's also something funny about "You Lived Now Die", which is clearly going for the "humorous" approach to Satanic death metal. Pretty sure I haven't come across that yet, so yay. It's obvious from the cover, which references Exciter's "Heavy Metal Maniac", but there are lots of references here to the classic era of death metal when Satan didn't just seem annoying, including a ender that's a nod to Possessed's "Death Metal."

So it's clear these guys lived in the era, because "You Lived Now Die" sounds like it's straight from the 80s, and it's pretty effective in that regard. There's an echoing quality to the vocals and under-produced frailty to the music that is easily confused for another time. What it doesn't do is anything beyond that. It's self-aware, but the question is, of course, then what? Sure, I can dig classic Satanism in metal, but if I really want classic qua classic, wouldn't I just listen to something actually from the 1980s? Diavolos has a superb sound that captures the essence of the entire decade, but they build nothing further on top of it, instead presenting it largely unaltered with some more impressive solos. There's much more that could be done. They're on to something with this "humorous", tongue-in-cheek approach, but because it has yet to fully form into something recognizable in and of itself, and not just an album that references the 80s, it's easy to sometimes take it as more fun than serious. Overall, though, great riffs, in the classic sense, and easy to consume for all your hails. "Baptized in Vomit" should be practically all you need, but do give the others a listen.

Denim and Leather or Die - 86%

TheStormIRide, November 3rd, 2015

Formed by vocalist Tas Danazoglou (Satan’s Wrath, ex-Electric Wizard) and bassist Taneli Jarva (ex-Impaled Nazarene, ex-Sentenced), Diavolos is a project based in Greece that aims at throwback metal in its finest form. The lineup is rounded out by Nik Angelopoulos (Mahakala) and Bill El (Principality of Hell, Nergal and Thou Art Lord) on guitars and K. Savvi on drums. With a sound that heralds early Bathory, Possessed and Master, the band’s debut album, You Lived, Now Die, is a ripping run through a time when death, thrash and black metal all drank deeply from the same well.

Unabashedly worshiping that the throne of the so-called proto-death metal scene of the early ’80s, Diavolos revels in that thaumaturge concoction of rollicking percussion, sweltering riffs and frantic growled vocals scraped from the abyss. Even the cover art is an homage to Exciter’s classic Heavy Metal Maniac, yet with a bit of old goat metal flair. Some tracks, like the opener, “Diavolos Rising”, sound like the blackened love child of Venom and early Slayer with just a dose of Exciter, while “Curse, Bleed, Die” merges Killer era Iron Maiden galloping with the ravenous riffing of Onslaught and Possessed. Filthy yet harmonized speed metal licks collide with furious thrashing and blistering, heavy handed death metal.

While the band’s sound is rooted in the sounds of past, You Lived, Now Die boasts a crisp production that highlights the savage riffing and frenetic rhythm section. The vocals are deep and gravelly, yet manage to not overpower the caustic amalgamation of old school metal. It’s impressive that the band can play this style of nostalgic death metal and still sound relevant and not like some rehashed, watered down album that came three and a half decades late. A few surprising moments are scattered throughout, but the band mostly sticks with a pummeling blend of death, thrash and speed metal with a blackened air. You Lived, Now Die brings that archetypal Hells Headbangers sound, blending all things heavy into a fiery blast of heavy fucking metal. Denim and leather or die.

Written for The Metal Observer.