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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.