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Not a Terrible Listen... - 60%

lord_ghengis, June 11th, 2007

I'm probably not the best person to review this album, as my Black Metal knowledge and experience is pretty much zero. But I'm still pretty sure that this isn't standard black metal. Basically, the album consists of 8 slow moving songs which all overstay their welcome. The first two song's aren't bad. Definitely the most radio-friendly songs on offer, but that's the strength of them. Sure, they're slow and not overly complex. But at least they're catchy and kind of melodic. Most of the last six songs are slow moving, pretty simple songs, which do little but trigger headaches with complete lack of rhythm or musicality. Apart from the occasional good riff it's just painful random notes. Along with the vocals getting more random and less interested in what's being played.

There is a few good parts to be found around the album. Every song from "The Pentagram Burns" to "That Darkness Shall Be Eternal" have one or two of these. But it's hardly a high rate of success. Also, almost every song seems to have a segment made purely to annoy. The title track has a pointless minute in the middle where nothing really happens, just a few trombones or something. Most songs have sections where nothing really happens for 20 - 30 seconds around the middle, but none as long as the first song, and they NEVER work.

Even with this, the album is at least listenable, until you get to the last two songs. They're longer, have more brass instruments, are slower, and worst of all have vocals which don't make sense. Basically, the music plods along as the singer screams out the title as loudly and randomly as possible. It's seriously just a yell, it's not a 'musical scream', and for that reason, Delirium and To The Mountains leave a very bitter taste in your mouth, or more accurately ears.

Musically the band is really quite bland. It's all slow chugging post-black metal, with the occasional tremolo picked section thrown in, but still played at a snails pace. The first two songs are more, Black 'n' Roll I guess you'd call it. Featuring more straight up rock riffs, with a lot of drive which easily makes up for the lack of technicality. So if you heard either of those songs, which are cleverly the easiest ones to get a hold of for free, be warned that the rest of the album isn't remotely similar.

The drum work is generally pretty basic. There's a little blasting on a couple of the tracks, but overall it just keeps time. And considering the fact that all these songs are slow and around the same tempo, it does get a little boring.

Which leads me to my next point, none of the songs have an identity, an individual purpose or goal for the song to reach. They all just seem like the band wanted to make some post-black metal, and they wrote a few riffs, shared the good ones out evenly, and filled each song up to an acceptable length with very similar sounding crap. The problem is none of the songs have anything drastically different from one another. The first two songs have that rock influence, but all the others just sound like the core sound of a post-black sound, with nothing giving them any real features to make them stand out.

Finally, we have the vocals. I for one find Satyr very good. Hes not piercing, it's just a good scream, it generally seems to sit on a pitch in between black and death metal and is quite easy to distinguish words. His lyrics aren't stunning, but they're not bad either, so the fact you can understand what he's saying is a nice touch.

The production is pretty clean, not exactly standard Roadrunner clean, but still quite clear. The guitars are a little fuzzy, but not so much that it distracts from the music. Overall the album has a pretty good sound. The drums are quiet, but they do sound natural so it all sort of works. Other than the quiet drums everything is mixed quite nicely. The vocals are only over powering and grating on the last two songs, and other than that fit in fairly well.

Really, Now, Diabolical isn't a bad album, it's got 6 songs which are worth listening to, admittedly only two that I'd bother putting on a CD for, but it's not that bad. The main problem is the last two songs. They really make you forget all the good. In fact I was going to tear into this album, but as I listened to the album again as I wrote, I realised that other the last two songs, everything is listenable. There is a drop of quality very early, but it's not as bad as I originally thought. There is a fair amount of good here, and the song's don't run into each other or anything, it's simply the lack of anything to make the songs stand out from one another, or to give them energy, or just to make them enjoyable. So, from someone who can't compare it to earlier work, don't pay for this.