|Photo by: Amazon|
Key Tracks: "Voodoo Mon Amour," "Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball," "Honey Trap Aftermath"
Many addicted ACRN readers probably already know that I write ACRN’s “Into the Pit: A Metal Blog.” My blog is designed to inform our loyal readers about the subgenres of heavy metal music. So far I have covered subgenres ranging from traditional heavy metal to death metal. I’ve even written about the oh-so-glorious power metal as well as the dark murkiness that is sludge metal. I’ve covered a lot, and I plan on covering much more in the months to come.
There is one subgenre I’ve been debating about covering for some time now. The reason for this ongoing dispute inside my head is that there is only one band I’ve ever heard that plays it. The subgenre is called swing metal and the band is Diablo Swing Orchestra.
Diablo Swing Orchestra is a group of eight heavy metal musicians who play a wide variety of instruments that include the trombone, cello and trumpet. The idea of having horns and string instruments in a metal band is usually a taboo, but Diablo Swing Orchestra doesn’t care. The band embraces every taboo. The vocalists are even peculiar for a heavy metal band. The female vocalist is a woman who belongs in the opera, and the two men who sing belong on Broadway.
Diablo Swing Orchestra’s initial appearance is designed to fool any uninformed listener. However, once their music starts to play, there is no doubt that this is a true heavy metal band. Some of its music is aggressive and the traditional rock instrumentalists in the band play some heavy riffs. By combining that natural metal sound with orchestral instruments, the band has achieved an unlikely combination of brutal heavy metal and jazzy swing music.
The band struggled during its first two albums to find the perfect balance of heavy metal and swing music. Finally, on its third record Pandora's Piñata, Diablo Swing Orchestra's songwriting has improved to the point that it has finally found a natural sound. With that newly discovered musical flow, Pandora's Piñata proves to be an unforgettable experience.
The album begins with the classy first single “Voodoo Mon Amour.” The song is a danceable romp that focuses more on the swing side of the group. The catchy chorus makes it nearly impossible to sit still while listening.
From there, the album takes off. Diablo Swing Orchestra is clearly trying to surprise listeners with every move it makes, which keeps the album feeling fresh. One of the most exciting twists on the album is “Black Box Messiah,” which has a Japanese vibe to it. The song is genre bending to the extreme, but it works very well.
Following “Black Box Messiah” is “Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball,” one of the heaviest tunes on the album. The vocals are reminiscent of Matthew Bellamy from Muse, particularly during the somber sections of the song. The end of the tune explodes with one of the band’s vocalists screaming, “You’ll never see her again!”
The album continues to impress with highlights such as “Honey Trap Aftermath” and “Of Kali Ma Calibre,” both of which listeners will want to repeat again and again. The album all leads up to “Justice for Saint Mary,” which bursts forth into an unexpected electronic orchestral onslaught, ending the record with the ultimate climax.
Pandora's Piñata is a musical experiment that worked out way better than it should have. The musicians of Diablo Swing Orchestra have created one of the freshest and most musically bizarre albums of the year.
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