It’s quite an enjoyable experience when an artist you’ve never heard of has a very similar sound to artists you already know, especially if they’re one of the big names in the scene. There are a handful of artists this album can be compared to and I think the results are massively pleasing.
Initially, the album cover attracted me to check out, Diabolica, the sixth release from Belgium metallers, Iron Mask on AFM Records. Flaming violins, a demonic conductor and more, it was obvious this album was going to be in the Neoclassical territory in addition to some epic and classic metal elements injected into this piece. In all honesty, I felt this album was more on the power and classic metal side. Personally, this album sounds like if Dio and Heaven & Hell intertwined with Iron Maiden. Normally, epic elements and just over the top shocking moments really get my adrenaline pumping but again, this is a simple album that really didn’t have the one epic moment or really triggered any eargasms for the most part. The album takes many famous historical characters in it’s themed songs thus giving the album another perspective to take in.
It doesn’t get any more catchy on the album than with, I Don’t Forget, I Don’t Forgive. There are some pretty catchy hooks with riffs that are clearly synonymous with power metal. Vocalist, Diego Valdez, who is also associated with Yngwie Malmsteen, really gives this song some character to it, though you may want to hang on until later when he really begins to shine. Oliver Twist, has a more happy go feel to it. I was not expecting something energetic and cheery as this track, so that totally threw me off-guard. There is lot’s more drumming, with this one and the lyrical content of course is a visitation to a moment in time, but really it’s the strong riffs and high strung progression that had me chime into this one. On the contrary, the atmosphere gets very dark and evil in the track aptly titled, The Rebellion of Lucifer. This is the track where what sounds like Iron Maiden meets Heaven & Hell. There riffs are very slow, almost doomy as well as being down-tuned, classic metal and then the pièce de résistance, Lucifer’s vocals make an appearance creating a demonic atmosphere. I was pretty stoked at this point.
The First And The Last, (quite an interesting title), still retains a slow ambience that comes with a side of sappy and sentiment. One thing is clear with this track, its chorus is one of the catchiest of the album. You might question how can a depressing song be catchy, well you just have to experience it to find out. This is where vocalist, Diego Valdez, really showcases his vocal talents, he finally let go and releases his beast within by this time into the album. Of course the album wouldn’t be complete in it’s claim of epic vocation with a thirteen-minute track to end it all titled, Cursed In The Devil’s Mill.
I was a just a tad, tad bit let down with this one. Normally, tracks of such length tend to be vivid and wild, at least in past experiences with other artists. I understand, it’s quite the feat and challenge to make a track as interesting as possible with a time frame of such extremity but at one point it just got too repetitive. Alas that’s just personal preference, I am sure others would be a little easier to please. The latter half of the track gets pretty tasty, especially in the last few minutes where we witness and listen to the heaviest moments of the album a la headbanger territory. Why couldn’t have this moment appeared more often than not throughout the album? I forgot to mention too that the majority of the track is instrumental with vocals making an occasional appearance, definitely in the progressive realms.
Though a generous amount of the tracks stick to at least six-minutes, for now I think it would be a safe alternative to stick to normal length songs such as some of their former releases. There was not much that stuck out after reflecting on Diabolica, other than being a standard album. For those already familiar with power metal, all I can say is that this album is nothing different. Perhaps exchanging a lengthier track for a normal length track that didn’t make it onto the album might of offset things but nonetheless an overall solid release from the Belgian metallers. Stay Metal \m/
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