Diabolical Figures

Written by: PP on 17/08/2009 17:30:01

When it comes to black metal, I find something like Graveworm's new album "Diabolical Figures" infinitely more interesting than the majority of the stuff that gets reviewed in the genre at The reason for that is simple: Graveworm doesn't just play regular black metal, they play a subgenre of a subgenre called symphonic black metal. Now this means four very important differences: 1) the vocals don't fall under the generic shriek category, 2) the guitars are a million times more interesting than the constant tremolo shredding most bands in the genre possess, 3) the symphonic keyboards create a sense of immediacy and function as permanent attention grabbers, and, 4) the sound as a result is much, much brighter though still maintaining the required sense of desperation for the genre.

Lets start with the guitars, then, which rally through a set of technical riffs that are supported by at times brilliant percussion (see "Circus Of The Damned"). The majority of the time they contain enough rough melody to almost justify labeling the band melodic death metal - half the time I'm thinking that this is the new Enter My Silence record that I'm still waiting for eagerly. Especially the excellent The Police cover "Message In The Bottle" contains so much melody that there's really no way around of calling it a melodic death metal song (NB, take note here). These alone would make Graveworm's expression worth listening to, but then as an added pleasure, the band has thrown in Dimmu Borgir styled haunting black metal symphonies through excellent use of synths. Each time they make an entrance behind the rest of the instruments they act as the highlight of the songs that are already full of highlights.

Then there's the dual vocals, which are the final straw in making me like this record. The first guy - the lead vocalist - reminds me of the dominating voice of the guy from Cattle Decapitation though perhaps less monstrous. He's then challenged by the slightly more melodic shriek of the backup vocalist who brings in an interesting mix of Skeletonwitch and The Black Dahlia Murder, and together these two further ensure that your ears are paying attention the whole time. Not that they wouldn't anyway considering the Children of Bodom-esque keyboard and lightning speed riffage on "Hells Creation", or the beautiful, Dark Tranquillity style misery on the balladic "Forlorn Hope". Sure, Graveworm might not be reinventing the wheel when it comes to symphonic black metal or any sort of symphonic metal for that matter, but they sure as hell deliver it convincingly. One of my favorites from this genre in a while.

Download: Forlorn Hope, Vengeance Is Sworn, Message In A Bottle
For the fans of: The Black Dahlia Murder, Dimmu Borgir, Enter My Silence
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.06.2009
Massacre Records

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