DIABULUS IN MUSICA MAKE MUSIC FOR THE AGES IN 'DIRGE OF THE ARCHONS'
Diablus In Musica: 'Dirge For The Archons'
Out Now (Napalm Records)
Words: Ian Sutherland
Spanish symphonic Metallers Diabulus In Musica have come a long way since their debut album 'Secrets' was released in 2010. Dubbed by some as the Spanish Epica, as much because of the fact that ex-Epica guitarist Ad Sluijter and then Epica producer Sascha Paeth were involved in the mixing and mastering of the album as the similarities sound wise.
Since that album they have stuck unashamedly to their symphonic Metal guns. Continually working on crafting their own sound and fulfilling the musical vision of founding member and lead singer Zuberoa Aznarez and keyboard player and guitarist Gorka Elso, 'Dirge Of The Archons' their fourth full length release sees them reaching new heights.
Archons is an ancient word with several different meanings including alien and a kind of ruler and is used here in the context of the legends of Atlantis, the archons being rumoured as being the creators of the legendary lost city. Lyrically then this is an album of songs inspired by mystery and legend and lost worlds, all subjects which let the musicians indulge in that sense of epic grandeur which is what attracts bands to the symphonic style of Metal in the first place.
'Earthly Illusions' starts things off in a supercharged riffing style before settling in to a succession of time changes allowing Zuberoa Aznarez to show she can carry the gentler parts of their songs with her warm, mellow tones but still be heard over the band at full tilt.There are plenty of choirs used throughout the song too and it has to be said that the sound isn't a million miles away from where Epica currently are, but the quality of the song shines through.
The likes of 'Marble Embrace' and 'Crimson Gale' also tick all the quality symphonic Metal boxes but it's when the band try moving into different musical territory that they really start to stamp their own authority on proceedings. 'Invisible' has a galloping, rolling gait to it, mixing different rhythms and subtle twists and turns into something special. "You're a crazy dancer in an empty stage" goes the lyric and the song brings that atmosphere to life nicely.
'Ring Around Dark Fairies' Carousel' is exactly the mad circus of a song the title suggests with some really nice keyboard and vocal hooks that work their way creepily into your brain while 'Hiding From You' includes some really nice clean melodic male vocals in a duet with the the female lead before letting the obligatory grunts back into the equation.
You do have songs which are well written and strong and memorable but the band seem happy to have sit sweetly in symphonic Metal safe spots such as the mellow balladry of 'Bane' but it's when they get more ambitious as in the gradually building 'The Voice Of Your Dreams' and the totally epic 'The River Of Loss' that they are at their most impressive. It's a nice touch that closing track 'Zauria' is in their native Spanish too.
'Dirge For The Archons' doesn't break too much new ground, lovers of symphonic Metal will recognise exactly what these Spaniards are trying to do. They do manage to add some little touches of personality and their own culture here and there though and the quality of the song writing and the musicianship is very high. They really are saying to the Finnish and Dutch giants of the genre that Spain can kick symphonic metal ass too. Well worth a listen as this is a band who are coming of age.
'Invisible' had it's World Premiere here on MetalTalk on 11th November right here.