DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA
Avant-garde Metal • Sweden

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Diablo Swing Orchestra is a Swedish avant-garde metal band. The band was formed in 2003.

Members: Daniel Håkansson – guitars, vocals (since 2003) Pontus Mantefors – guitars, effects (since 2003) Annlouice Loegdlund – vocals (since 2003) Andy Johansson – bass (since 2003) Johannes Bergion – cello (since 2003) Petter Karlsson – drums (since 2010)

Former MembersAndreas Halvardsson – drums (2003–2010) The origin of the name of the band is related both on their website and on their CDBaby description page. The back-story recounts a historically questionable, though amusing, ancestral story beginning in 16th century Sweden. Supposedly, ancestors of the band members performed orchestral works in defiance of the ruling church at the time (possibly the newly installed protestant Lutheran national church, in power during the mid and late 16th century). The orchestra was forced to go into hiding, performing in secret, with the assistance of oppressed peasants during the era. After years of performing for the
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DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA Discography

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.14 | 26 ratings
The Butcher's Ballroom
Avant-garde Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 4.14 | 24 ratings
Sing Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious
Avant-garde Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.06 | 15 ratings
Pandora's Piñata
Avant-garde Metal 2012

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.10 | 2 ratings
Borderline Hymns
Avant-garde Metal 2003

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA live albums

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DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA Reviews

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA The Butcher's Ballroom

Album · 2006 · Avant-garde Metal
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Warthur
Diablo Swing Orchestra's basic schtick was pretty well codified on this debut album: take some lukewarm metal, apply influences from prog and swing, ladle on some operatic vocals and serve with melodrama. It's fun and all, but I find it wears thin over the course of an entire album taking this general approach. The Orchestra is clearly a technically gifted crew, though, and individual songs are enjoyable in small doses, but it feels like a mash-up too far - like if they did opera-swing, or metal opera, or swing metal, it'd work better than this attempt at operatic swing metal.

The album was made freely available via Creative Commons, though, so no harm in checking it out to see if it's more to your taste than mine.

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA The Butcher's Ballroom

Album · 2006 · Avant-garde Metal
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siLLy puPPy
In the world of experimental and avant-garde metal, one can hardly know what to expect and more often than not, a band digs deep into the recesses of experimentation only to conjure up some type of music that is dense and complex and requires some serious investment of time and energy in order to find a footing in the newly created sonic universe that they have constructed. And then there’s bands like Sweden’s DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA that not only catches your attention from the very first seconds of first contact but manages to suck you in and enjoy the music from the get go and when all has been played and you have a chance to reflect upon the crazy combo effect of the music at hand, you will ask yourself “It’s such a logical combination of things, why hasn’t someone thought of this before?” DSO is one of those blender bands that takes everything including the kitchen sink approach, alloys all kinds of disparate musical styles and throws them into a salad bowl and then tosses all the components around until they form a whole new form of musical expression.

While this music is primarily based on a healthy supply of metal guitar riffing married with the jump blues and swing revival scene that was all the rage in the 1990s and graced with the female classical soprano diva vocals of AnnLouice Lögdlun belting out operatic enunciations like there’s no tomorrow, the music also incorporates all sorts of other styles including Flamenco guitar, Middle Eastern, spaghetti western, surf rock as well as good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll. THE BUTCHER’S BALLROOM is the full-length debut album but technically isn’t the band’s debut release since a four track EP titled “Borderline Hymns” came out in 2003, a full three years before this album. However, BALLROOM contains all four tracks from that debut EP thus rendering it completely irrelevant and a mere footnote in history. They haven’t even been re-recorded or anything so in effect this one could very well be considered the debut.

THE BUTCHER’S BALLROOM is divided up into two Acts which are supposed to represent some sort of story line but i honestly have no friggin’ clue as to what these two divided themes are all about. They probably have some reference to the band’s tongue-in-cheek approach to creating a completely faux mythology regarding their timeline which purportedly begins with their ancestral history that goes all the way back to 16th century Sweden. The current band is supposed to be the ancestors of past band members who created diabolical music that was strictly forbidden by the Lutheran church. The tale becomes more elaborate as the members of this secret musical organization had to go into hiding for centuries up until the right time would allow the inheritor’s of this secular music to expose their musical world to the public. Well, wait no longer, DOS is here to stay!

While all these styles sound like a possible road to disaster and very likely could have been if DOS weren’t so skilled in how they pull all these disparate styles off. Daniel Håkansson is the sole songwriter on this one and clearly has the knack of knowing just how much of the different ingredients to add to this musical salad and just like a fine cuisine knows when too much lettuce and too many tomatoes can throw off the balance of the whole. It’s fairly uncanny in how accessible the music is upon first listen but has ways of letting you dig deeper into the song constructs once the initial WOW factor has waned. In addition to the aforementioned styles that dominate THE BUTCHER’S BALLROOM, the listener will also be floored with all sorts of other instruments that aren’t supposed to work here but somehow do. A didgeridoo can be heard accompanying surf rock and jazzy opera singing. Flamenco dances side by side with electronica and cellos happily accompany heavy distorted metal riffs.

The trick to enjoy DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA’s conglomerating mass of styles is to not become too enthralled in any one particular genre style. While often fitting into the vague descriptive category of avant-garde metal, this is definitely no headbanger’s paradise as metal is not the dominate force on this one but more of an accompanying sound effect to wrap itself around the dominating gypsy swing, classical and jazzy undertones that swing from one musical thread to another. This is simply wild and crazy stuff and the only band that comes to mind with their ability to mix and meld so many styles and still create a very melodic and musical experience is the Japanese band Sigh. THE BUTCHER’S BALLROOM truly was like no other album or band that came before. DOS truly found a total unique identity from their inception and nothing else has even come close to copying it and with a lineup that includes not only guitars, bass, drums and keys but ample extras such as lute, flute, cello, double bass, violin as well as a few ethnic touches here and there, you know you’re in for a wild ride unlike another other. Love it!

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA Borderline Hymns

EP · 2003 · Avant-garde Metal
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siLLy puPPy
BORDERLINE HYMNS is technically the debut release by DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA and came out a full three years before they would release their first full-length album “ The Butcher’s Ballroom.” This EP contains only four tracks and all of them would be included on the first full-length release thus rendering this one completely irrelevant and a mere footnote in history and therefore could be considered only a demo of sort despite being released as a full fledged CD. While the music on this is totally excellent, this is basically inessential given that the tracks are all included on “The Butcher’s Ballroom.” I struggle as how exactly to rate this. Excellent music plus inessential seem to equal 3 stars. For descriptions of the music itself go to my review for “The Butcher’s Ballroom.”

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA Pandora's Piñata

Album · 2012 · Avant-garde Metal
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Warthur
Diablo Swing Orchestra offer up exactly what they imply in their bad name: they combine the devil's own metal with, of all things, the classic sepia-toned sound of big band swing, with a flair for the dramatic and a big sound to add a little orchestral gravitas. The cartoonish collision of disparate genres represented here certainly wins points for originality, though personally I found this album is diminished by repeated listens - once the novelty of their schtick begins to fade they offer a flashy cross-genre sound but not much emotionally resonant substance to give meat and long-term staying power to their music.

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA Pandora's Piñata

Album · 2012 · Avant-garde Metal
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arcane-beautiful
I have to admit...this band has flown by me these past few years. But thank the lord for relationships because they definitely bring in new music.

I have to admit, when first hearing this band, one of my first thoughts was, “Oh luck...a gimic band.” But, as I was shown more and more stuff from this band, I was slowly becoming more impressed and becoming rather guilty at liking the very odd mix of swing and metal.

Now, most people associate these guys as “swing metal.” Now, to a degree they are, but they are so more. Basically, these guys aren't afraid to dip their toes into a lot different genres, with a lot of surprises throughout.

Musically the band is just perfect. With an incredibly large ensemble, making rather complicated music could seem a challenge, but these guys pretty much are able to take a lot of styles and fuse them together without worry.

The opener “Voodoo Mon Amour” is the perfect opener for the album. With a very catchy chorus and a danceable groove, this song just makes you want to get on a table and dance like your in the 50s.

The single that was released from the album “Black Box Messiah” is a very odd and interesting song. With a chorus that sounds like every J-Pop song compressed into one and some rather odd instrumentation throughout just add to the oddness of the song. Also, if you don't mind having an epileptic seizure, I recommend you watch the music video for this song.

One of the biggest highlights on the album has to be “Aurora.” Very much an aria, the song is a beautiful blend of orchestration with an absolutely jaw dropping mezzo soprano from Annlouice (Tarja...eat your heart out).

“Honey Trap Aftermath” is definitely one of the more easy listenable songs on the album with a very funky bassline on it. The mix of male and female vocals go very well together.

My personal favourite track has to be “Of Kali Ma Calibre.” This has to be one of the best symphonic metal songs I have heard in the past few years, and probably of all time. With an incredibly boisterous vocal performance from Annlouice and an absolutely astounding instrumental performance, taking power and rhythms to new heights.

The final track, “Justice For Saint Mary” is an epic blend of an acoustic ballad and an over the top orchestra. With a beautiful falsetto based vocal from Daniel, the song is an absolute masterpiece. The ending, which received a lot of mixed looks with the dubstep sounding electronic bits. Personally, I really like it and I think it's an insane way to end an album.

In conclusion, these guys are doing something very different to what most bands are doing now. They're fun, enjoyable and very entertaining. Musically they are spot on, vocally they blend styles very well and they compose some pretty impressive music. The album seems to be their best effort so far, and only shows that this band's next release will just be as exciting as this album.

8.7/10

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