DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE
Melodic Black Metal / Black Metal • Sweden

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Diabolical Masquerade is the avant-garde black metal solo project of Anders Nyström (aka Blakkheim), guitarist for Katatonia and Bloodbath. Nyström wanted to have a band where he could compose more extreme music while Katatonia were exploring more mellow themes and moods.

All of the music on the first two albums were written and performed by Nyström, with guest vocal appearances from longtime collaborator Dan Swanö. Swanö later became an integral part of the project, as co-writer and co-arranger, performer, engineer, mixer and producer on the 'Nightwork' and especially 'Death's Design' albums.

Diabolical Masquerade has released four full length albums: Ravendusk In My Heart (1996), The Phantom Lodge (1997), Nightwork (1998) and Death's Design (2001).

Diabolical Masquerade was laid to rest in September of 2004. But recently Anders Nyström stated that he is working on a new Diabolical Masquerade album and he is also looking for more members for
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DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE Discography

DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.72 | 6 ratings
Ravendusk in My Heart
Black Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 3.62 | 9 ratings
The Phantom Lodge
Melodic Black Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.88 | 13 ratings
Nightwork
Melodic Black Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.74 | 15 ratings
Death's Design
Black Metal 2001

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DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE Reviews

DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE Nightwork

Album · 1998 · Melodic Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE is the solo project of Anders Nyström (aka Blakkheim), known for his work as the guitarist of Katatonia. Although he is often cited as the sole performer on this side project he in fact had help from a few friends. Most notably Dan Swanö from Edge of Sanity plays drums and other percussion, additional keyboards, backing vocals and is the the co-producer. Blakkheim handles the vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards. Others handle the cello and flute.

This album takes you on a stroll through the entire metal universe as it is based in old school black metal with the deranged monster vocals but much of the album also has symphonic embellishments. There are thrash metal leanings with galloping riffs, groove metal sections, traditional metal acoustic arpeggios and soloing and progressive time signatures with tons of keyboards and strange inserted extras including spoken words sounding like they are from Satan himself.

The ghostly atmospheric backings give this a really disquieting effect. The sound effects add strangeness such as a scratchy old record lp effect on “The Zkeleton Keyz To The Dead” or avant-garde vocalizations that pop out of nowhere every so often. The formula does remind a bit of Mr Bungle or Sigh in that the styles play for a while and then shift suddenly, however, DM has a smaller palette than the aforementioned groups tending to stick to using the metal genres with only meager sprinklings of non-metal influences which places this firmly in metal territory but because these metal subgenres are usually not sewn together in such a way, also gives this album a uniqueness that I have not heard anywhere else. Cool stuff.

DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE Nightwork

Album · 1998 · Melodic Black Metal
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Warthur
A solid symphonic black metal release from the Diabolical Masquerade side project, Nightwork succeeds in part because of what it isn't trying to do; presenting a brief, compact running time rather than the bloated discs often resorted to by symphonic metal bands means that the over-the-top orchestration of the album doesn't outstay its welcome. Veering deliriously between more traditional black metal sections and more symphonic moments, the album lures you in with accessible melodic black metal before slipping in a range of curious tangents that are easy to miss if the album isn't given your full attention. One that calls for repeated listens, in short, though at points it does feel a little vapid and show-offy.

DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE Death's Design

Album · 2001 · Black Metal
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Warthur
Diabolical Masquerade's most widely-praised album is a rapid-fire mishmash of musical genres, presented as the soundtrack to an imaginary film. Pay little attention to the track listing, because the various movements and songs within each movement seem to have been assigned to the work arbitrarily - as arbitrary, in fact, as the shifts between genres exhibited by the work itself. It's an impressive enough stunt, though to be honest the album as a whole never really grabs me - a lot of rough ideas are presented but they're never developed to the point where they really take off. It's still an entertaining listen thanks to its rapidly-changing texture, but it does rather rely on this basic gimmick a bit too much to become a true classic.

DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE The Phantom Lodge

Album · 1997 · Melodic Black Metal
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UMUR
"The Phantom Lodge" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish black metal act Diabolical Masquerade. The album was released in 1997 by Adipocere Records.

Diabolical Masquerade is a one man black metal solo project featuring Anders Nyström (who appears here under the Blackheim name). Blackheim is the guitarist and co-founder of Swedish doom/metal legends Katatonia. Katatonia is widely considered one of the most prolific doom metal acts of the early- to mid nineties with albums such as "Dance of December Souls (1993)" and especially "Brave Murder Day (1996)". They have later pursued a more subtle progressive/alternative rock/ metal style. Anders Nyström is also a member of Swedish death metal act Bloodbath which also feature among others Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Pan-Thy-Monium, Second Sky, Maceration, Unicorn, etc...) and Mikael Åkerfelt (Opeth).

The music that Blackheim creates for Diabolical Masquerade is very different from the sound of Katatonia, which should probably be considered his main act. Diabolical Masquerade is a vehicle for his black metal/heavy metal ideas. What you´ll be exposed to on "The Phantom Lodge" are raspy black metal vocals and lots of symphonic melodic black metal and traditional metal riffs. The traditional heavy metal is best heard in a song like "Ravenclaw" which actually reminded me a bit of the true metal style of Manowar, but early- to mid eighties thrash metal legends like Kreator, Sodom, Possessed, Slayer and Destruction are obviously a big influence too. The music on "The Phantom Lodge" is very symphonic though with lots of synth which is not a feature in the music of any of the mentioned bands. There is also a nordic folk feeling in some of the tracks which the flute playing by Tina Sahlstedt further enhances.

Blackheim is a great musician who handles both guitars, bass, keyboards/synths and vocals on the album while he is helped out by Sean C. Bates on drums and percussion. It´s great to have a "Real" drummer playing the drums as opposed to the programmed drums that somewhat mared the debut. Dan Swanö also helps out this time around, providing vocals to the track "Hater", which is another of the more traditional heavy metal sounding tracks on the album.

The production is a notch better than on the debut album but the drums still have a very strange sound to them that bothers me some. One of the greater assets when talking sound production is how well Blackheim various vocals are produced. Compared to the more lo- fi black metal productions this is a very professional and clean sound (without being polished).

If you like melodic and semi-symphonic black metal with lots of traditional heavy metal elements "The Phantom Lodge" is a recommendable listen. A 3.5 star rating is warranted.

DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE Ravendusk in My Heart

Album · 1996 · Black Metal
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UMUR
"Ravendusk in My Heart" is is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish black metal act Diabolical Masquerade. The album was released in December 1996 by Adipocere Records.

Diabolical Masquerade is a one man project band featuring Anders Nyström (who appears here under the Blackheim name). Blackheim is the guitarist and co-founder of Swedish doom/metal legends Katatonia and more recently Blackheim and Katatonia vocalist Jonas Renkse has also been involved with death metal act Bloodbath which also features Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Unicorn, etc...) and Mikael Åkerfelt (Opeth). Blackheim is definitely one of the most prolific Swedish metal artists in the last twenty years. While Katatonia drifted further and further away from extreme metal up through the nineties Blackheim still wanted to create extreme metal music and Diabolical Masquerade was for a period the vehicle for that ambition.

The music on "Ravendusk in My Heart" is melodic black metal with lots of traditional heavy metal elements. The tempo varies and ranges from blast beats to more slower paced parts. The vocals are mainly black metal rasps and they are delivered in a convincing manner. There are some additional goth type speaking in some of the tracks and also some more traditional heavy metal vocals in the song "Under The Banner Of The Sentinel". The vocals in "Under The Banner Of The Sentinel" are actually a nice break from the more traditional black metal rasps. The vocals sound almost like Rob Halford (Judas Priest). "Under The Banner Of The Sentinel" reminds me of a band like 3 Inches of Blood. The rest of the tracks are more in a similar black metal style but they are all very melodic and quite memorable too. There are lots of keyboard backing on all songs and that places "Ravendusk in My Heart" firmly in the symphonic black metal style (well... not as symphonic as Dimmu Borgir, but symphonic never the less).

Blackheim handles the instruments well but but I wish he would have hired a "real" drummer. The drums sound programmed to me and they are actually one of the few weak things on "Ravendusk in My Heart". They are very generic and I´m not sure I hear one fill anywhere (this is strongly exaggerated of course, but you get the point). The drums drag this album down a bit even though they are not a total distraction from the music.

The production is allright and listening to this again after a couple of years has made me appreciate it a bit more in fact. It´s not excellent but definitely not bad either.

"Ravendusk in My Heart" is all in all a pretty good album by Diabolical Masquerade and if you like your black metal with lots of traditional metal virtues and symphonic keyboards I find this album recommendable. A 3 - 3.5 star rating is warranted.

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