Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs
Progressive Metal | Swing | Symphonic Metal | Avant Garde
Besides having the single best album title you are ever likely to see, Pacifisticuffs is the most endearingly bonkers release of the year. Diablo Swing Orchestra have been floating on my periphery for a while now, they are band that I have heard great things about, and this new record shows them on fine form. Be it 30s swing, earth-shaking metal, elegant classical music, rollicking gypsy folk, or some snippet of another style entirely, DSO flit between genres like a hummingbird on Red Bull; never still, never satisfied. Sometimes it is to their detriment, as ‘Superhero Juggernath’ sadly tries to pack far too much into one song and strains close to breaking point. For the most part however the album is a rousing success. The manic disco of ‘Jigsaw Hustle’ and the bombastic pomp and theatricality of ‘Karma Bonfire’ stand out as the highlights of the record.
This album is the first outing for new vocalist Kristin Evegård, and while I’m sure there are fans that will miss the operatic input of AnnLouice Lögdlund, for me Kristin’s vocals better suit the elements I most enjoy, namely the sleazy swing found on tracks such as ‘Lady Clandestine Chainbreaker’. There are some incredible moments on this record that sound like DSO are the house band for an afterparty in some sultry circle of hell, even if the record as a whole feels a bit disjointed. There are a lot of brief interludes for instance that serve little purpose. The fact is however that this is fascinating album from a truly singular band. It takes a fair deal of patience and an open mind to get to grips with it, but it’s a listening experience that you’ll not soon forget.