Diabulus in Musica: The Wanderer

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Diabulus in Musica: The Wanderer
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Diabulus in Musica: The Wanderer
Gothic Metal, Symphonic Power Metal
Napalm Records
March 6th, 2012
Release length: 54:49
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Diabulus in Musica is easily one of the most overlooked bands of their style so far. Then again, this is largely because the group has only issued their debut album in 2010, which wasn’t really met with the most resounding a press coverage. However, much of that will more than likely change for this Spanish Symphonic Power Metal and Gothic Metal act with their follow-up, The Wanderer, due out through Napalm Records. Boasting a length of just under fifty-five minutes, you clearly get plenty of quantity for your buck, but does this effort shadow their debut and match the length of material with an equal, if not more, amount of quality?

The Wanderer has a pretty crisp audio quality to it, but still holds a deeper, kind of muddied tone to the final product that helps, as well as hurts the instruments here. The guitars are tuned down low with a pretty strong distortion, and the bass shines through very loudly, almost dwarfing the aforementioned contributions. This actually changes things up quite a bit, causing the guitars to sound more like they are backing up the bass in some instances, such as during the marching passages of “Shadow of the Throne.” The cymbals don’t really sound too great, coming off tinny when not hit hard enough to have a decent crash captured on the audio. The snares are a lot clearer in comparison, and again sound deeper with a nice thickness to them against a louder click in the bass kicks. The vocals are captured well too, though the clean females and guttural males are a little lower in volume, allowing the instruments to wash over them slightly. However, the epic vocals that come up from the keyboard passages carry a much more volumous sound to them, which is thanks to the vibrant symphonic passages of the keyboard.

In fact, one of the most impressive elements of this recording comes from the keyboard and additional Symphonic elements. The atmosphere that all of it makes can really change the tone of the album, from being a simple beauty of natural audio samples, folk-driven instrumental hymns, to a battle-ready declaration to march best fitting for a top-budget motion picture. Two of these are felt one after the other on “A Journey’s End (Intro),” a superb mixture of beauty and fantasy that hammers into “Ex Nihilo,” offering up a strong, faster paced package of epic operatic vocals, somewhat crushing faster music, and a mandate to head bang right along with the suiting female choir chanting. Unfortunately not all of the track carries that same powerful energy, resorting more to a medium pace for the main verses with a standard female lead performance, but it still holds a hopeful atmosphere with a decent amount of beauty until the faster riffs and drumming kicks back in with male gutturals. But this doesn’t necessarily establish the dominant sound of the album.

“Blazing a Trail” finds some really catchy material that touches the Melodic Death Metal style that really just make the song next to the memorable chorus. The additional male vocals are kept to a limit, as are the operating female chants, but the impact this song has is undeniable. The subtle addition of tamborines to the chorus really stand out, and are a representation of the finer touches that seem to come through on here. This does represent some of the material, but this is the most infectious of all the songs here. The rest try to vary power and beauty, such as “Allegory of Faith, Innocence and Future,” which is a superb slower track with a much stronger female lead performance. The keyboards give it an upbeat feeling as well. There’s also “Sentenced to Life,” which feels like it should be where the more passionate instrumental “Call from a Rising Memory (Intro)” should have been. The classical instruments arranged in a manner that creates a Gothic, yet slightly Folk Metal ballad stands out strong, a fantastic addition to the traditional mid-tempo pace that makes up much of the album. This also pushes a more traditional duet approach, having more male vocals in a cleanly sung manner, and both voices performing together with a well executed emotional harmony.

The Wanderer isn’t the most spellbinding album you’ll find for the Symphonic Power Metal style, or even the Gothic Metal genre, but it’s still a damn good release. Diabulus in Musica put a strong effort forward, and aside some technical issues with sound on the drum kit, there isn’t much to really complain about. If this is the style of music that interests you, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t check out this follow-up album from Diabulus in Musica.

01. A Journey’s End (Intro) – 2:15
02. Ex Nihilo – 5:32
03. Sceneries of Hope – 3:51
04. Blazing a Trail – 4:03
05. Call from a Rising Memory (Intro) – 1:18
06. Hidden Reality – 4:43
07. Shadow of the Throne – 4:45
08. Allegory of Faith, Innocence and Future – 5:20
09. Sentenced to Life – 5:03
10. Oihuka Bihotzetik – 4:52
11. No Time for Repentance (Lamentatio) – 8:29
12. The Wanderer – 4:38
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Diabulus in Musica (Band)
Diabulus in Musica (Logo)Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.