At first sight, the Spanish band Diabulus in Musica sounds like yet another upstart in the Gothic / Symphonic Metal genre. Albeit a very talented one, judging by The Wanderer, their newest concoction.
The name of the band derives from the famous tritone that was banned by the Catholic church to be used in their heavenly concoctions. Or devilish things will happen to the congregation. Like The Goat that will make an appearance on the unsuspecting churchgoers or something.
It really sounds like we got new guys on the block, right?
Well kind of – and after their first album Secrets, The Wanderer is good progress. The production has a lot (or too much for my taste) of Epica in it. And they adopted many elements from early Nightwish and Within Temptation. Like many others have done before them.
The band’s charismatic front, Zuberoa Aznàrez, keeps a fresh wind blowing throughout the album. I am usually not a big fan of soprano singers in rock and metal, but here you will find a pretty good mix of different styles she masters. Albeit, she does tend to lean towards the bombastic at times.
Also, The Wanderer often veers way too close to a proper opera. And this is no good in a metal production. In other words, the record displays a certain confusion of identity at times that I find disturbing. For this review, it just about remained in our good graces.
And then we have that very same poppy demon that continually plagues Amaranthe, and which also exerts influence over this album. But does it really raise its ugly head for us to be worried? Well, kind of, but rest easy. This is by far not the out of control pop culture the latter displays.
Having said that and at second sight, The Wanderer is real good, complicated and very complex fare. The album sometimes veers into the cinematic, of a style the Lord of the Rings likes to occupy. Or a computer game soundtrack, if we really want to be mean. And that is a pity. I would have preferred a harder line, with much less bombast for this band and it would really take off.
The album is nevertheless an astounding mix of typical symphonic and gothic metal themes, combined with a few stray elements. And you get it all: From very airy stuff to death grunts, it’s all there.
This makes The Wanderer very complex to listen to. And in all honesty, you need to go at it a few times to really hear all the different nuances. ‘Tis not your usual portion of easy-peasy music consumption. And the album does not cease to surprise up to the very end.
Looking at it as a whole, Diabulus in Musica created a very good and very compelling chunk of epic Symphonic Metal. Fans of the genre will absolutely love it, whereas adepts of a harder line (like me) will want some more oomph in the production.
Yet even if this is so, I will continue to look for more output from this band.
Go and get it: