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Diabulus In Musica - 'The Wanderer' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/71/53/77/2090_diabulusinmusicathewanderer_1333990453.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 09, 2012    
 
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Awaited follow-up to 2010's painfully derivative 'Secrets'.

For all its extravagantly symphonic plus points, the awaited follow-up to 2010's painfully derivative 'Secrets' sees Diabulus still riddled with Epica trademarks. From instantly recognisable symphonies to guest grunts courtesy of Epica axeman Mark Jansen, it's clear that this influential connection is now a smidgen too close for comfort.

But, having been modelled on one of the finest goth metal outfits ever to grace the genre, this fresh full-length makes for undeniably melodious ear candy. And while talented soprano Zuberoa Aznárez frequently treads saccharine vocal territory, 'The Wanderer's' more flowery dynamics are artfully balanced with a generous measure of blistering aggression. Unexpectedly rich in gritty thrash and bloodcurdling snarls courtesy of Epica's Mark Jansen, 'Blazing A Trail' is by far the most original and sonically balanced feature of the album. Upping the aggression still further, 'Shadow Of The Throne' is a gloriously brutal call to arms in which battleground soundscapes explode into a breakneck-paced assault of crushing riffs and screams edged with exquisite baritone. Interchanging death grunts with equally commanding choral blasts, it's an incredibly accomplished balancing act that sees Diabulus In Musica make daringly original progress.

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While the same can hardly be said for the bulk of 'The Wanderer,' there's no denying the operatic beauty and supremely unified production with which it is furnished. At DIM's most polished and extravagantly classical, the string-laden likes of 'Ex Nihilio' are sure to bewitch goth metal traditionalists. Positively drenched in overblown, swashbuckling theatrics, these epic arrangements guarantee instantly appealing, if rather predictable listening pleasure.

With 'The Wanderer' distinctly lacking in original material, it's evident that DIM are still some way off discovering their own sonic identity. But despite these persistent sound-alike issues, this talented troupe should, judging by the album's exceptional standout moments, be breaking new ground in the not so distant future.

Faye Coulman

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