Album Review: Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Piñata

What do you get when you take a traditional jazz swingtime sound and overlay it with a metal guitar riff? The answer is Diablo Swing Orchestra.

This eight piece band from Sweden takes symphonic metal to a whole new level. Pandora’s Piñata is their third studio release and takes the listener on a musical journey. This isn’t a band that the straight down the line metalhead is going to listen to when they want to get their metal on.

This is a listening experience. With a heavy influence of traditional swing and jazz elements throughout the composition and the vocals. Annlouice Loegdlund  has a haunting soprano voice which carries across the instrumental with a grace and elegance not often found in metal, at times she drifts into an operatic break, whilst questionable given the genre, beautiful nonetheless.

These softer and more rhythmic elements are starkly contrasted with intense metal outbursts containing heavy drums and splintering guitar riffs which take the tracks into a new realm of existence. There is a sense that this band is endeavouring to open up a new world of sound and emotion to it’s listeners.

Exit Strategy Of A Wrecking Ball is the most ‘metal’ track on the album, but they all have elements of the metal interspersed throughout them. Aurora is the least metal, but most interesting with elements of opera, jazz, and folk. Using a variety of instruments to make it’s point.

This is the sort of music I would have loved to play, I was traditionally trained and moved into playing more jazz and swing as I progressed but the Clarinet and Saxophone don’t lend well to metal…or so I thought. Bands like this show me with some imagination and composition anything is possible!

This isn’t going to appeal to the metal community as a whole, it is a very specific form of symphonic metal and is going to have it’s supporters and it’s critics. What it lacks in raw metal, it makes up for in imagination, originality and composition.

This is one of the best, all be it risky, avant-garde bands I’ve come across yet.

Pandora’s Piñata is released May 22nd on Candlelight Records

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