Swedish black metal band, Diabolical have released their latest effort, Eclipse. Eclipse was released on the 15th of February via Indie Recordings and represents Diabolical’s 5th full length album.
Diabolical have been releasing music at a pretty steady pace since their demo came out in 1997. With 5 albums, a compilation, a live album and 2 EPs, they are reasonably reliable at a release every couple years. Diabolical are a 4 piece with founding member Sverker “Widda” Widgren on guitars and vocals. Originally on drums but now full time vocals, it’s Carl Stjärnlöv and on bass and vocals it’s Dan Darforth. Finally, on drums we have Pär Johansson.
Eclipse starts off with the excellent single called We Are Diabolical. It is a great song and acts almost like an introduction to the band making it the perfect album intro. You can read our review of the single here. I really liked it.
The rest of the album hopefully lives up to it. Diabolical are a multi genre band, taking death and black metal but adding plenty of other elements. They certainly rip up the idea of traditional black metal in the vocal department. There are plenty of deep, guttural growls in here, don’t worry, but they also regularly switch to clean vocals too. Aside from that there are plenty of symphonic elements including orchestral backing and lashings of choir vocals. A bit more like a Dimmu Borgir than a Behemoth mostly.
Over the 9 songs on Eclipse you get a taste of all of that. The good news is there isn’t a bad song on the album. They aren’t all brilliant though, with a couple album fillers on here too. As often in these cases, if a band can push out 9 tracks with the only criticism being some of them are good instead of great, well I would take that. The great songs do outweigh the good with Black Sun particularly standing out. Making use of epic sounding guitar lines over a steady drum rhythm it sounds very grand from the off. Vocals are dark and intense with choruses seeing choir vocals come in and take turns with the blacker vocals. The riffs is nice and simple and sets a solid head banging pace with some well placed melodic guitar lines coming over the top.
Failure goes a little more old school with ripping drums and speed riffing mixed in with the viciously growled vocals. A little orchestral backing comes in as the vocals switch to an even deeper, dirty sound. A bit more speed comes in before a short orchestral with interlude builds up to an epic ending of thunderous drumming, ripping growls and choir backing through to the end. Betrayal has more symphonic goodness and some of the best melodic guitar lines on the whole album. The slow pound riff in the verses is excellent and the cleanly sung chorus is catchy and exciting.
Hunter has a glorious solo and more mesmerising melodic guitars throughout. It has a couple moments where everything stops for a few seconds leaving just a few piano notes before kicking back in with all instruments. It’s a clever and effective idea. Album closer Requiem has a lot going on especially in the first chorus where it sounds a little too cluttered. There are some amazing drum patterns in this one though, mainly in the verses. For the most part it is a good ending but not quite as exciting as some of the previous songs. I do like the fade out to piano melody though
Other songs that don’t quite hit the bar set by the better songs include Tyranni. A two and a half minute orchestral instrumental, the sort of thing I usually love but there isn’t much going on in this one that we don’t already hear in the tracks. Coming two songs from the end, it does little more than interrupt the albums momentum. Inception also doesn’t quite hit the high mark. It has moments. I love it’s intro but never really takes off. Perhaps hurt by the high quality of songs around it.
Eclipse is a seriously strong album though so don’t let my few negatives sway you from checking out this excellent addition to Diabolical’s catalogue. It’s hardly breaking the mould but is a damn fine symphonic black metal album with some 10/10 tracks scattered accross it alongside a handful of 9’s and 8’s. Eclipse is one of the better album releases of 2019 so far.
Eclipse is available now on all the usual streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify. You can also grab a physical copy from the band, here. Find out more about Diabolical at their website, on Bandcamp, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Eclipse by Diabolical (Indie Recordings)
The Final Score - 9/10