Dirge Of The Archons

Diabolus In Musica are a symphonic power metal band from Spain, forming in 2006 and releasing their debut album in 2010. Two further albums followed in 2012 and 2014 with their latest album, 'Dirge For The Archons' released in 2016.    
Symphonic metal combines the characteristics of heavy metal with elements of classical music, and will often include choirs, symphonic and/or orchestral instruments and more times that not, a female, classically trained vocalist. Throughout my many years of listening to heavy metal, this is a genre I have taken a wide berth around as the soaring female vocals made me shiver, not with excitement but with a "nah, not for me" sentiment. The likes of Nightwish, Within Temptation, Delain, Epica and Therion are the most well known and popular bands of this genre and while they are still "not for me" bands, there was something about Diabulus In Musica that caught my interest when I heard 'Earthly Illusions', the opening song to the new album. 'Earthly Illusions' delivers a heavy hitting and punchy bombastic blast that is up tempo and hard rocking. Massively influenced by the power metal genre, 'Earthly Illusions' takes a turn away from the symphonic genre, replacing the soaring vocals with simply powerful ones.    
'Marble Embrace' and 'Illusions' are both heavy hitting mid tempo foot stomps with 'Marble Embrace' having a surprise addition of death metal styled vocals. Picking up the pace, the bustling 'Crimson Gale' maintains the power metal vibe, yet the vocals take on a higher, more soaring and ultimately operatic feel. The quirky, circus styled intro that greets the listener as 'Ring Around Dark Fairies Carousel' rolls in, takes you to a place of fantasy, where masked figures and clowns prance around, lions prowl in cages, fire eaters, jugglers and unicyclists roam around ... and for a moment you just lose yourself in the moment. A moment that is shattered by 'A Speck In The Universe', as it gently swans in, the power metal influence disappearing and replaced by a mellow, almost melancholic feel. 'Hiding From You' tries its best to regain the early album vibe, but struggles with a lack of pace and bombast. A duel vocal performance does give 'Hiding From You' a different listening experience, but it was about now that my interest began waning and I realised just why I don't listen to this genre of music.    
With thirteen songs on the album, clocking in at fifty five minutes in length, 'Dirge Of The Archons' is good value. A thunderous opening as 'The Voice Of Your Dreams' got underway briefly raised my interest levels, only for them to drop as the song struggled to maintain its hard rocking beginning. 'The Hawk's Lament' is an effects laden one minute intro that leads into 'Bane', with its soulful, warbling vocal performance and a slow, down beat rhythm that does nothing to excite the senses. 'River Of Loss' takes on a heavy, doom laden and dark feeling as it pounds heavily on its way. It's a bit of a shame really, that the opening to the album promised so much with its hard rocking assault, blending power metal riffs with symphonic vocals, that as the album draws to a close, it goes off the boil a bit and I find myself hoping that it ends soon. And end it does with the ballad like 'Zauria', sung in the bands native language. I did have high hopes that this would be an album that could change my views on the symphonic metal genre, and for the first thirty or so minutes it did try very hard. But from then to the end, the excitement dissipated as the power metal influence had disappeared and that was really the only thing keeping my interest. Having said that though, the vocal performance was faultless, the song arrangements beautifully pieced together, but this will be an album in my collection, unlikely to ever be played again.    
Overall, a faultless vocal performance with some cracking power metal influences but lacking the addictiveness to maintain my interest levels from start to finish.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV