Power of Metal.dk Review

Diablo Swing Orchestra
Pandora's Piñata
Style: Avantgarde
Release date: 14 May, 2012
Playing time: 53:22

‘Piñata’ (pin-ya-ta) – a children’s party game popular in Spain

Describing an album by Diablo Swing Orchestra is one helluva tricky business. So when I struggled to articulate my thoughts on this full-length, I decided to list the music genres that “Pandora’s Piñata” touches on at one point or another. I came up with: Metal, Opera, Alternative Rock, Traditional Spanish, Prog Rock, Funk, Swing, Electro/Industrial, Folk…..

Album no.3 from DSO sees the band augment its musical mischief, taking the listener in one direction when the latter’s mindset has assumed the music is taking a totally different path. The level of musicianship is high, the sound quality excellent and this “Pandora’s Piñata” contains the best use of wind instruments I’ve ever heard from a contemporary band. Soprano Annlouice Loegdlund is in top form, as ‘Aurora’ testifies. ‘Aurora’ is a song that starts off as an Opera aria until it suddenly breaks into a middle-eastern sort of vibe, complete with hand percussion instrumentation. This brings me to another aspect of the album…..

Several songs in “Pandora’s Piñata” can be stylistically divided into 2, like a knife cleanly cutting a cake in half. Sometimes this works and other times it gives the album a bumpy feel. There are also some slightly gratuitous vocal effects, such as in ‘Exit Strategy…’ or ‘Black Messiah’.

But, minor gripes apart, what else is there to like in this album? Quite a lot actually, such as the heavy and tight-sounding riffs of ‘Exit Strategy…’, the fantastic orchestrations in ‘Justice For Saint Mary’ and the string arrangement that kicks off ‘Mass Rapture’. With the epic ‘Justice For Saint Mary’, DSO end the album in grand style – I loved the way DSO throw away whatever they’ve done before to end the album by….well, I’ll create a bit of suspense and leave you, the reader, to check that out for yourself.

If a gun was put to my head and I were forced to chose my favourite DSO album, I’d probably go for their debut - “Butcher’s Ballroom”. Of course this is not meant to discredit the role of “Pandora’s Piñata” in cementing DSO’s reputation as a hotbed of creativity and artistic excellence.

So come and join the party – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what’ll fall out of the bag.
01. Voodoo Mon Amour
02. Guerilla Laments
03. Kevlar Sweethearts
04. How to Organize a Lynch Mob
05. Black Box Messiah
06. Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball
07. Aurora
08. Mass Rapture
09. Honey Trap Aftermath
10. Of Kali Ma Calibre
11. Justice for Saint Mary
Label: Candlelight Records
Distribution: Plastic Head Music
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 3 May, 2012
Website: www.diabloswing.com