21 years and four full length releases later, amongst a splattering of EP’s a demo and a live album, sees this Swedish blackened death juggernaut spawn a new creation, namely ‘Eclipse’. Diabolical describe this as a concept album, which reflects on the dark side of humanity and forces you to explore your own diabolical side, and after surviving the aural assault of the album, I really can’t argue with that.
The album is complex and refined and it utilises the live choir of 20 vocalists to distil a beautiful level of craftsmanship which shows maturity and sophistication. ‘Eclipse’ opens up with ‘We Are Diabolical’ and switches between deep guttural growls and clean harmonious vocals with ease. It has layers of blast beats which are cut open with segments of melody and respite, and the choir is projected into the soul of this track and utilises masses of orchestral and symphonic arteries throughout.
The album continues with ‘Betrayal’ which is chugging throughout, showing exhibitions of technical and intricate fretwork. Widgren showcases his ability to land melodic clean vocals alongside the deep demonic growls with effortlessness, and these are spat out with ferocity and venomous intention.
‘Black Sun’ is a powerhouse of a track and has intricate guitar work alongside titanium drum work. Again, the vocals are flaunted with ease and they act as the catalyst to the ferocity and venom that the track exudes.
Diabolical seem to have a flawless makeup and recipe for ‘Eclipse’, and this continues in the same vain throughout the whole release. ‘Failure’, ‘Inception’ and ‘Hunter’ are all titans in their own rights and the musical craftsmanship is second to none. They are powerful behemoths and transverse the metal landscape with beauty and grace. ‘Tyranni’ rages from the offset and again combines beauty with malice; the guitar work is due a special mention on this one as Widgren and Stjarnlov work tirelessly together to weave a beautiful complex body of work.
‘The Fire Within’ is the penultimate track and shows no sign of tiring or weakening before the album closes with ‘Requiem’. ‘Requiem’ is out to make a statement and leave you battered and bruised with all 4 members combining on this one to bring on a deluge of masterful and commanding riffs and beats. The vocals are also no less seductive in their malevolent power and hatred.
This is an absolute brute of a release and combines light and dark, sun and moon, beauty and hatred with clinical precision. The orchestral strands and choir are used to full force and work brilliantly with the power of the rest of the band. This really is a masterclass in versatile, intense and exquisite metal and it genuinely is a must for any lover of the beautiful black arts.
Diabolical will surely be a highlight on the forthcoming SepticFlesh and Krisiun European tour package later in the year, in the meantime though, this little beauty needs to be front and centre and a vital addition to your music library. You won’t be disappointed.
(9/10 Phil Pountney)