Diabolical – Umbra (2016)


Sweden’s Diabolical are the definition of unknown heroes of the underground. This exactly is why I started ATF, to shed some well deserved light on such bands. Formed in 1998, they have four full length albums under their belt, and I believe this year they are about to add another one to the count.

From the very first minutes of this EP they give the stigma of their brand of melodic blackened death metal, but their music is so multifaceted that under this veil hide a true chameleon. Even before the first song reaches its end, the mood changes, setting the stage for the follow up, and this repeats for the whole duration. Through those four tracks they offer enough variation by introducing new elements and changing the emotions using lead guitars, synths, voices, samples, whatever it takes to make the EP impactful. This in my humble opinion is just excellent songwriting and clever production.

The rhythm guitars sound ‘proper heavy’ while the leads are constantly buzzing away, weaving a melodic layer. The bass and drumwork are quite inspired, supporting the music without overburdening the mids. The brutal vocals fit the music like a glove, while the clean voices (when used) help take the songs the extra mile. Everything is properly done, which is a pleasant surprise in the ocean of half-arsed releases we are drown.

The sound on this EP is clean and powerful. The mix is just right. You feel the balance in every aspect of every song. Everything sounds natural and manages to wake up feelings, which is what music should be able to do as an art form.

The verdict? Give it a spin. If these 20 minutes cannot convince you that Diabolical deserve to be big, I honestly don’t know what can. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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