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Diabulus in Musica: The Wanderer

It's common enough for musical groups to invoke demonic imagery or sounds to give their music a certain counter-cultural toughness, a rebellion that recognizes no rules. Black Sabbath, an early innovator of this mode, opened their first album with the dark-sounding three note interval known as the tritone that set the mood for their occult-inspired lyrics to "Black Sabbath." The tritone, also known by the Latin expression diabolus in musica, has a unique sound, one that has been long been considered too dark, too mysterious, for certain kinds of music. Readers will most likely remember that Slayer (no stranger to demonic imagery and lyrics) named their album Diabolus in Musica after this same musical interval, although they most likely didn't mind the mild controversy over the double meaning of "the devil in music." Spain's own Diabulus in Musica has finally turned the expression into a bold and memorable band name. Sure, they've changed the spelling a little, but the name continues to grab attention and brings to mind centuries of debate over the musical value of a mysterious interval.

The Wanderer, Diabulus in Musica's second release, is the follow-up to their successful debut Secrets (2010). Though relatively new, Diabulus in Musica is already establishing a large following, receiving awards for their performances, and gaining praise for their blend of symphonic metal with just a little bit of death metal. The Wanderer makes for a good sophomore release, one that builds on past successes and helps develop something of the energy that has given this band such a strong reputation. This is a band that has a well-established rhythm section. Check out tracks like "Shadow of the Throne" and "Allegory of Faith, Innocence, and Future" for examples of the backing quality of this group.

Listeners will also enjoy the vocals by Zuberoa Aznárez. She has a great range, and brings diversity and harmony to The Wanderer's overall sound. I think that Diabulus in Musica will continue to rise and should easily gain more fans in the coming years.

Despite the many strengths of The Wanderer, I was disappointed with the eclectic range of tracks on this album. I realize that heavy metal is changing and that the concept of genre is constantly being challenged by bands and scholars alike. Nevertheless, the range of heavy and slow songs on this album made me question just what overall impression Diabulus in Musica is trying to make. At times, they sound like a death metal band, but at other times they sound like an upbeat symphonic metal act. And then there are more confusing tracks like "Sentenced to Life" which sound more like something taken from a musical. I shouldn't fault experimentation, but I don't think this band has quite settled on exactly what they hope to do musically. With this one, I think the devil's more in the details than in the music. If you like good symphonic metal, The Wanderer is a good choice, but it left me more curious to know what this band will do next.

Track Listing:

1. A Journey's End (Intro)
2. Ex Nihilo
3. Sceneries of Hope
4. Blazing a Trail
5. Call From a Rising Memory (Intro)
6. Hidden Reality
7. Shadow of the Throne
8. Allegory of Faith, Innocence, and Future
9. Sentenced to Life
10. Oihuka Bihotzetik
11. No Time for Repentence (Lamentatio)
12. The Wanderer

Added: February 20th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3176
Language: english

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