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Dismal Euphony: All Little Devils / Python Zero (remaster)

Starting out primarily as a melodic, black metal band in the early 90's, the musical output of Norway's Dismal Euphony can almost be looked upon as being done by two different sounding lineups. The band's first two full length releases Soria Moria Slott (1996) and Autumn Leaves: The Rebellion of Tides (1997) which originally came out on Napalm Records, found the band employing a distinctly harsher sounding attack which highlighted their uniquely dark, symphonic arrangements coupled with female/ male dual lead vocal tradeoffs. However even though the band went through some requisite lineup changes their fortunes seemed to brighten as Nuclear Blast scooped them up for 1999's All Little Devils and Python Zero in 2001, which Metal Mind Productions out of Poland has now remastered and re-released both together in one lavish, limited edition digipak.

The biggest change between what I'll call the first version of Dismal Euphony and the lineup here that recorded these two albums was the bands decision to delve even deeper into the gothic aspects of their sound, even incorporating trace elements of industrial and electronica by the time of Python Zero ,which turned out to be their swan song. The songs themselves which generally sound more polished, still take advantage of bassist and founding member Ole K.Helgesen's screeching BM vocals which are usually offset by the operatic, upper register female vocals of Anja Natasha. While this is fairly effective on the tracks "Days of Sodom", "All Little Devils" and "Victory", Natasha's vocals unfortunately are not only devoid of any real distinguishing characteristics to make her voice stick out, but they also lack the necessary power to carry her weight on the heavier tracks on the album. Once again there is a real symphonic quality to the majority of these compositions with the guitars and keyboards represented quite evenly in the overall mix.

The main concern that ultimately plagues both of these albums is that when taken as a whole there isn't anything particularly memorable or anything the listener hasn't heard done before and for that matter done better by other bands in this style of music, such as Lacuna Coil or Nightwish for example. With the exception of some savage and memorable riffage on "Lunatic" and "Scenario" off of Little Devils, and plenty of downright meaty guitar work on the epic "Plasma Pool", as well as the title track "Python Zero", the general feeling is that these guys were certainly more than capable of pulling off songs that leaned in a heavier direction. The only problem in this reviewer's opinion is that they didn't employ this kind of attack as often as they could have. I would have stuck with the sick, scathing male vocal attack, put more emphasis on the guitars, dropped the female vocals outright and put the keyboardist on a retainer.

To be fair Python Zero does find the band experimenting a bit more with their sound and a couple of tracks really stand out, that being "Needle" which begins as a dark ballad before eventually morphing into it's abrasive, electronic infused second half. The aforementioned "Python Zero" is replete with not only changing tempos, but the band also utilizes a little light and shade effect to enhance the overall mood of this composition.

Overall Python Zero fairs slightly better as far as scoring goes and keeping in mind that this re-release covers two albums, I give Python Zero 3.5 stars and All Little Devils 2.5 stars for an overall average of 3. This certainly isn't what I'd consider essential listening but that doesn't hide the fact that there are definitely some intriguing and worthwhile musical ideas to be found on these final two albums by this now defunct band.

Track Listings
All Little Devils:
1) Days of Sodom
2) Rage of Fire
3) Victory
4) All Little Devils
5) Lunatic
6) Psycho Path
7) Shine for Me, Misery
8) Scenario
9) Dead Words

Python Zero:
1) Critical Mass
2) Python Zero
3) Zentinel
4) Magma
5) Birth Reverse
6) Needle
7) Plasma Pool
8) Fyineye

Added: October 1st 2008
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Metal Mind Productions
Hits: 2127
Language: english

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