The Wanderer delivers a lethal dose of aggression mixed with a plethora of passion
Just like the Spanish Conquistadors back in the 15th century, symphonic gothic/power metal band Diabulus in Musica are charging into battle with an almighty yell and a barrage of power with their second and latest album entitled ‘The Wanderer’. Spanish natives from Pamplona, Diabulus in Musica were formed in 2006 and released their very first material in 2009 (a demo) before being signed up by Metal Blade Records soon after. Just like the running of the bulls in Pamplona, DIM hit the ground running, releasing a very good debut CD called ‘Secrets’ in 2010, putting the band on the map.
Charge ahead two years and Diabulus in Musica have returned, more powerful than ever to deliver their brilliant sophomore album entitled ‘The Wanderer’. Leaving the miss-matched Metal Blade for the more fitting Napalm Records, ‘The Wanderer’ is a wonderful blend of symphonic power/gothic metal crossed with modern metal to deliver lethal doses of aggression mixed with a plethora of passion.
With the most prominent and popular symphonic power/gothic metal band for some time, Nightwish, releasing questionable back-to-back albums, other bands within the genre have gained much ground on the Finnish band, particularly Epica and now most recently Xandria; Diabulus in Musica have now thrown their hat into the ring with their rousing and astonishing latest release. Building up quite a reputation as a live act, DIM supported Manowar on their Spanish leg and had another support slot on Theatre of Tragedy’s Mexican farewell tour. The band has also shared the stage with other bands such as Rage, Doro, Kreator, Therion, Saxon, Epica, Arch Enemy, Cradle of Filth and Sabaton; which just goes to show how versatile this band can be.
Diabulus in Musica comprises of drummer Xabier Jareño, bassist Alejandro Sanz, keyboardist (and harsh vocalist) Gorka Elso, guitarist (and harsh vocalist) Adrián Vallejo and impressive female lead vocalist Zuberoa Aznárez. Much like the true gothic metal bands that started the genre and introduced to us for the first time the “beauty and the beast” method, Diabulus in Musica despite having three singers don’t completely stick to that template that has been set in stone by other bands. Some songs that feature on ‘The Wanderer’ can be combinations of Zuberoa solo, or Adrián Vallejo solo (much like Marco for Nightwish), or even a combination of all three singers.
‘The Wanderer’ covers all parts of symphonic gothic/power metal, from the aggressive and ferocious guitar riffs, blast drum beats, big choirs and an epic/atmospheric feel, right down to the other end of the scale which is the softer, slower melodic tracks with wonderful harmonies and beautiful musical passages. At the top of the bombastic and hardened aggression scale is the sensational album opener (after the intro), “Ex Nihlo” which is a pulverising and speedy track chock full of beastly riffs, double bass smashing, atmospheric synths and keys and both angelic vocals from Zuberoa and harsh vocals from both Vallejo and Elso. Continued headbanging to this track could lead to paralysis, so be warned.
Down the other end of the scale, we get to hear the wonderful vocal talent of Zuberoa Aznárez, who’s supreme voice is equal to that of other gothic/symphonic metal diva’s such as Liv Kristine, Simone Simons, Floor Jansen, Sharon den Adel, Tarja and Manuela Kraller. “Sentenced to Life” is an emotional and moving ballad containing epic orchestras and is a wonderful duet with Zuberoa and Vallejo, both singers really showing how talented they both are. The title track, which is also the final song on the disc, is another excellent ballad, featuring Zuberoa on vocals, backed by just acoustics, percussions and nothing more. The song shows off Zuberoa’s talents yet again and I wonder where the band found this marvellous singer, a diamond in the rough you might say.
“Shadow of the Throne” is another powerful and aggressive track on the album, featuring a hugely pummelling guitar riff, dark choirs ala Sirenia/Mortemia, and sung by the two male harsh vocalists in the band. Other song highlights on ‘The Wanderer’ include the catchy and mainstream gothic metal tinged “Sceneries of Hope”, the powerful and charismatic “Allegory of Faith, Innocence and Future” and the Sirenia inspired “Blazing a Trail”, which saturated synths, bellowing choirs and heavy bass. Last but certainly not least are two of the best tracks the CD has to offer. First – “Oihuka Bihotzetik” a vigorously heavy track with pummelling drumming, sharp guitar riffs, orchestras, dark choirs and unbeatable vocals from all vocalists. And finally, the awesomely epic and bombastic eight minute + sensation named “No Time for Repentance (Lamentatio)”, which really needs to be heard to be believed as it is such a great track and pretty much sums up everything previously heard throughout the disc.
The end result, I am blown away by the brilliant quality of this album. Having heard Diabulus in Musica’s debut release ‘Secrets’ before slamming ‘The Wanderer’ into my CD player, you can see and hear just how well and how quickly this band has improved and evolved. The production is second to none, yet not over produced much like the most recent Nightwish albums. I’ll go as far as saying that ‘The Wanderer’ is definitely inside the top 10 for metal album of the year for 2012. Diabulus in Musica have certainly hit the big time with this huge release and I expect their stocks to rise considerably. ‘The Wanderer’ is highly recommended for fans of Epica, Nightwish, Sirenia and Xandria among others.