Diabulus in Musica – Argia (Napalm Records)Monday, 14th April 2014
Same ‘ole same ‘ole here; Spain’s Diabulus in Musica being just a small peg in the money-making (we think) machinery that is female-fronted Goth metal. One of these days, we’ll get a band with the guts to present a member of the female fraction that is not considered to be bombshell and/or eye candy material. (Actually, Norway’s excellent Madder Mortem come to mind.) For the foreseeable future, it’s more of the same operatic/pouty blend that remarkably, still has traction, even if a vast portion of these groups are a third-rate imitation of Nightwish. On Argia (their third album), Diabulus in Musica don’t go that far, but they’re damn-near close.
The Spaniards will more than likely champion the thrash card that pops up on “From the Embers” and “Healing,” two songs that provide up-tempo drumming alongside the opera-ready vocals of Zuberoa Aznárez, who possess a hearty set of pipes, but is dealt the unfortunate hand of having simply too many other like-minded singers to compete with. Therefore, to the trained or familiar eye (like DR’s, believe it or not), there’s a discernable lack of character, with most of the tunes coming in under the vintage Tristania banner, albeit with less keyboard trembles.
Because there’s such a degree of over-saturation with the female-fronted symphonic metal sound, a quality record company like Napalm finds itself in a lose-lose position, specifically from a scheduling standpoint. Delain’s new The Human Contradiction will receive release right around the same time as Argia, thus temporarily cornering the market, but potentially causing consumer confusion. If only the “less is more” principle applied to music of this ilk…