Diablo - Eternium
Poko Records
You Tell Me!
11 songs (43.45)
Release year: 2004
Reviewed by Aleksie
Album of the month

AAAARRRGGGHHHH, The Destruction!!! Where, you ask? In my neck and back after listening to Eternium, that´s where! As you all (should) know, Finland has produced many magnificent metal bands to the world. Now it should be time for Diablo to join on the path that Amorphis, Stratovarius, Children Of Bodom, Nightwish and Co. have been treading for some time. I doubt that many of you outside Finland know anything about Diablo. Eternium is their third full length album and unfortunately they haven´t been pushed in other countries. And when I say “You Tell Me” as a genre, I truly mean it. But not in the “artsy-fartsy” way that it could be used to describe Tool and the like. Diablo is straight up metal that is perfect background music for demolishing a building, looting a bank or kicking the daylights out of that pesky boss of yours who refuses to give you that well-deserved pay raise with a tire iron, among other wholesome family activities. Diablo combines many elements from many genres. They are like a mix of 80s Testament and Destroy era Meshuggah, with dashes of In Flames and the famed Gothenburg melodeath sound cramped into one hell of a steamroller. Slow, clean vocal moments with beautiful melodies also abound on many songs, bringing perfect variation to the otherwise crushing storm of riffs and hyper-melodic leads. The mix is truly a sound that I cannot define within the boundries of a single genre label.

First of all they show you how down-tuned guitars should be used. The Limp Bizkits and Mudvaynes of the world would be crushed under the sheer wall of guitar that attacks the speakers from this album. Singer/Guitarist Rainer Nygård provides the “ram-you-down-better-be-ready”-riffs while Marko Utriainen supplies the absolutely tasty-like-barbeque solos and lead melodies which boggle the mind and force the neck to a frenzied tailspin of moshing. The spirit of Chuck Schuldiner can be felt hovering and smiling over the stereos every time the lead guitars hit the scene. Thankfully Utriainen has incredible taste in his soloing, supporting the songs with the melodies and detaining from the “masturbating bumblebee” –type solos that too often cross the line to pure self-indulgence. Nygårds voice recalls an aggressive mix of the darker, bassier bark of Slayers Tom Araya and Evil Schuldiners darkest growl, all the while making every word audible and clear. Perfect sing-along mayhem for the whole family! When Rainer goes clean, there is still huge power in the singing. He sounds a bit like James Hetfield, but with a very personal touch that can´t really be compared. Bass player Aadolf Virtanen keeps one hell of a backbone, crushing anyone who dares to swing away with the usual bass player jokes, including myself. But the real sicko/master on the album is drummer Heikki Malmberg. Not since the arrival of Jaska Raatikainen of Bodom and Kai Hahto of Rotten Sound have I heard drumming of this caliber from the finnish metal scene. But Malmberg has something unique in his playing style, and that is taste. He could go with the double bass triplets through the entire album if he wanted to, but oh no, he knows better. The drumming is very varied, from double bass to very inventive fills and odd timings. All within a pure metal context, never going into sheer technical yammering. The Meshuggah-comparisons would not be as strong without Malmberg. Diablo does not go as far in the time signature wizardry as Meshuggah, but the hints are there.

The song material is equally devastating. After the opening sledgehammer Symbol Of Eternity changes from its finnish trad. intro to the crushing riffing, you are either long gone running or flattened in the ground. Read My Scars, Queen Of Entity, Lovedivided and Faceless all have quiet and VERY loud moments, giving the listener some seconds to breathe before another blow comes from behind. Some synthesizers even pop up on Read My Scars, which was the first single off the album. And if memory serves me correct, it visited the number one spot of the Finnish singles charts, deservedly so. The female singing on Queen Of Entity, supplied by Jytt of Pornorphans, brings a wonderful, seducing effect to side with Rainers grunt. Lovedivided has a killing groove in the vein of Pantera, which makes this headbanger extremely happy and willing to dig out the good old air guitar and wield a couple of blazing oxygen riffs. The sixth song, The Preacher is the true masterpiece on this album, with the most awesome melodies of the entire album, and a chorus that will not leave you head for days. Besides most of the bow-to-Metallica instrumental Omerta, no sappy ballads can be found anywhere. In The Flesh and Shape Shifters dominate the ending half of the album, with the album closer Reptiles being the only mediocre track on the album (but in this company, even a mediocre track is pretty good;). Every song can crush and maim what ever comes in its way. The difference in the power is defined by the listener. But I was sold the first day after buying this album. The production is perfect, making the sounds even more crushing. Every song stays under 6 minutes, with only Reptiles going over 5 minutes, so the whole album can be digested many times in a day without exhaustion.

If you would like a slab of honest, pure metal with elements of trash and death, including magnificent vocals and divine melodies on every song in the mix, I highly suggest you try to find a way to get Diablos Eternium in your hands. Unfortunately the band does not have a foreign distribution deal yet, so you will have to search for Finnish webshops and friends in Finland to get this album if you are from abroad. I also hope they also get the english part of their web site operational soon. Since I did not arrive soon enough to give my award to IEs The Glorious Burden, this is definitely my album of the month. And it will certainly be in my year end best of-list, come the time for the next awards. And it is not even February yet! Prepare to be run to the ground.

Killing Songs :
All, but my favorites are Symbol Of Eternity, Read My Scars, Queen Of Entity, Lovedivided, Faceless and THE PREACHER
Aleksie quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Diablo that we have reviewed:
Diablo - Icaros reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 88 / 100
Diablo - Renaissance reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 89 / 100
Diablo - Mimic 47 reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 78 / 100
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