Devilish Impressions - Diabolicanos - Act III: Armageddon
Conquer Records
Progressive Blackened Death Metal
9 songs (50:54)
Release year: 2008
Devilish Impressions, Conquer Records
Reviewed by Goat

It’s a pity that of the many excellent bands hailing from Poland, most seem content to take most of their influence from that country’s big names: Behemoth, Vader, and so on. Not that there’s anything wrong with that in moderation, but a little variation in sound is always welcome. Fortunately, experimental Blackened crew Devilish Impressions deliver by spicing up their Behemoth-flavoured battery with epic lashes of Emperor.

The band’s twistingly-titled third album Diabolicanos – Act III: Armageddon is vastly superior to 2006’s interesting but flawed Plurima Mortis Imago. This is obvious from the first listen, opening blast T.H.O.R.N.S acting as an introduction to the rest of the album with its catchy chorus acting as a point of clarity in the midst of a technical maelstrom of growls, riffs, subtle keyboards and some excellent drumming. Tightening up considerably, there’s a sense of tightness and drive to the band that was missing previously, and the clean production (mastered by Andy Classen) gives each instrument room to breathe.

Although it takes a few listens to realise it, that opening blast invokes just enough of the familiar to draw you in, as the remaining eight tracks really push the boundaries. Following track Rex Inferi, for example, is a modern Dimmu Borgir-alike blast, with a progressive sense of melody much like recent Arcturus. Six out of nine of the tracks on the album are over five minutes long and the band never wastes the time, keeping the pace up without dipping into repetition. Little touches such as the odd squealed vocals in The Word Was Made Flesh Turned Into Chaos Again add an Avant-Garde atmosphere, as it’s hard to predict what the band will throw at you next, although it never steps far from the Black/Death comfort zones (no rapping or saxophone solos here!). The downside is, of course, that this makes for a difficult first few listens, and whilst the band do its best to counter this with some hellishly infectious riffs – I Am The Son Of God sounds like Cradle Of Filth with a vigour and drive that’s been wanting for a while – it’s not quite enough to make this an instant headbanger for a casual listener.

Despite that, there’s much here to impress fans of both Black and Death Metal. The playing throughout is excellent, particularly on Tales Of Babylon’s Whore, where guitar melodies and synth flourishes combine to perfect effect. Songwriting’s pretty darn good throughout, once you’ve listened to it enough times to become familiar with the many twists and turns. Diabolicanos will take time to unlock, but when you have it’s a great album, with plenty of complexities to figure out and enough variety to keep you listening once you have. The first of what’ll hopefully be an excellent 2008 crop, Diabolicanos deserves to gain the band much. See the band on tour soon with Behemoth, Kataklysm, and later in the year with Dismember.

Killing Songs :
T.H.O.R.N.S, The Word Was Made Flesh… , Tales Of Babylon’s Whore, Har-Mageddon
Goat quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Devilish Impressions that we have reviewed:
Devilish Impressions - Postmortem Whispering Crows reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
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