Diabolical
Umbra EP

The last time I heard this long standing but overlooked Swedish melodic death metal act was 2008s The Gallery of Bleeding Art, a promising album that scattered some orchestral/symphonic and choral flourishes around a sold Swedish death metal/melodic death metal backbone. I missed 2013s Neogenesis, so I can’t comment on the bands development between those two albums. But I can comment on the bands latest 4 song EP, Umbra, and its pretty damn solid.

It appears the band has fully embraced the symphonic elements to gloss their brand of Behemoth-ish melodic black/death metal, and it works really well, adding a sense of regal grandiosity to the  improved but still, not quite great song writing. The choir is an 9 piece actual choir, not synthesized one and it makes a big difference. These elements are not full on Fleshgod Apocalypse, but well placed around the 4 song, 22 minute EP.

“Requiem” starts the affair with dramatic  flair and a regal, sensual sway while second track, “”Diaspora” has a more moody controlled lurching pace.  Third track “Tremor” is only real filler, being a slower atmospheric number with spoken word/samples over the music and choir and it brings the EP to a bit of a halt. But “Decline” storms back with the EPs best cut . The guitars have a nice robust tone and founder/lone original member Sverker Widgren (also of  and Centinex and Demonical), has  a big gruff roar that I love in death metal.

I’m not saying Umbra will elevate Diabolical into the elite of Swedish metal, but with their choral arrangements they certainly stand out and have the chance to be a cut above with any future releases that develop on the quality of Umbra.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 9th, 2016

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