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Review: Diabolical Masquerade - Nightwork
Diabolical Masquerade

Label: Avantgarde Music
Year released: 1998
Duration: 39:04
Tracks: 7
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: January 28, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4.17/5 (83.33%) (12 Votes)

This is the third CD by one-man project Diabolical Masquerade. As usual, this is mostly just Blakkheim (really Katatonia's Anders Nystrom) with some guest players. I have heard this called the best DM CD, but "Nightwork" is the only full-length I possess. The songs I heard from the debut "Ravendusk In My Heart" were terrible, but this is an impressive album.

I categorized this as Black Metal, but it isn't straight up. The vocal approach and the heavy use of keys are definitely BM, but the guitar tone and the riffs are very thrashy, almost like an old Slayer vibe in places. The production is much deeper and heavier than one usually expects from Black Metal, and this is much more melodic than blasty. There is a lot of dynamic in this music, with time shifts and frequent atmospheric interludes to break up the full-speed passages. There are rough similarities to more accessible BM bands like Dimmu Borgir and Emperor, but there is that thrashy chug that keeps coming in and stirring things up. The songwriting is really quite inventive, if not as focused as I might like. There are some good hooks in places, but a lot of this kind of runs together. I will say, however, that it is really enjoyable while it's on. The musicianship is really excellent, especially the guitarwork. As I said the production is really punchy, with the vocals mercifully not mixed too loud (that seems to be a common Death/Black Metal problem) This is really complex and interesting music that doesn't let itself be limited by the bounds of its basic genre, and continually surprises with its twists and turns.

Whereas before I had written off Diabolical Masquerade as not worth listening too, I have had to revise my opinion with this CD, which I really enjoy. It isn't a landmark release or a great classic album, but I think any fan of extreme metal will find things to enjoy about "Nightwork". This is a highly entertaining, sometimes brilliant album that deserves a spot on the shelf.

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