Swedish group, The Diablo Swing Orchestra, is one of the most daring and strangest groups to come out of their hometown with such a musical background. Filled with the sounds of Progressive Metal, 1940s Swing, Avant-Garde Classical music, Mariachi, and daring time changes is something worth the wait to really sink your teeth into. Since their formation back in 2003, their music is challenging and out of this world that make them wish they had done the score for all of the early Black and White cartoons of the Max Fleischer-era of the Betty Boop cartoons in the 1930s.
And while they are an eight piece band and have two albums in their sleeves, their new album, Pandora’s Piñata, you get the feeling that it’s a huge combination of Benny Goodman meets Frank Zappa meets Metallica meets the Larks' Tongues in Aspic-era of King Crimson that is filled with a horn section, orchestral beauty, strings, rumbling guitar sounds, gun firing drum patterns, melodic and operatic vocals, and synths that make it a thrilling disturbing yet fun adventure that you are about to embark on.
And so far, it is the most roller-coaster driven adventure rides that you will embark on a dark journey from beginning, middle, and end. Voodoo Mon Amour, starts the album off with an eruptive metal and swing shuffle that fits the nightclub scene with a bang along with doing the Charleston and the Lindy Hop that would have the crowd hit the dance floor out of nowhere and doing those crazy dances in that era.
That and the impressive Latin Jazz Groove tempo of Guerilla Laments and the Gypsy Metal flavors on Kevlar Sweethearts with a haunting ‘50s waltz sound between a walking bass line, violin, acoustic and electric guitar makes everything spooky and take you to the next level. Meanwhile, How to Organize a Lynch Mob, starts off with a mourning violin solo as it segues into Black Box Messiah, a futuristic post-swing punk attitude with its screeching vocals turned calm-like attitude that is somewhat of a mini operatic touch that is perfect for Halloween.
Then, they go into this conceptual orchestral-swing-rock opera feel which really fits the vibe of the Diablo Swing on the 6-minute sci-fi epic, Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball as Daniel Hakansson has this emotional turned deadly value like a Jekyll and Hyde persona as the lyrics deal with someone who thought the love of their lives would fit this couple, but then chaos and destruction tore them apart and now they want to erase and replace them forever.
Aurora has this avant-operetta feel that singer Annlouice Loegdlund does is so beautiful and touching, it almost feels like it was a part of the sessions for Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels while Mass Rapture has this Egyptian Metallic feel with the flamenco style in the realms of Pete Townshend’s guitar playing almost could have been used in one of Disney’s Silly Symphony shorts in the late 1930s and ‘40s and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Elsewhere, Honey Trap Aftermath has this funky jazz fusion which really took me by surprise, is a killing track between a wah-wah bass line, the horn section, Hakansson and Loegdlund’s voices, and a string quartet, makes it a perfect catchy and makes it a tribute to the sounds of New Orleans.
And then everything becomes evil with Of Kali Ma Calibre is such a busy and sinister track with a touch of Symphonic Metal and Richard Wagner teaming up with the Moving Pictures-era of Rush making it a weird but dangerous track with a touch of Dooming Psychedelic beauty. The calm after the storm fits perfectly with to close the curtain on the 6-minute acid gothic folk tale of Justice for Saint Mary. Hakansson’s voice again is so wonderful and touching, that you almost couldn’t play because it is haunting and beautiful. Pandora’s Piñata is not an easy album to listen to, but the touches of Prog, Symphonic, Swing, and Jazz is such a weird combination, that makes it a perfect mad album of 2012.