Death’s Design (Olympic)
by Tim Den
As far as pure vision and scope go, this is probably the most breath-taking, ambitious, and experimental death metal album this year… and it’s only a side project! Blakkheim (of Katatonia) has given birth to an atmospheric creature with a thousand faces. Diabolical Masquerade utilizes everything from traditional snake-spit vocals and sizzling riffing to creepy keyboards and a string quartet on all the songs. Each song is broken down into individually-titled movements, each movement tackling wild mood swings that often sound more like Hitchcock soundtracks than metal. Wind chimes, jazz guitars, urgent violin plucks that seem to signal the coming of a murder scene… Death’s Design is fucking out there. It will totally change the way you think about metal and orchestration. This is the death metal counterpart to Fantômas’ The Director’s Cut, if not its superior, critically-arranged evil brother. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!
(1658 N. Milwaukee Ave. #245 Chicago, IL 60647)