Swedish quartet Diabolical was originally founded back in 1996 under the name Misanthropic Orchestra – A name which they changed two years later to the much easier pronouncable Diabolical that they use today. Under their current moniker they have released a grand total of four full-length albums, one live album, one compilation album, one demo and, most recently, a four-track EP spanning twenty-some minutes. This EP carries the name Umbra and proves, as much as I am usually reluctant to admit it, that mixing two or more genres can be done with great succes if done with skill and expertise. In this case, Diabolical have managed to create a very thrashy Death Metal album, complete with menacing growls, strongly distorted instruments and overall powerful, controlled bursts of solos and riffs; Yet still combined with the sheer aggression, ferosity and somewhat chaotic feel that Thrash Metal are known (and loved) for. This description pretty much covers the three tracks ”Requiem”, ”Diaspora” and ”Decline”. The final track, ”Tremor”, however, is quite different; For one thing, the above-mentioned thrashy feel is more or less removed from this track, as is the growling vocals. Instead, the entire song has the feel and build-up of something inbetween a audio book (as it is basically a man speaking about the nature and consequences of fear) and a ballad (due to the calm, monotonous approach the band has taken to this particular track). All in all I would not say that any one approach is better than the other – They are both merely great examples of what a very accomplished Death and Thrash Metal band is capable of. When I have decided to highlight the track ”Requiem” in this instance, it is merely because it is the first track off the EP. As always, I would recommend listening to Umbra in its entirety. Sadly, it is not very long; Yet still very enjoyable.
Recommended for fans of God Dethroned.