Diablo - _Renaissance_
(Poko Rekords, 2002)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Here's a challenge for any listener, let alone reviewer: Diablo name bands such as Testament and especially Death as their greatest influences, yet they are very upfront about claiming their music to be firmly rooted in the 21st century, even if it might get labeled as "trendy" and "n*-metal" (according to their biography). Furthermore, the album includes the guest appearance of Paleface (apparently an important figure in Finnish hip hop). The first thing that hits you as opener "Angel" kicks in is the mixture of well produced heavy guitar, Sepultura-ish vocals, and clean vocals somewhat a la Machine Head. This is followed by a catchy chorus, and eventually a sequence of guitar leads starts and mixes very well with the percussive riffing. This is the kind of eclectic mix you can expect throughout _Renaissance_: heavier bits, some more subdued parts, and some more melodic passages, all delivered in a reasonably varied way. For instance, a lot of second track "Icon of Flesh" could have come from Nevermore, some other bits from Soilwork -- overall it's a rather memorable cut. One of Diablo's main strong points resides in the way they can insert a smart guitar lead frequently enough to compensate for the blunt riff sections. The third track, "Tunnel of Pain", is a good example of just that. A significant portion of the fourth track, titled "C22", hints strongly at latter-day Death, and manages to sound good without making Diablo come across as copycats. "Creatures of Deception" and "Hollow Point" continue on the same style as "Icon of Flesh". "Intomesee" is the song that opens with something that might as well have come out of Eminem's mouth -- it is the Paleface guest appearance mentioned above, and a pretty angry one at that -- alternating with a rather intense riff. All prejudice side, the mixture does work, even if a greater dose of this kind of section would have quickly become damaging rather than introduce a bit of welcome variety. _Renaissance_ then goes back to normal for the remaining three tracks, maintaining its commendable quality level throughout. Diablo achieve a good balance between technicality, heavy riffs, good leads, and memorable sections, keeping _Renaissance_ a consistently pleasant listen. They don't come across as "trendy" or "n*-metal", rather as a very competent and somewhat adventurous metal band. Having never heard of Poko Rekords before, I suspect Diablo may be flying a bit too low for the metal public radar. If that is the case, then it really is a shame: _Renaissance_ has enough potential to earn a very respectable number of spins in many CD players out there.

Contact: http://www.poko.fi/diablo/

(article published 31/3/2003)

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