Graveworm - _Diabolical Figures_
(Massacre Records, 2009)
by: Adam Lineker (7 out of 10)
_Diabolical Figures_ is Graveworm's seventh studio album (some may be surprised to note that this is the band's seventeenth year in existence) and it is a bombastic and brutal affair. Very much a marriage of beauty and the beast, this 'dark metal' incorporates a well balanced mix of heavy and melodic tones. Yeah, I know, hardly an original prospect, and you are probably thinking that if you need to stomach another melodeath band you might have to go out and brutalize some Soilwork albums with a lump hammer. Please hold fire on the random acts of violence however, as Graveworm aren't quite one of those bands.

The immediate impression given by _Diabolical_ is a strong one, as the record charges out of the speakers with a meaty blast beat, made all the more palatable by some tight and powerful drum sounds. The guitars aren't as chunksome as they might be, but within the overall sonic mix they do the job effectively. Vocals are predominantly in the low end of the growling spectrum, though not as obnoxious as they might be, and the vocalist employs a range of different deliveries to keep things interesting. What is perhaps most surprising is how effective the melodic lines in the guitars and keyboards marry up with the more deathly overtones. So Cradle of Filth have been peddling this sort of blackened symphony for a little while now, but Graveworm come across as less ham-fisted and more consistently heavy. The symphonic layers serve the melodies without making them too overblown, and the essential metal parts are given room to breathe and lead the charge effectively.

Criticism can be leveled at the band from a creative standpoint. While their sound may be appealing and their style executed convincingly, the guitar lines offer nothing particularly original or challenging; some of these riffs are the bread and butter of a metal guitarist in his less inspired moments, and you've heard them many times before. Still, riffs like these have stood the test of time, so it's not such a bad thing to hear them again. Over the course of the record however, songs are pretty much interchangeable with each other.

Weaker points aside, _Diabolical Figures_ is a good, solid record for those who like symphonic metal that's ballsy and to the point. Where Graveworm are most engaging is when they push the intensity of their music up a notch, and a lot of this has to do with the flair of the band's drum lines. Let the pianos tinkle, the stings soar, and the candles be lit; beneath the visage of mournful, epic beauty pounds a powerful engine of metal.


(article published 16/8/2009)

5/31/2005 A McKay 8.5 Graveworm - (N)utopia
6/17/2003 J Smit 6.5 Graveworm - Engraved in Black
12/26/2003 J Smit Deicide / Destruction / Nile / Akercocke / Dew-Scented / Graveworm / Misery Index Redemption at the Palace
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