~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Not every band spawned from hellfire pits (most of which are located in Norway, and in this case, Sweden) can be original. Logically, for 'original' to exist, we have to have the generic. But there's another class of bands that exists somewhere inbetween the two, and Diabolical is one of them. They manage to mix a few different styles and elements typical of Swedish melodic death metal, thrash and black metal, but they blend it into something of their own. So you won't find anything especially innovative here, but you will find a solid and satisfying hybrid of ass-kicking metal.

The guitars very aptly cover the more aggressive side of that ol' "Gothenburg" sound (ala At The Gates and The Haunted), but they also incorporate a lot more melody. And they do it without sounding like any other band from the scene. Everything is very well played, and quite a bit more technical than average for bands playing this style (and it's something of a technical genre to begin with). The drumming is a lot more hectic than you'd expect... I still don't know how drummers like that can think and function in day to day life (are they all savants?). The guitar solos add a lot of depth, and surprisingly, class. They aren't just wild solos thrown in to show off, they actually fit into the songs that they're a part of. They range from the elegant and melodic to the harsh and frenzied. The technical aspect and the occasional thrashier sounding riffs remind me more of Death and Carcass than anything, though it never makes you think "hey, I've heard this before."

The vocals are much more black metal sounding than you would generally find accompanying this music, lending Diabolical another unusual aspect to their sound. This combination of sounds and styles works nicely, and Diabolical reminds us that well played music with energy (and fury) can be just as worthwhile as bands more wholly original. My only real complaint about Synergy is that it's a relatively short CD (under 40 minutes), and I'd certainly like to hear more of their work.

Maybe on their next album they can expand the sound in some way or other, but on one level Synergy does work because it is one tight focused ball of flaming fury (that's my cheesy analogy for this month's set of reviews, because all music journalists and metal warriors need to come up with at least one now and then). If you're more into In Flames and that side of the genre, then this may be a bit too potent and aggressive for you. You'll have to build up your tolerance for seething hatred with some other groups before jumping straight into this. However, anyone into Death, Carcass, At The Gates, or Ebony Tears should make it a point get ahold of this. 

Track List:
1.) Suicidal Glory
2.) Ashes II
3.) Caged Wrath
4.) Drowned in Blood
5.) Guidance of Sin
6.) Human Control
7.) The Passenger
8.) Haven

Diabolical - Official Web Site
http://come.to/diabolical (doesn't appear to be working right now)

World War III Records