DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE: Ravendusk In My Heart LP (180g blood red vinyl)



(180g blood red vinyl)

Somewhat overlooked now due to their long period of inactivity and the fact that black metal trends have moved away from their raison d'être, Diabolical Masquerade were one of the more memorable and bombastic bands from the Swedish black metal scene. The talent behind the project is certainly still recognised though, the central protagonist being one Blakkheim (better known today as Anders Nyström) of Katatonia and Bloodbath, his accomplice one Dan Swano of Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath and many more. Together they were responsible for some of the finest symphonic black metal yet recorded, and this, the 1996 debut album, is certainly one of the best releases by the band.

A notably melodic opus, it sees synths jostle for attention alongside guitars, the instrument used in much the same way as in early Dimmu Borgir or Old Man’s Child, with faux-synth/choir accompaniment giving the numbers an ethereal and majestic feeling. Like the latter Norwegian at, there is a definite touch of the tongue-in-cheek – or at least perversely joyful – in both the delivery and songwriting. While there is often an eerie, melancholy atmosphere in the combination of haunting clean guitar parts and more aggressive blasting passages, there are also some very big heavy metal riffs, eccentric and spirited vocals (including clean sung parts) and knowingly over-the-top soloing. Along with the high fantasy, self-referencing lyrics, it all makes for an unusually accessible slice of escapism, yet the excellent songwriting – which not only remains memorable and emotive throughout, but also uses contrast to stop things ever getting stale – lend a sense of depth that will have you coming back to it for repeated listens.

1. The Castle Of Blackheim 
2. Blackheim's Quest To Bring Back The Stolen Autumn 
3. Beyond The Spiritual Moon 
4. The Sphere In Blackheim's Shrine 
5. Under The Banner Of The Sentinel 
6. Blackheim's Forest Kept The Season Forever 
7. The Darkblue Seajourneys Of The Sentinel 
8. Blackheim's Hunt For Nocturnal Grace 
9. Ravendusk In My Heart



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[Item type: black metal LP]