Thursday, August 13, 2015

Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Piñata

I'm being honest and serious here - the car accident I was in was better than this.

Look at Western mythology and you’ll notice a lot of horrible creatures come from mixing different species of animals. Minotaurs, centaurs, chimeras, harpies, and now we have the worst of them all - Diablo Swing Orchestra. Mixing a parodied version of swing with touches of power chords in a failed effort to seem metal, Pandora’s Piñata is guaranteed to disgust fans of either genre of music (or any genre for that matter). Diablo Swing Orchestra’s style of swing relies heavily on a dance-oriented feel. This means, like with all dance music, that the primary point of the composition is to have listener focused on something other than the music. Since metal is not dance music, Pandora’s Piñata is existentially worthless. It cannot be danced to. It cannot be listened to. A monstrosity created by mixing different musical animals.

The clear operatic female vocals suggest deep influences from Evanescence. This actually makes a lot sense, because the parts of the music that are intended to be metal are 100% nu-metal chugging. Other vocal styles are splattered on the album, like the teenager yelling “you’ll never see me again” on “Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball” (revealingly awful metaphors abound), or the choir of ostensibly full grown Swedes pretending to be Asian schoolchildren on “Black Box Messiah.” By the way, take note of the cutesy alliteration in that song title and in the album title too. This is the degree of immaturity that we’re dealing with.

Glitzy trumpets, a guitar chug on every beat, and obnoxious snare rolls are the mainstay of the composition. But, given the band’s inherent lack of direction, you also have rows like the ostentatious “Aurora” and first five or so minutes of “Justice For Saint Mary” that pretend to be serious with its pseudo-classical approach by removing all pretenses of being metal (another sign that the band doesn’t take metal, or music, seriously.) On “Mass Rapture” there is a sitar getting down with the sickness with punkish whiny teenager vocals. Maybe a theremin synth pad somewhere. Some wicky-wicky guitar doodling over a call and response section on “Honeytrap Aftermath,” which might remind you of Marky Mark. The heavy use of rhythmic staccato throughout the album makes the pain something like treating third degree burns with acupuncture. Every burst of idiocy another irritating needle.

Click on this image to feel better...

Can you believe that 18 musicians worked on this? Even in the most disciplined cults you’ll still hear stories of people escaping or disagreeing with the leader. Everyone involved must have been bribed heavily in order to put their names on this because it is bad enough to completely write off everything else they will do musically for the rest of their lives. Pandora’s Piñata is the third full-length from this ill conceived gimmick, but it’s clear that the band was out of ideas immediately after the phrase “swing metal” was uttered. This is the kind of music a bunch of drunk musicians might play at a party as a joke, too drunk to notice that the decade long joke was never funny.

“Justice For Saint Mary” ultimately closes the album out with a techno remix version of melodies from earlier in the song. It’s as if the band was trying to remind everything, just one more time, that they can’t write music and are capable only of mixing ideas of different genres. Every last second of this album is unbearable and entirely devoid of any artistic merit. I have never heard anything worse in my entire life.

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