Devil Doll - Dies Irae Review by Ground and Sky

By this release, Devil Doll's music has begun to follow a pretty simple formula: orchestral and/or world-music influenced passages contrast sharply with piano-led passages that feature the sinister, bizarrely twisted voice of "Mr. Doctor", the band's mastermind. Fortunately, Dies Irae improves upon this formula enough to avoid being boring and unoriginal. The sound on this disc is massive, as the band is at times backed by a full orchestra which adds enormously to the atmosphere. Pounding strings contrast with grand synth and organ washes and the occasional burning lead guitar; needless to say, I think the instrumental portions of this release top any of Devil Doll's previous instrumental compositions. The vocal sections are also better, as Mr. Doctor's insane vocal style has been perfected by this time, and the instrumental background supporting him is more varied and interesting than the simple piano work that used to be all that accompanied him. For those of you that haven't heard Devil Doll, Mr. Doctor does not "sing"; rather, he screeches, moans, mumbles, screams, warbles, and vocalizes in every possible way that isn't "normal". The end result is something that only personal taste can judge - some love it, some think it's just a cheesy gimmick. I think it's fantastic, and though this music is definitely over-the-top in terms of "darkness", it's still great stuff. Though the middle section of this piece is somewhat fragmented, I think it's intentional, and that's about my only complaint about the whole thing. For newcomers, this is the Devil Doll album I'd recommend as a starting point - uniquely dark symphonic music; description doesn't do it justice.