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Diabolicum - "Ia Pazuzu" (CD)

Diabolicum - "Ia Pazuzu" CD cover image

"Ia Pazuzu" track listing:

1. Baxxar Ehl Uhza
2. Void of Astaroth
7. One mans war
5. Salvation through Vengeance
3. Silent Spring
8. Angelmaker
4. Genocide Bliss
6. The Abyss of the Shadows
9. Ia Pazuzu

Reviewed by on June 23, 2015

"'Ia Pazuzu' is a sledgehammer to the head delivered with the precision and timing of a hydraulic press."

Only the band's third full-length release since 1999 (ready to wait another 14 or so years till album number 4?), “Ia Pazuzu” is a sledgehammer to the head delivered with the precision and timing of a hydraulic press. Mashing up a fuzzy industrial guitar tone with full throttle black metal, half of the album crushes everything in its path at top speed, while the other half unexpectedly transitions into symphonic and ambient territory.

With the exception of the twelve second intro and a handful of very brief guitar-only segments, many of these tracks don't feature one single moment without blast beats. Not one. Let that sink in for a moment, because that will be the defining characteristic of the album that determines if you'll love or hate “Ia Pazuzu.” Short of bionic arm replacements, it seems highly unlikely this material could possibly be played live without a drum machine.

On the one hand, the relentless drum explosions are absolutely pummeling and really get the aggression across. On the other hand, the overly repetitive nature of the near-constant blasts with no respite can become grating if you aren't just listening to one song at a time. Drum issues aside, there's a lot of interesting things going on with the sound of “Ia Pazuzu,” from the thrashy guitars on “Salvation Through Vengeance” behind the wall of blasting drum noise and the more fully realized industrial/electronic sounds on “Silent Springs” and “Genocide Bliss.”

The “Angelmaker” track changes gears drastically, with a voice over and a hypnotic guitar tone in the background that shift into old school symphonic black metal before ending with a child crying and the sound of crackling fire. “The Abyss of Shadows,” meanwhile, is an entirely ambient track with reverberated synth effects and heavily distorted vocals echoing in the background, and the disc then ends on three minutes of nothing but the sound of air moving through space with the title track.

A bit all over the place between the quiet ambient tracks and the heavy blasting tracks, Diabolicum's third full-length is a mixed bag with an identity crisis, but the core sound will work for fans of industrial black metal like Aborym or bands that skirt the line between industrial and symphonic like Kovenant.

Highs: Precision destruction delivered straight to your ear drums.

Lows: There's an identity crisis here, and the relentless blast beats do get old.

Bottom line: This is some truly relentless industrial black metal 14 years in the making.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)