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Diablo Swing Orchestra's bizarre, brilliant Swagger And Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole

Sweden’s swing metal circus, Diablo Swing Orchestra, hit peak bonkers with Swagger And Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole

Diablo Swing Orchestra, Swagger And Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole album art crop
(Image: © Candlelight Records)

When Fred Durst’s new facial hair is the most entertaining thing that a lot of people can think of, you know that it is time for Diablo Swing Orchestra to release a new album. Heavy music as mad-eyed escapism is hardly a new phenomenon, but few bands have upheld that noble tradition with quite the same degree of genre-blitzing glee as these eccentric Swedes. Their fifth full-length album will hopefully be released on a sunny day, because from its superb cartoon artwork to the relentless ingenuity of the music within, Swagger And Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole is the perfect antidote to greyness and drudgery.

Exuberant to the point of insanity, and yet brimming with great tunes and moments of gentle beauty, this is one of the most action-packed and bewildering hours you will spend this year. The essence of the Diablo Swing Orchestra sound remains intact: metal riffs, swing, jazz, gypsy fiddles and any number of unhinged detours, all crammed into meticulously crafted five-minute vignettes. Swagger And Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole simply feels like a purposeful upgrade from 2017’s Pacifisticuffs, with greater emphasis on killer hooks and more weirdness at every unexpected turn.

Mischief lurks at the heart of the album’s greatest moments. Celebremos Lo Inevitable is an out-and-out riot, with accordions set to stun; Speed Dating An Arsonist is an electro-pop Charleston gone feral; Jig Of The Century is folk metal fed through a spinning prog rock prism; The Prima Donna Gauntlet sounds like Within Temptation, if they were kidnapped by Papa Lazarou. Greatest of all, Les Invulnéables is a beautiful, noir-ish ballad with big surges or orchestral pomp. It is, quite literally, all going on. And more importantly than that, it is all obnoxiously and infectiously entertaining, and quite unlike anything else you will hear this year. Join the party. Embrace the madness.

Diablo Swing Orchestra's Swagger And Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole is now via Candlelight Records

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.