“Symphonic black metallers Diabolic Breed bestowed their existence in the late nineties. They released their debut album just two years ago. Japanese label World Chaos Productions saw the massive potential in Diabolical Breed, thus leading to a contract between both parties for the excellent Compendium Infernus. Diabolical Breed have a complexity which goes beyond mere black metal standards. One can call them symphonic black metal but that label is also attached to bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth so it’s too limiting. Perhaps the band closest to Diabolical Breed’s sophisticated style would be Limbonic Art. There is plenty of the grim, cold, traditional black metal on Compendium Infernus, but the main element of the band is Count Baron’s symphonic keyboards. On songs like “In the Eye of the Storm” and “Falne Krigere” this element is dominant. Diabolical Breed do a great job of building intensity on “The Night of Shooting Stars.” “Descendant of Satan” is busy and claustrophobic before decreasing the speed element and having the melodic keyboards take over. This band is excellent and deserve much praise for what they accomplished here.
Diabolical Breed Compendium Infernus
Label: Worldchaos Production – KDM-013
Format: CD, Album
Released: Mar 2004
Genre: Black Metal
1 Dies Irae 2:30
2 Descendants Of Satan 8:51
3 In Majorem Sathanas Gloriam 6:50
4 Hominis Nocturna 6:21
5 The Night Of Shooting Star 7:10
6 In The Eyes Of The Storm 7:39
7 Falne Krigere 4:04
Bass – Nochmar
Drums – Marquis De Enfer
Guitar – Berserker
Keyboards – Count Darcon
Lead Guitar [Additional] – Stian Jensen
Vocals – Commander Kael
Recorded & mixed at Studio Nord, August 4-10 2003.
they put the “”symphonic”” in symphonic black metal!
Well. They put the “”symphonic”” in symphonic black metal! Single-handedly, the trance could erect a black church. Without the need of any construction workers.
There are a lot of things very particular to Diabolical Breed.
#1) The vocals are very subdued in the mix (good luck hearing any lyrics without the book).
#2) It feels like multiple keyboards are going on at once, ala Obsidian Gate. I think, though, that one of them is mere chanting. (I shouldn’t say “”mere.””)
#3) We only have 6 songs and they are kinda long, epic in fashion. Epic is a key word with Diabolical Breed.
Talking about context, we here have Norwegian symphonic black metal, but from 2004 (and this is the band’s first and only release). So we’re talking post black metal era. Everything can be heard (except the vocals being so back in the mix). The production is very clear. The band shows a very impressive [root of] black metal.
This is no “”Welcome to the Land of Black”” at all – a symphonic black metal album that is generally mid-tempo with few blastbeats and an atmosphere akin to Summoning minus the Tolkien themes. What I’m saying is: Diabolical Breed plays with AGGRESSION. The atmosphere is about as evil as you can get. Think “”Gorgoroth plays symphonic black metal.””
I want to make a point using track 5, “”The Night of Shooting Stars”” (I’m only temporarily neglecting the earlier songs). Shortly after the beginning of this song, there are some very enchanting “”black chants”” that leave a very powerful effect, very evil. The chants are identical to the ones heard on Enthrone Darkness Triumphant’s fourth song, “”Relinquishment of Spirit and Flesh”” (Dimmu Borgir). That is the EXACT chant. It may even be the same sample. (I exaggerate.) Later, a melody sounding like _<^< _<^< is also very haunting, evil, and enchanting. This album doesn’t get old as you progress through it. It is very consistently intense, consistently epic, and consistently aggressive.
Let’s not forget we also have the music video for “”Hominis Nocturna,”” track 4. I’ve watched it a few times. It is a concrete example of the atmosphere the band goes for. The word “”unrelenting”” comes to mind. I will never forget my first experience with the full album and my following along in the lyric book. I was impressed. There are a lot of unrepeated lyrics. Think of some other black metal bands. I recall Limbonic Art. That band doesn’t repeat a single “”chorus”” – they often repeat multiple consecutive verses, and sometimes more than once! I don’t recall Diabolical Breed doing that. They seem to always be interested in moving forward in their songs – never going backward in order to go forward.
My first exposure to the band was through “”In Majorem Sathanas Gloriam,”” track 3 (track 1 is an intro). Evil evil evil. Re-read my brief first paragraph. This song empowers you enough to make you want to walk up to a skateboarder and wish he never thought of himself as “”tough”” because he rides a skateboard. YOU become the strongest force within a few miles when you listen to this song. Do I need to suggest you play it loudly?
The whole album is unrelenting. Better yet, it is increasingly epic. Each time you get to the end of a song, you say to yourself, “”It can only go downhill from here.”” But it doesn’t. So there’s no way this CD is anything but 5 stars. It’s not In the Nightside Eclipse, and it doesn’t try to be. Appreciate it for what it is.
the cinematic soundtrack to the Apocalypse
It may not look like it from the album’s cover, but within this crusty stripped down album is an ultra-dense masterpiece of Norwegian symphonic black metal very much in the style of Limbonic Art, with its own unique character. Despite the fact that this group comes from Norway and features the drummer of Enslavement of Beauty, Diabolical Breed have suffered major setback after major setback and still to this day they have received no note for their efforts. Its a real pity, as few symphonic black metal groups can deliver a sound this ghastly and dire.
This group is not like Vordven, Asgaroth, or Nazgul, whose their lush arrangements betraying a fantastic and heroic atmosphere. In fact this is a lot more like Tartaros. The music is decidedly wicked and demonic in its delivery without a glimmer of hope. I’ve sometimes have used certain descriptive words to convey the ‘sound’ of some of the more infamous overly-orchestrated black metal albums out there. “”Moon in the Scorpio”” would be ‘Hell’, “”The Red Jewel”” a ‘haunted house’, “”Archives of Enchanted Philosophy”” would be a cathedral. In the case of “”Compendium Infenus””, this would be ‘the Apocalypse’. The sheer power of the music here is like mountains being thrown up into the shy and then crashing back to Earth. It is the cinematic soundtrack to the closing of mankind’s tenure in this reality, the final retribution for his pitiful efforts of ego and his vile transgressions. The pantheon of Gods have decreed that man is a hopeless corruption and this world lost. So strike up the choirs of angels and demons and let the orchestra wail the cosmic agony of a million voices in despair. The vessel of the earth shall be crushed and pounded into clay once again and all past creations extinguished utterly.
Diabolical Breed has brought us a glimpse of this Eschaton with their formula of mixing slightly melodic but ugly and fast black metal with giant, huge symphonic arrangements, both vying for the dominion of their sound. One reviewer I read criticized the group for the fact that both the orchestral and metal elements were constantly at full blast, dueling and overpowering each other. This reviewer felt it to be negative, that their music would have been better if the complex synths were pushed to the rear or toned back a bit. I have to disagree and point out, if their wish was the case, then what would set Diabolical Breed apart from other bands of their type. Must we always repeat “”In the Nightside Eclipse””? Or must is be like the Australian group Nazxul who simply sound like Watain with keyboards? This very aspect that the reviewer feels is a determent to Diabolical Breed is in my opinion their shining strength. What the group has done by overdriving everything is create a massive assault on the senses. Just listen to the song “”In the Eye of Storm”” and watch as soon as the blasts come in, and everything is a tsunami of power. Much like Limbonic Art’s “”Moon in the Scorpio””, this is an album where volume is definitely key. The louder you play it, the more incredible it becomes! You could shake down a whole building with a good stereo system! And the music is goddamned unrelenting!
Why then does this album end up in the cheap bins and back stock of distributors? There are a couple of reasons. One is that Compendium Infernus came out at the lowest point of interest in symphonic black metal. The genre had year before been cut out by the elitists and now by this point, the same reactionary backlash against symphonic black metal had just become the popular movement. And Diabolical Breed came in to deliver metal that sounded too much like a blend of modern Dimmu Borgir with Gorgoroth plus a towering inferno of keyboards to go with it. This was not a formula for success in 2004. It made no ripples at all in the scene. A few webzines gave it lackluster or negative reviews… some of them appearing only to bother to look at the band because they were a Norwegian black metal band (thereby apparently indicative of quality). All that was needed was these few details and no one would bother to stop and give this album a second thought.
I was lucky. I was looking the backstock of Full Moon Productions shortly before the label closed when I found this album for sale, with the tagline being “”symphonic black metal with lots of synth””. The album cover was not shown and had I seen it I likely would not have looked closely. But thankfully the description made me curious. One sample of the “”Night of Shooting Stars”” was all I needed to prove to me that I had a winner.
This album was released by the Japanese label Worldchaos Productions. It came in a jewel case plus a digipak that had a little bit extra artwork in it. The artwork is very crusty and printed on cardstock that makes it more hazy and bizarre to look at (like all albums on Worldchaos). It is all layered in a dull green/blue tint (pale blue in the digipak). Mostly its pictures of the band members plus an image of two children, a demon and an angel one. Again the digipak version has a few more band photos in it. Its bizarre and grimy-looking, but the imagery is still black metal style and I’ve come to enjoy it anyways. Its a good reflection of the music within, as a classical romantic painting like those that grace Summoning albums would definitely not work for this music.
I find this band and their delivery, imagery, plus their lyrics to be a whole lot more satisfying than modern Dimmu Borgir with their industrial sound and goofy imagery and lyrics. Plus they are more orchestral than Dimmu too, less rollicking and upbeat. Diabolical Breed is a great alternative.
The band since this album is a sad fate. They produced a music video, featuring all the nice classical images of robed monks performing black rituals in the woods. Again way better than the cartoonish stuff of Dimmu’s output. Must have cost the band some money, that sadly turned out not to do much for their popularity. The misfortunate time period of this album coming out admists a huge backlash against black metal of its style gave the band little chance for success. Without any real major interest in their first album, Diabolical Breed went into the slow work on their second output. Misfortune struck again as a flood destroyed their recording studio and equipment. It seems to appear that the group has not really recovered and nearly 10 years have passed since they left their one album to the world.
Sad, but regardless. No real popularity can quantify the experience that Compendium Infernus provides. Put it on and turn it up and it becomes less of a musical creation and more of a vision to something far more terrifying. It holds a black truth of fatality and desolation. A glimpse of the dramatic end of existence. Its a grim reminder that at any moment, all that we strive for and built for ourselves can be struck down in a sweep of a scythe. No matter how much we may boast our existence is under a sword of Damocles, and we may be snuffed out like that and turned into base matter once again. Get this album and experience the truth for yourself, and pale under the mountainous weight of it.”