Diablo Swing Orchestra – “Pandora’s Piñata” (2012)


Label : Candlelight Records

Review by Luisa Mercier

Back in 2006, when “The Butcher’s Ballroom” was released, I truly felt it was something totally new, a breath of fresh air in the female fronted scene that started to show signs of lack of inspiration. They also were really underground, it was hard to find a copy of the album, but thanks to the very effective “word of mouth” on the web, soon their fame increased. And here we are, six years later, with a world tour incoming and albums sold all over the Internet and physical shops. In the meanwhile, they released another album “Sing Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious” which showcased their classy trademark avantgarde metal mixing Russian folk, Italian opera, metal and much more. After three years, a new record deal with Candlelight, D:S:O are again on the stage with “Pandora’s Piñata”. I have to admit that I did not expect a great surprise since, after the first album, the avantgarde scene got filled up with bands, and a lot of ideas were alreay taken. I am happy to say that Diablo Swing Orchestra changed my mind after a few listenings. “Pandora’s Piñata” is a mix of metal of various kinds and folk from all over the world blended by D:S:O unique way of doing music. The opener “Voodoo Mon Amour” is a classic DSO tune that reminds me a bit of “Ballrog Boogie”. Metal meets swing, while in the following “Guerrilla Laments”, Diablo Swing Orchestra have created a new genre: samba metal. The usual jazz influences are not missing. Ann-Louice really is shining through the record with her opera vocals mixed with an atmosphere that seems coming out straight of Rio de Janeiro Carnival. “Kevlar Sweethearts” is one of my personal favourite and has a beautiful soft string arrangement, while Ann-Louice uses her non-opera vocals. They are beautiful, elegant showing how she can handle different styles. The song is a bit less fast than the previous ones, more guitar driven but the hook never misses his goal. “How to Organize a Lynch Mob” is just a string instrumental break. One of the craziest tracks is “Black Box Messiah” with its crazy kids chorus that reminded me of Pin-Up Went Down. Male vocals make their appearance and I can hear some folk influences from distant China. A nice contrast between chunking guitar riffs and strings in the intro of “Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball”, finding its way through electronics, trumpets and drums. The way male vocals have been handled in the end, recalled me some of the more symphonic Muse stuff. A musical feeling is what you get from “Aurora”, a track to let Ann-Louice show all her skills. It is a completely orchestral aria that would not make a poor impression on a Broadway stage. Middle-Eastern feelings is what you get from the beginning of “Mass Rapture”, and all over it is a very symphonic piece, quite different from the rest. Another gem, for sure. “Honey Trap Aftermath” is not metal, it is very jazzy, swing oriented, while “Of Kali Ma Calibre” has almost black metal blast-beats. Another highlight of the record. Closing track “Justice for Saint Mary” was a bit of a let-down since til half of the track sounds the same. It is a ballad that slowly changed and turns into a stormy metal track and in the end into a dubstep track. We are at the end of this crazy trip and all I can say is that D:S:O again delivered a very good record. They are among the strongholds of avantgarde metal.

Rating – 75/100



  1. Vodoo Mon Amour
  2. Guerrilla Laments
  3. Kevlan Sweethearts
  4. How to Organize a Lynch Mob
  5. Black Box Messiah
  6. Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball
  7. Aurora
  8. Mass Rapture
  9. Honey Trap Aftermath
  10. Of Kali Me Kalibre
  11. Justice for Saint Mary


Line Up

  • Annlouice Loegdlund – Vocals 
  • Daniel Håkansson – Guitars & Vocals
  • Pontus Mantefors  – Guitars & FX
  • Andy Johansson – Bass
  • Petter Karlsson – Drums
  • Johannes Bergion – Cello 
  • Martin Isaksson – Trumpet
  • Daniel Hedin – Trombone 



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