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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Elliott's Eccentricities- Balrog Boogie by Diablo Swing Orchestra

The best part of being a music lover in constant search for new bands are the eureka moments that happen from time to time. You will be sitting at your desk or waiting for an opening act at a concert, completely ignorant of what is about to happen to your earholes. Then the band begins to play or you checkout a random video online and your world suddenly explodes into pure awesome. I am not talking about songs or bands that you need to listen to a couple times before you fall madly in love (like Swan Lake for me), I am talking about music that you instantly love on the spot.

It is the most incredible rush. You sort of scream out on the inside, “Holy crap yes this is fantastic! Where the Hell has this music been my whole life?!?!” One second your mild-mannered Elliott and the next you want to jump up and pulverize the support beams of the building you’re in with your fists because screw that building; it cannot possibly contain the amount of sheer awesome coursing through your veins. Almost every song that I have written about in this column has inspired this extreme joy the first time I listened to it. This week I stumbled upon yet another.

Earlier this week Mark, Eric, and I were hanging out at their place. We were taking turns playing albums as usual when Mark decided to put something new on. He loves to browse (where he discovered Brad Sucks) and just bumped into a band that caught his eye, Diablo Swing Orchestra. He pressed play and within seconds he and I were vibrating in joy. We both caught the DSO bug and got in a fist fight over who got to post it on the blog before the first song was over. Needless to say I won (I am a good fighter seeing as I pummel building support beams to dust regularly). So now I have the pleasure to bring you Balrog Boogie by Diablo Swing Orchestra. You might want to step outside before pressing play; your fists will appreciate it.

DSO is a band from Stockholm, Sweden with the most epic and elaborate back story. I am almost positive that the story is complete bull, but I like to pretend that it is true. You should definitely read it HERE. For those of you too lazy to get the juicy details, here is the story in short. 16th century orchestra is too awesome and the church tries to shut them down, they go on the run but soon realize that their time has come. They decide to hold one last giant blowout concert before they are captured and subsequently hung. Before they do so however they write letters to pass down to their ancestors to reform the Orchestra 500 years later. In 2003 two such ancestors get the letters and meet and reform the band with a modern flair.

The music the band plays is summed up pretty well by their name. It is a sort of epic dark orchestral swing music filled with epic Swedish (and sometimes English) vocal lines, intense guitar riffs, the occasional electronic flair, and demonic cello and brass. Diablo Swing Orchestra indeed. I feel like this music would be playing if I ever killed an ogre with my bare hands in the Swiss Alps. I really wouldn’t be surprised if I found out that their guitarist was none other than Swissgard Swissgelf.

I had a hard time picking which song I would write on because their entire first album, The Butcher’s Ballroom, is fantastic. So I decided to choose none other than the track that almost made me destroy Eric and Marks apartment, Balrog Boogie.  It starts off super jazzy with a funky bass line before kicking off a demonic swing that I swear could make the dead rise and dance a la Disney’s Skeleton Dance. I highly recommending muting the youTube video and playing Balrog Boogie while watching it, starting the video somewhere around 1:31, it synched up really well for me and kicked some serious ass.

On the eccentricity scale ranging from 1 to 10
1- I casually reference Metalocalypse.
10- I casually reference old school Disney cartoons.
Balrog Boogie - 6/10

Balrog Boogie sounds a bit like something Genie from Aladdin would jam too, if he was played by Nick Cave instead of Robin Williams (what is with me tonight and the Disney references?). It has a real swing to it. By opening with a demonic voice and closing it with evil laughter, DSO makes me feel like they are playing music straight from Hell. The female vocals shift between playful and epic in an instant which really drives the song. I did a quick search online and couldn’t really find a good translation that made any sense, a real shame. The song builds on itself until in closes in an epic finish. This song is a complete trip and one hell of a find. I really owe Mark for finding it (I’ll probably start by paying for his medical bills induced by the beating I gave him).

If you enjoyed this track, I highly recommend Rag Doll Physics; it was my second choice. It has English lyrics (sung with a Swedish accent!). You can look Diablo Swing Orchestra up on iTunes or grab The Butcher’s Ballroom for free (legally) HERE. Also, they are apparently releasing a new album on May 22nd!!!!

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