Diorama’s penchant for auditory explanation is approached with a finesse that is rare to find in modern darkwave music. The dark synthpop is as present as ever on their latest offering, Even the Devil Doesn’t Care, but fans can’t know exactly what to expect outside of those parameters. The band’s eighth studio album tones down the dance in exchange for a sound more organic and more sonically encompassing.
The rock components are tuned up from beginning to end of the album’s 70-minute runtime, grinding through crunchy layers of guitars that bounce and pulse like crackling tuneful static. It’s uncannily gothic, such as on opener “Maison Du Tigre” and the demented cabaret waltz of “When We Meet Again in Hell,” which crescendos as it goes on. The beats and synths are still at the forefront, flurrying in sync with the guitars to create atmospheres both sinister and lush. The interaction of these components almost forges a sound reminiscent of progressive rock, moving away from modern industrial and darkwave. The transitions and interludes contained in “The Long Way Home from the Party,” which is at a modest length of 5:14, shift through loud and quiet, dense and thin, angry and reserved. The electro-gothiness of classic Diorama is an ever-lingering serpent, but it is supported with these new ingredients that comfortably and carefully establish this effort as a new progression in the band’s sound. The past comparisons to Diary of Dreams are rendered null with Devil, leaving behind the sorrowful introversion of their early work and bravely pushing forward with new dark horizons.
Vocalist Torben Wendt still puts on a grade-A performance, masterfully navigating his phantasmagoric baritone through lonely moans and powerful croons that border on being operatic. His voice is the perfect undercurrent for this album’s theme, which seems to revolve around the universal struggle of having to face our fears and problems and finding ways to distract ourselves.
The enormous overdose of modern darkwave and industrial is destined to churn out copycats and generic electro fodder, but Diorama has pushed through trends and fads to craft a deep and mesmerizing tone of choice, letting it evolve throughout the ages with exciting results. Even the Devil Doesn’t Care is the latest result of that evolution, and it will be exciting to see where it goes in the future.