Formed in 2012, Diabolical Mental State’s debut album has been a long time coming.
That’s not to suggest the band haven’t been busy. By all accounts there is a healthy underground metal scene in Lisbon which the band appear proud to be a part of.
During an extensive period on the road, promoting their 2014 EP (Basic Social Control) Diabolical Mental State clocked up 60+ dates playing between the North and South of Portugal.
They have shared stages with the likes of Primal Attack, Ramp, Switchtense, Revolution Within, Terror Empire, Steal Your Crown, Legacy of Cynthia, Infraktor and Destroyers of All.
Taking this into account, DMS have certainly paid their dues. It’s also significant to note that this record was written in the aftermath of some key line-up changes. Losing their singer and guitarist in 2016 is an occurrence that could easily have stopped lesser bands in their tracks – but not so with Diabolical Mental State. They picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and got on with bringing the riff.
This clear commitment to keeping their momentum has paid off, because from the start Diabolical World is nothing if not a confident record.
When the gentle Spanish guitar of Initium Diabolicus gives way to the rampant thrash of The Town it’s easy to imagine pits erupting into a relentless mosh.
DMS set the energy bar high and maintain it for a set of tight, aggressive hardcore, interspersed with some dexterous heavy metal solos.
A song like Home Invasion showcases the band’s thrash influences while Jungle demonstrates what Metallica’s St. Anger could’ve sounded like with a sharper, beefier production. It’s seething stuff that pushes a message of frustration with the world we live in.
To emphasise this point further, the band uses a brief clip sampled from Stephen King’s Storm Of The Century to assure the listener, “Your town is full of adulterers, pedophiles, thieves, gluttons, murderers, bullies, scoundrels, and covetous morons. And I know every last one of them!”
Dynamically speaking, there is little deviation from this full-on, impassioned delivery. This is an album written to whip people up into a frenzy. It’s an album for the fast and the furious, the skaters and risk takers. It’s also a masculine and boisterous album that keeps its fist clenched and doesn’t let its guard down. Even the quieter moments that book-end the release are delivered with a heavy hand and bristling with tension.
This being the case, it’s easy to miss some of the nuances on the first pass. A worthy highlight being the gallop of Elements Of War that gives way to a Sabbath-y grind with an Alice In Chains style vocal.
It’s a brief change of flavor but, crucially, one that demonstrates an extra creative gear and ensures value in repeated listens.
Most of all, Diabolical World will appeal if you want a short, sharp shot of sonic adrenaline to soundtrack your rebellion. It’s an angry album. An aural punch. It’s pissed off – but it’s not without musical merit. There are enough riffs here to get excited by and the musicianship is of a high calibre. It makes for quite a potent mix and one that I will give a solid recommendation.