When Diabolic Night’s debut dropped in 2019 (‘Beneath the Crimson Prophecy’), it felt like a breath of fresh air. The genre of Black/Thrash is not exactly one where originality is in fashion (or even needed), but sometimes in dire need of bands willing to change up the formula every now and then. The young German band did just that, not only delivering a tasty onslaught of headbanging riffs but fused it with a wealth of classic German Speed Metal to elevate it further, giving an epic and fantasy feel to the music. After some years of absence, the duo behind the act have returned to deliver the same neck-breaking barrage of riffs while also emphasizing storytelling.
As I said, Diabolic Night is not your standard Black/Thrash act. They certainly have a lot of the characteristics of the genre, such as the constant rapid-fire delivery of riff after riff, punkish and potent drumming or even a gruff vocal delivery. Yet these elements are weaved together with classic Speed and Heavy Metal, evident in many moments where the songs abruptly erupt into soaring melodic leads. The act do well in picking parts from the rich history of quality bands that Germany has always offered – there are sprinkles of Kreator, Sodom, early Running Wild, Iron Angel and so on that give the music an exciting layer. Often bands in this style will eschew melody in fear of appearing cheesy or saccharine, but it does the opposite here – instead injecting the music with urgency and helping evoke an atmosphere of a medieval battlefield. This is no coincidence as ‘Beneath the Crimson Prophecy’ is a concept album which tells the story of the fictional realm of Arktares, a kingdom that eventually succumbs in battle.
While I have already mentioned the pool of influences that Diabolic Night draw from, another inevitable comparison that comes to mind are the early works of their fellow countrymen Desaster. Just like Desaster, there is a desire to not just pummel the listener with rhythmic battery and gritty riffs, but to take the listener on a triumphant adventure through an old medieval kingdom. More straightforward numbers such as ‘Tales of Past & Mystery’ or ‘Pandemonium’ are paired alongside longer epic form tracks like ‘Starlit Skies’ or the closer ‘Arktares Has Fallen’ – these latter numbers are where we see Steeler’s ambitious guitar playing, giving us a non-stop bombardment of Thrashy riffs paired with gorgeous guitar leads that make you want to pick up a sword yourself and join the fight.
This sophomore effort by Diabolic Night will appeal to not just appeal to purist fans of Black/Thrash, people looking for more ‘medieval’ sounding metal,for those who want to dip their toes into the genre or even for those who are just fans of classic Heavy/Speed Metal. It offers a little something for everyone, every note played further narrating an epic struggle of a kingdom as it faces an invasion.