One of the most cunning releases of the year 2001 was DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE's "Death's Design", the so-called original motion picture soundtrack for a movie that never saw the light of day. With a mere 61 tracks (several lasting around 20 seconds) spanned over 43 minutes, the overall concept of the album may seem awkward at first, but the listener will quickly find himself adapted to this format, to his greatest pleasure.
Alternating between short bursts of instrumental tranquillity and blasting clips of Black Metal-madness, "Death's Design" concentrates on atmosphere first and foremost. Those looking for non-stop brutal Metal will be disappointed. But still, the heterogeneous blend often leaves one out of breath and confused [perhaps a bit like "pure Black Metal" à la DARKTHRONE]. Nevertheless, each and everyone should find many elements to his/her liking in this album. Right away I feel the obligation to bow my head when I behold the musical genius found in this rather uncommon formula. Though there never was and probably never will be a "Death's Design: The Movie", I found myself constantly drawn deep into my imagination whenever a new song played.
In simpler words, each track helps me conceive [virtually] a new scene [or new atmosphere] of this unborn movie. The music itself is excellent and though it's a bit linear, new twists always await the listener throughout the record. The more "standard" Black Metal-parts are brilliantly played and are heavily encrusted with keyboards melodies. Blackheim's voice is dark and eerie and so is the music on which it dances. The presence of Sir Dan Swanö is welcomed and definitely brings a certain flavour to this unusual piece.
Just a quick note that's worth mentioning: the artwork for this album is nothing less than marvellous. Travis Smith has once again fractured every rule there ever was about visual art and has given us a beautiful DigiPak-cover and a superb fold-up poster. His mastery over digital imaging will leave you speechless...
No score for this record. I really can't compare it with anything I've seen before. Let's just say I loved every second of "Death's Design" and it's really one of my favourite albums of 2001.