DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE is the solo project of KATATONIA guitar-player Blackheim. The music of DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE is totally different from the other band however, where KATATONIA plays Doom Metal (well, not anymore… - Alex), DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE can be best described as a marriage between an eerie, spooky atmosphere and extreme Metal. I think that's what I like most about the band, it's pretty fast Black at some times, but the atmosphere is so damn creepy and it's very fitting for the music, although it not often encountered in other Black Metal-releases.
On the second record "My Phantom Lodge", Blackheim again plays all instruments, with the exceptions of some guest musicians here and there (like Dan Swanö, who also appears on other DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE-records). I don't know what it is about one-man projects, but for some reason they are always quite spectacular (like DEAD SILENT SLUMBER is Jens "Naglfar" Rydén and AYREON is also only 1 guy, both acts rule!) and so is this project!! Most people will know the later DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE-records, so I will write this review with the later release of "Nightwork" and "Death's Design" incorporated.
So, in what way is this record different from the just mentioned records? As with many older records, they tend to be a little bit rawer and less polished. But there's still the DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE-level of incorporating "unusual" elements in the music to add to the atmosphere. The flutes and bagpipes on the relatively down-pace track "Ravenclaw" for instance sound great and overall this is probably my favourite track on "My Phantom Lodge". But like we can expect from Blackheim, DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE is a synonym for high quality Metal. With tracks like "Astray Within The Coffinwood Mill", the previously mentioned "Ravenclaw", "Cloaked By The Moonshine Mist", and "Across The Open Vault And Away…", which basically is a fantastic acoustic part with flutes, that then explodes into the song "Hater", it's obvious that we have another Diabolical masterpiece here.
I can recommend buying this to all DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE-fans, all Black Metal-fans, and everyone else that's a Metalhead should at least try one DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE-record out (I'd say I like "Nightwork" the best, then a tie for second between "Death's Design" and "The Phantom Lodge"). Thumbs up for "The Phantom Lodge" and Blackheim!!!!