Since the first seconds my eyes and ears were graced with the hilarious video for “Sock ‘N’ Roll” I knew I had to get my hands on an album by Kontrust. Everything that was so not metal was metalized in that song and video and it completely and instantly won my heart over. Pop rock, sock puppets, dance music, yodeling, reggae, and touches of hip-hop attached themselves to the bands über-bouncy brand of groove metal, and it was one of the most rad things I’ve heard. Then I learned that the Austrian septet performed entire shows in lederhosen, man, how much cooler could this band get! Before going into their latest record, Second Hand Wonderland, I had my reservations that the rest would not be able to match the pure cheesy genius of “Sock ‘N’ Roll”, fortunately the rest of the album contains all the ridiculous splendor of that tune, and then some.
When I think back to my earliest memories of music fandom, the most treasured and vivid ones linking back to before I even had the capability to record long-term memories were those of my time spent with my grandfather. I can still remember it like yesterday as me and my mother would take our frequent visits to my grandparents house and my Granpa would be sitting in his recliner with the A.M. radio blasting the various big band, swing, and jazz artists that he loved so much (his hearing wasn’t that great, so 11 was the only acceptable point on the volume knob). Glen Miller, Count Basie, Paul Whiteman, and the almighty Benny Goodman were some of his favorites that he used to like to talk at length about giving me synopsis on their music and little me would sit in that recliner next to him listening to music with him breaking to mimic the trumpet player from time to time. So, yeah, when it comes down to it, I feel I have to credit my Granpa for being the ultimate catalyst to my current and lifelong obsession with all kinds of music. He has returned to the Earth some years ago, but whenever I hear any of his favorite artists or their style it tends to reel those amazing memories back putting me on the verge of being misty eyed and landing an ear to ear smile on my face.
So, what does my beloved Granpa and his favorite music have anything to do with metal? Well, Sweden’s Diablo Swing Orchestra have a new album out called Pandora’s Piñata and as I listen to their swing laden brand of metal I can’t hold back thoughts of Granpa and how I may have finally found a metal band that we could listen to together and then would nod his approval at (which he would then proceed to tell me that they’re too loud, or ‘too sweet’ as he put it, giving me a nice warm smile and a wink).
Have you ever had one of those moments where you hear a band for the first time and ask yourself ‘how in holy hell did I never hear of these guys before?’ Well for me within the first few seconds after stumbling on Sing-Along Songs For the Damned and Delirious by the Diablo Swing Orchestra I was asking myself that question. This is one of the most fun and freshest takes on crossover metal I’ve heard in years. They take big band, opera, and swing music and inject it until its gushing at the seams with glorious metal. The result is an absolutely raucous good time. It will make you want to headbang and throw chairs while you cut some mean rug with your best gal. If you’re open to hearing some totally unorthodox metal do not hesitate a second to check this band out. They also have an album that was released earlier this year called Pandora’s Piñata and I’m sure I will be grabbing that (along with this record) as quick as humanly possible as well as a debut record called The Butcher’s Ballroom (2006). Enjoy and leave your thoughts on the band. Did you love it, hate it, apathetic, does crossover metal annoy you? Peace Love and Metal!!