Diablo (VO)

interview Diablo (FIN)Here is a finnish band heavily inspired by bay-area's old-school scene. Not typical, isn't it ? 4 guys who regularly bring panic on their national charts with inspired & fresh thrash-metal. Their 4th & brand new album has just been released by Drakkar records, here's an interview in april 2006 with Marko Utriainen, guitarist of the mighty Diablo.

>Hi guys ! It seems that Diablo exists since the late 90's but i only discovered your music with your 4th & brand new album untitled "Mimic 47". Could you introduce your band to our readers with a history ? Where / when / who / why ?
Well, the roots go back to a town called Kalajoki which is in northern Finland. I met Rainer there when we were teenagers. It was 1987. I had just got a guitar as my 13th birthday present and wanted to play in a band. And the music had to be metal which I had started to listen to when I was 10. In small town like Kalajoki there really weren't that many players, let alone players that were into metal. So it was inevitable that we formed a band together with Rainer. The name of the band was Armatage and at that time we played pretty fast thrash-metal. We recorded three demo tapes with our 4-tracker. In the beginning of 90's we had to break up the band because we moved to southern Finland to start studies in different towns. I moved to Helsinki and Rainer to Tampere. However, it took less that a year to realise that we still want to play together. So I started to travel between Helsinki and Tampere every weekend. We found Timo Kemppainen to play drums and Aadolf Virtanen to bass. With that line-up we recorded two studio demos ‘Aggressive Machinery' and ‘To Where The Pain Is' under name Diablo Brothers. One of the songs on both of them were released on some compilation cd's but the record companies weren't still interested enough. Then we changed the name to Diablo and we did some serious thinking about how we should improve the song-writing. Then, the third self-financed release ‘Princess' finally took us there. We signed a deal with Finnish Poko Records and released our debut ‘Elegance In Black' in 2000. After the debut Heikki Malmberg replaced Timo Kemppainen in drums to form Diablo as it is also today. With that line-up we've now recorded three albums. Renaissance was released in 2002, Eternium in 2004 and the latest Mimic47 in 2006.

>Diablo's metal could be discribe like a mixture between Megadeth, Testament, Meshuggah, old Paradise Lost & Death. A crossover between power-thrash, gothik-metal & techical-melodic death. How would you describe your sound personally ?
We' haven't ever wanted to restrict ourselves to play just one kind of metal but we rather want to mix many styles. That way you can be more innovative and the songs are also more friendly to listeners, you know. You don't get bored after a few songs. Describing Diablo's music with only a few words is difficult because we don't fit into any of the metal genres directly. But I would say that we play modern metal which consist of ultra-heavy guitar riffing combined with harmonic solo guitars. The songs include lots of dynamics in both playing and singing. Personally, I can mention bands like Testament, Death, Slayer, Metallica, Meshuggah (Destroy Erase Improve album), Paradise Lost, Queensryche (Operation Mindcrime album) and Pantera to name a few bands and albums that have
interview Diablo (FIN)really made an impression on me.

>Let's talk about your brand new album now. When & where did you record it ? The production sounds really great.
The recordings took place in Fantom studio in Tampere from the end of august to the beginning of october 2005. Actually, we've been working with Samu Oittinen in Fantom since our very first studio demo tape (Aggressive Machinery, 1997) so the Diablo sound has evolved through years. Mimic47 is an excellent example of what Oittinen is capable of doing nowadays. The whole album is recorded and mixed in Fantom studio by him. They write nowadays in the finnish press about Diablo sound, so I guess we've been able to create a sound which is unique to us.

>Did you evolve in a way or another with this brand new album ? How have been the reactions following your past releases ?
On our first album Elegance in black we had just found our way of making music. On the album there are five songs from our self-financed cd-ep Princess and five new songs, which were composed in a hurry… Timo Kemppainen was on the drums at that time. He wasn't as technical as Heikki Malmberg is which restricted our song writing a bit. Then after Elegance in black Timo left the band and we found Heikki, a young and VERY talented drummer. That gave us more space in experiencing ideas. The result was Renaissance, which contains a bit more progressive stuff than we had on the first album. Renaissance went to #14 on the finnish albums list and we got more gigs and audience in Finland. Eternium was our break-through in Finland. On that album we put more effort on the song dynamics, song structures and also vocals. I guess that album is easier to approach than Renaissance. It went straight to #3 on the Finnish charts. Also due to the positive critics and success in Finland bigger record companies finally got interested in us and we signed a deal with Drakkar for central european release. Now, for the latest release Mimic47 we kind of continue on the same path but we intentionally wanted to expand the tempo scale a bit meaning that you find a couple of faster songs on it. Also we put even more emphasis on the song dynamics. In my opinion Rainer's voice has improved still a lot. Of course, due to the success of Eternium we had more time than ever in the studio to create a sound that is really crushing and heavy. The critics have mostly been very positive for Mimc47 and we got the pole position on both the singles and albums chart in Finland straight after releasing the album and Mimic47 single.

>It's obvious you're much more influenced by US metal than scandinavian bands. Are you fed up with this finnish over-melodic style of metal (Children of Boredom, Sonata Shitica, Stratoanus…) ?
Yes, I guess you've got it right. In my opinion, our sound is more american than scandinavian, and in a good way, I think. We've always listened more to american bands like already mentioned. Of course, some swedish bands like Meshuggah have made a great impact on me and the other band members as well. I can't say that I'm fed up with the finnish style you mentioned but it's just not my style. I like more hammering guitar riffs.

>How do you compose your music generally ? Is there a leader in the pack ?
I've been mostly responsible for the music and Rainer for the lyrics even t
interview Diablo (FIN)hough he also does some riffs to the songs. All the lyrics are Rainer's stuff. Let me try to describe the song-writing process with a few words. Usually I sit down with my guitar and start to play to see if anything good comes up. Sometimes I get a strong inspiration and if that happens I can write a new song in one ore two days. But normally it is just working long hours developing some ideas further until they are good enough to let Rainer hear them. Then if Rainer is happy with what he hears, we decide to go further with the idea. Rainer writes the lyrics and I do a guitar solo. I always try to work with the song as long as it takes so that it finally flows nicely. Working with my PC and Pro Tools is essential when considering the song structure because it is so easy to put the riffs in different order and listen to which order is the best for a song. I'd say it would probably be impossible to compose an album like Mimic47 if there weren't all the modern software stuff. Or at least it would take a lot longer to complete an album that satisfies you fully. I don't mean that the machine itself does some riffs but it gives you the easiness of experimenting with the ideas that you have in mind.

>Let's talk about black-metal now. Finland has a bunch of great bands like Satanic Warmaster, Behexen or Horna… Are you into this kind of metal ? What do you think about religion & metal ?
Personally, I've never liked black-metal… For me metal is okay no matter what the lyrics say if it is well composed and played. But I prefer lyrics where there isn't anything religious, satanic or political content.

>What do you think about these controversial drawings of Mahomet in Danemark ? Don't you think that tolerance & islam are paradoxical ?
Well, I'm not a religious person so it's really difficult to say how seriously that kind of drawings should be taken. I mean, in my opinion you can make jokes on pretty much anything. The world would be a lot better place if there were a bit more tolerance between different cultures. In this recent case things just went a bit too far.

>Lets' talk about your lyrics. What do your texts deal with ?
As far as I've understood Rainer likes to write lyrics about everyday life. So it's about feelings like anger and hatred etc. He also reads a lot in order to get an inspiration. For example, the title song Mimic47 was inspired by what happened five years ago in Finland. There was a scandal in the cross-country skiing world championships in Lahti where almost all Finnish men skiers got caught from some doping to improve their performance. It was considered as a national shame in the Finnish press. The song is about the feelings that the guys had to go through during that time.

>Do you think you will tour outside Finland to promote your new album ? In France maybe ? Last words are yours, thanx for your time….
We would definitely want to play outside Finland as soon as possible . A European tour would be inspiring. I mean, we have only played in Finland for the time being so we already know all the clubs and festivals here. It would be a challenge for us to come to Europe and be in front of a new audience where nobody would have seen us playing before.

Interview done by DJ In Extremis

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