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Music / Diablo Swing Orchestra

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The Diablo Swing Orchestra dates back to 16th century Sweden, where legend tells of an orchestra that played music so seductive and divine that they overwhelmed audiences all over the country. Defying the dictatorial ruling of the Swedish crown and the church that held so much sway over the country, they captured the hearts of people from all walks of life. Sensing their power waning, the church retaliated, accusing them of being "devil-worshipers" and the "spawn of Satan", eventually labeling them as The Devil's Orchestra. The name caught on, and after their attempts at slander had failed, the church framed them for murder. Two years later, tired of living as fugitives, they played a grand finale and let themselves be captured and executed. But before doing this, they all signed a pact saying that their descendants were given the task of reviving the orchestra in 500 years with the instructions being placed in envelopes given to six trustees. Then in 2003, by mere chance, two of the original orchestra descents meet in a music shop and begin to discuss music. They received a mysterious envelope from an ancient relative and, in three months, find the remaining descendants and revive the orchestra...

Diablo Swing Orchestra is an Avant-Garde Swing Metal band that originated in Sweden in 2004. They incorporate numerous genres on a regular basis, making it rather difficult to classify them in any one genre at any given time. More often than not, however, you can find they'll probably show signs of Big Band, Symphonic Metal, Progressive Metal, and Avant-Garde Metal at any given time. The band originally began as a sextet before adding Daniel Hedin (trombone) and Martin Isaksson (trumpet) as full-time members, making them an octet.

As the official mythology of the band's origin above shows, they're a rather quirky group, and it shows in their music. They often employ tongue-in-cheek humor, odd lyrics, and even stranger music. They offer their first album, The Butcher's Ballroom, for free on Jamando:


  • The Butcher's Ballroom (2006)
  • Sing-Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious (2009)
  • Pandora's Piñata (2012)
  • Pacifisticuffs (2017)
  • Swagger & Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole (2021)

Current Members:

  • Kristin Evegård - lead vocals, piano (2014-)
  • Daniel Håkansson - lead vocals, guitar (2003-)
  • Pontus Mantefors - guitar, synthesizer, FX, vocals (2003-)
  • Anders Johansson - bass (2003-)
  • Johannes Bergion - cello, backing vocals (2003-)
  • Daniel Hedin - trombone, backing vocals (2011-)
  • Martin Isaksson - trumpet, backing vocals (2011-)
  • Johan Norbäck - drums, percussion, backing vocals (2012-)

Former Members:

  • Lisa Hansson - lead vocals (2003-2005)
  • AnnLouice Lögdlund - lead vocals (2005-2014)
  • Andreas Halvardsson - drums (2003-2010)
  • Petter Karlsson - drums (2010-2012)

Diablo Swing Orchestra provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alliterative Title: "Balrog Boogie," "Rancid Romance," "Stratosphere Serenade," "Porch of Perception" and "Malign Monologues" for song titles. The Butcher's Ballroom and Pandora's Piñata for album titles.
  • Appropriated Appellation: According to the band's "backstory", the church referred to the band's first incarnation as "the Devil's orchestra". The musicians gladly used that name for themselves, and their reincarnations adopted a variation of it as well 500 years later.
  • Avant-Garde Metal
  • Bedlam House: "Bedlam Sticks" is about this. Maybe.
  • Big Band
  • Book Ends: "Black Box Messiah" ends with a brief quote of the start of its Epic Instrumental Opener track, "How to Organize a Lynch Mob".
  • Corrupt Church: The main antagonist of their tongue-in-cheek origin story.
  • Creepy Circus Music: A reoccurring theme on Sing-Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: Used very frequently, even among some of the shorter songs.
    • A few of their shorter tracks act as this for other songs. "How to Organize a Lynch Mob" opens "Black Box Messiah", "Gunpowder Chant" goes into "Infralove", and "Siberian Love Affairs" is the intro to "Vodka Inferno".
  • Epic Rocking: Most of their songs tend to be average length, but each album has at least one.
    • The Butcher's Ballroom has "Pink Noise Waltz" (6:04)
    • Sing-Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious has "Lucy Fears the Morning Star" (6:35) and "Stratosphere Serenade" (8:25)
    • Pandora's Piñata has "Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball" (6:02), "Mass Rapture" (6:03), and "Justice for Saint Mary" (8:17)
    • Swagger & Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole has "Les invulnérables" (6:02).
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Stratosphere Serenade"
  • Genre-Busting
  • Genre Mashup: On a semi-regular basis, they combine Progressive Metal and Big Band Swing, incorporating other genres as they go.
  • Genre Roulette: Almost all of their songs are in their own unique style, and sometimes they switch from genre to genre several times within one song.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: Done for comedic effect in "Balrog Boogie", where a particularly high note is followed by a broken glass sound effect.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Quite a few songs have gratuitous foreign lyrics, usually more for fun than anything else. For example, "Voodoo Mon Amour" (Gratuitous French), "D'Angelo" (Gratuitous Italian), "Black Box Messiah" (Gratuitous Japanese), and "Vodka Inferno" (Gratuitous Russian). "Balrog Boogie"'s Gratuitous Latin stands out, as the whole song is nothing but Latin Word Salad Lyrics.
  • Gratuitous Panning: The opening of "Porcelain Judas" and the beginning of the outro to "Justice for Saint Mary".
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Happens on occasion.
  • Instrumentals: "Gunpowder Chant", "Qualms of Conscience", and "How to Organize a Lynch Mob".
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Quite a bit, the crowning example being "How to Organize a Lynch Mob".
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Justice for Saint Mary" is pretty dark throughout, but in more of an atmospheric sense. Then comes the last few minutes...
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Qualms of Conscience"
  • Metal Scream: Used in "Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball"
  • Mind Screw: Some of the lyrics. And the music.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Gunpowder Chant", "Qualms of Conscience", "Siberian Love Affairs", and "How to Organize a Lynch Mob".
  • Mood Whiplash: Some of the songs will abruptly jump from metal to a somber quieter section back to metal. "Rancid Romance" almost immediately goes from Metal to a classical-esque Cello solo over an accordion.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Very, very common.
  • Previews Pulse: Towards the end of "Justice for Saint Mary"
  • Progressive Metal
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Their live attire is usually black suits with red ties and black dresses.
  • Recycled Lyrics: "D'Angelo" has the same lyrics of "Velvet Embracer", but in Gratuitous Italian instead of English.
  • Shout-Out: "Balrog Boogie" is a rather obvious one to The Lord of the Rings.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "How to Organize a Lynch Mob" and "Black Box Messiah".
  • Song Style Shift: "Justice for Saint Mary" does this twice towards the end, transition from the dark symphonic acoustic sound that was prevalent throughout the song to their usual fare, and then exploding into a Dubstep frenzy.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Done on occasion. "Vodka Inferno", for example, alternates between the operatic lead vocals and a low-pitched Russian carnival backing vocalist.
  • Symphonic Metal
  • The "The" Title Confusion: Technically, their name is "The" Diablo Swing Orchestra. But pretty much everyone, from fans to critics to the band themselves, drops it.
  • Title Drop: "Infralove" and "Heroines".
  • Uncommon Time: Not as often as other Progressive Metal bands, but they still employ this on occasion.
    • "Memoirs of a Roadkill" is mostly in 4/4, but the bridge has some measures of 6/4 and the outro is in 6/8.
    • End of "Superhero Jagganath" is in 7/8.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Originally it was Daniel and Lisa, then Daniel and AnnLouice from The Butcher's Ballroom to Pandora's Piñata, and now Daniel with Kristin as of Pacifisticuffs.
  • Word Salad Lyrics
  • Word Salad Title: Pretty much all of their song titles.


Video Example(s):


Diablo Swing Orchestra

Diablo Swing Orchestra, also shortened DSO, is a Swedish avant-garde metal band formed in 2003. They have released four albums: The Butcher's Ballroom (2006), Sing Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious (2009), Pandora's Pinata (2012) and Pacifisticuffs (2017).<br><br>Known for its blend of different genres, the band mixes numerous influences, most prominently from heavy metal, rock, swing, progressive, and classical, although various other influences are frequently mentioned by critics. The line-up features several instruments uncommon for rock or metal bands, such as a cellist, a trumpeter, and a trombonist, while their albums often prominently feature string and brass sections.<br><br>The song used as an example is "Voodoo Mon Amour."

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / AvantGardeMetal

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