Diamanda Galás

Divine Punishment/Saint of the Pit

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When most people think of Satanic music, they picture long-haired metal bands banging away evil anthems in leather and spandex. But few know that artists like Diamanda Galas are lurking in the musical underground, making far more scary noise in tribute to Satan. Although much of her music is meant to be metaphorical, it is hard to read the messages in between her hideous grunting and growling. Her amazing voice reaches operatic heights one moment, just to plummet into a horrifying bass hiss the next. These songs are inspired by both Biblical texts and poetry, and are sung in her emotionally draining voice with an urgency unheard of in modern music. Most listeners will probably by genuinely scared by the music on this album -- there is nothing remotely pop about it. Quiet synthesizers and pounding piano playing haunting minor keys provide the perfect platform for Galas's intense voice. This is actually two albums combined into one, and on top of that they are actually the first two parts of a trilogy. The first half, known as The Divine Punishment, is the scariest, mixing in bits of the Old Testament with Galas's own cryptic lyrics. The second half is less oriented towards Christian ideology, but is no less sonically experimental. Listeners brave enough to make it past the first few minutes might find themselves entranced by Galas's firm grasp of composing and her unending enthusiasm towards her own material. It is hard to say who this album would be made for; but to the curious music fan, Diamanda Galas has a lot to offer.

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