There's plenty of musical experimentation going around, thanks to the mounting trend of laptop recording, but when was the last time you actually heard something new, as in an identifiable flavor you'd never tasted? Well, here it is: The guitar/drums/upright-bass trio Asmodeus plays a precise combination of rockabilly and metal. And what seems like a novelty on paper sounds like a new subgenre on record -- that is, at least for about half the tracks on Diabolique Royale, highlighted by the complex instrumental "Phantasmo." This is no mere psychobilly, nor shit-kicking music along the lines of Nashville Pussy, but a perfect chimera of tough rockabilly and demonic, old-fashioned, 30-sided-die-rolling metal. And players less skilled than these three Amsterdam-based fanatics couldn't pull it off. The remainder of the album, dominated by punkier and twangier fare, shows off their range, but also dilutes the statement this band was born to make. Whereas Danzig has only hinted at this unholy combination, Asmodeus makes it seem forehead-slappingly obvious. Expect others to follow.


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