Devil Doll (Slovenian band)
|Genres||Experimental rock, progressive rock, art rock, gothic rock, symphonic rock, heavy metal|
|Labels||Hurdy Gurdy Jugoton|
|Past members||Last known lineup:|
Michel Fantini Jesurum
Devil Doll is an Italian-Slovenian experimental rock band formed in 1987 by the mysterious "Mr. Doctor". The band has gained a cult following, taking influences from gothic rock, classical and Slavonic folk music, and fronted by the sprechgesang of Mr. Doctor himself. The band is notable for very lengthy epics, none under 20 minutes.
Formation and The Mark of the Beast (1987)
Mr. Doctor recruits the members of Devil Doll through an advertisement with the heading:
"A man is the less likely to become great the more he is dominated by reason: few can achieve greatness – and none in art – if they are not dominated by illusion."
The first work of Devil Doll was The Mark of the Beast, recorded in Tivoli Studios, Ljubljana in the last half of 1987. Amongst the sound technicians were Jurij Toni (most known for working with Laibach), who would work with the band for the next ten years. The Mark of the Beast was finished, and a single copy pressed, in February 1988. The cover to the album was painted by Mr. Doctor himself, who keeps the album in his home to this day. No other copies exist: "This is a painting, not a graphic work". A few passages from the album, however, are said to make "cameos" in future Devil Doll albums.
The Girl Who Was... Death and Eliogabalus (1987–1991)
Later the same year, work on a second composition began. This work, entitled The Girl Who Was... Death, was inspired by the 1967 British television series The Prisoner. 500 copies of the album were originally pressed, in the beginning of 1989, of which only 150 were released. These were distributed out amongst the audience of the second live performance of the composition (the first had occurred before the pressing of the album), each with a unique inlay created by Mr. Doctor. Some of these inlays were written in his own blood. The remaining 350 copies of the album were destroyed by Mr. Doctor once he returned home.
In 1989, Mr. Doctor began the work on three different compositions: The Black Holes of My Mind, composition incorporating esoteric quotations and subliminal messages; Mr. Doctor Sings Hanns Eisler, an interpretation of four of German composer Hanns Eisler's works; and Eliogabalus, inspired by Antonin Artaud's work "Heliogabalus: Or, The Crowned Anarchist". Mr. Doctor Sings Hanns Eisler was never released, and the two former compositions were, due to budget limitations, cut down to fit on a single vinyl, named Eliogabalus. The shortened version of The Black Holes of My Mind was renamed Mr. Doctor for this release, while Eliogabalus retained its name. Eliogabalus was released in 1990, in three different pressings, one of 50 and two of 900 copies. One of the pressings of 900 was on CD.
Sacrilegium and The Sacrilege of Fatal Arms (1991–1993)
In 1991, the two lineups of Devil Doll were combined into one, and in December, the combined lineup, with the new pianist Francesco Carta, entered Tivoli Studios to record Sacrilegium.
Sacrilegium was released in May 1992. It was released only on CD, but the Devil Doll fan club released 900 numbered vinyl copies with inlays designed by Mr. Doctor and Adriana Marac.
In January the next year, a soundtrack to a movie by Mr. Doctor, The Sacrilege of Fatal Arms, was released. The 900 copies sold out in 72 hours. In March, drummer Roberto Dani left the band and was replaced by Slovenian Roman Ratej.
Dies Irae (1993–1996)
In July 1993 Devil Doll entered Tivoli Studios for recording of The Day of Wrath – Dies Irae. During a mixing session, the studio caught fire. Both Jurij Toni and Mr. Doctor were able to escape, although Toni ended up hospitalised for several days. Mr. Doctor refused to rerecord the album, and rumours of a split-up began circulating. 20 copies of a book containing the sheet music for The Day of Wrath – Dies Irae, as well as a tape of the unmixed recording, was released, though.
At the end of 1994, Mr. Doctor finally agreed to rerecord Dies Irae. The recording started in January 1995 in Akademik Studios. Devil Doll was backed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, of which band member Sasha Olenjuk was the leader and first violinist. Later, Norina Radovan, a Croatian soprano, was recruited to sing a duet with Mr. Doctor on the album. The recording was released in February 1996 and is the only composition to consist of multiple tracks (Eliogabalus consists of two tracks, but these are two different compositions supposed to have been released on two different albums).
Release hiatus (1996 -)
The last album, The Day of Wrath, soundtrack to the second of Mr. Doctor's movies, of the same name, was scheduled for release in 1997 but was never released.
While Devil Doll has never been officially disbanded, nothing has been released since Dies Irae. In 2004, a mailing action was started by a fan and the Fan Club to make Mr. Doctor and Devil Doll produce more material. The letters were printed in a book named A Thousand Letters to Mr. Doctor. Mr. Doctor replied to the effort in 2005, and sent the fan, who started the mailing action, a gift of appreciation. This gift was Mr. Doctor's personal copy (number 1) of Sacrilegium. Handmade and written in a leather box and accompanied by a handmade, signed artwork with the word 'Astonished' on it.
In 2007, Mr. Doctor released a book called '45 Revolutions', under Hurdy Gurdy Books, another arm of the fan club label Hurdy Gurdy, which revealed his real name to be Mario Panciera. The book's strapline is "45 Revolutions is the definitive book on punk, mod, powerpop, new wave, NWOBHM, and indie singles issued in the UK and in Ireland between late 1976 and the end of 1979. Twenty years in the making. 1173 pages. 4550 color photos. 2885 b&w photos. Details of more than 3000 singles by over 2000 artists. Available only as a superior quality hardback."
In late 2008, Mr. Doctor also gave an interview to 'Burn' magazine, explaining the history of the five Devil Doll releases on the back of a re-release (and remaster) on the Japanese label 'Belle Antique'. He revealed that he continues to write and record Devil Doll music, though he has lost interest in releasing records. He also talks about his inspiration and his influences, as well as discussing his background in law and criminology.
Mr. Doctor also signed and hand numbered 50 of the sold out 100 box sets of the remastered CDs, 30 of which were sold to fan club members.
- Mr. Doctor – vocals
- Francesco Carta – piano
- Sasha Olenjuk – violin
- Bor Zuljan – guitar
- Jani Hace – bass
- Roman Ratej – drums
- Davor Klaric – keyboards
- Michel Fantini Jesurum – pipe organ
- Edoardo Beato – piano
- Katia Giubbilei – violin
- Albert Dorigo – guitar
- Rick Bosco – bass
- Roberto Dani – drums
- Lucko Kodermac – drums
- The Mark of the Beast (1988)
- The Girl Who Was... Death (1989)
- Eliogabalus (1990)
- Sacrilegium (1992)
- The Sacrilege of Fatal Arms (1993)
- Dies Irae (1996)
- "Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
- Jeff Wagner – Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal -2010 – Page 155 "Inspired by Mozart's Requiem Mass, according to Bachman, "Dies Irae" took characteristics of bands as disparate as Kansas, Celtic Frost, and Italian-Slovenian experimental theatrical rock act Devil Doll, and foreshadowed the operatic ..."
- David Kerekes Headpress: Journal of Sex, Religion, Death Issues 11-12 – Page 70 1996 "Fronted by the mysterious Mr Doctor, Devil Doll has its bases in Italy and Slovenia. Formed in 1987, they remain virtually unknown outside of a few hundred hardcore fans – a factor attributable ..."