Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Black Diamonds cd review

The Black Diamonds self titled release is a giant slab of churning guitar chords that chug along like a freight train melting the tracks in its path. Think Black Sabbath meets Led Zeppelin by way of the White Stripes and the end result is a 70’s blues based rock and roll sound. Fuzzy guitar riffs and vocal hooks spread like a virus throughout the whole CD. It only takes one listen to catch this disease that calls itself the Black Diamonds. One quick look at the liner notes reveals that “This album was recorded to 8 track reel to reel using all analog equipment. No computers were used in the making, recording, mixing, or mastering of the album”. Immediately, I was wearing a grin from ear to ear because I love the dirty, natural sound that tape produces. I was a little surprised to see a younger band embrace this old standard of recording music and I couldn’t wait to hear how the Black Diamonds did indeed sound. When the opening chords rang out from the first song “Let it Go”, any questions I had about their “throwback” sound were quickly dismissed. The Black Diamonds flat out rocked!The cd contains 11 songs and every song is strong. Every song has it’s own distinct identity and no two songs sound alike. Whether it be the Sabbath like riffing on “Let It Go” courtesy of guitarist Dylan Francis or the vocal hooks of singer Chad Van Gils on “Amvox”, the interesting differences from song to song make the cd a really good listen from beginning to end with no dead space in between. The rhythm section consisting of Bassist Kevin Naughton and Drummer John Swatowski provide a sold backbone of swaggering rhythms and loose grooves throughout the disc. Some other highlights on the disc include the Led Zeppelin flavored “Sugar Show” where the band just unleashes one big blues based jam where the tempo rises and falls throughout the different peaks and valleys contained in the song. The guitar and vocals are in attack mode on the song “Trigger” – the guitar wails and vocals are sung with a killer instinct. “In the Summer” is a well-written piece of music. The first few verses are almost Allman Brother-ish in delivery with a slow rolling tempo sound that’s like a slow moving stream. The song gives way to a pure guitar driven jamming paradise. “I Got a Feeling” jumps along in the way of the quick delivery sound of the White Stripes. There’s a little flavor in all the songs that should leave every listener satisfied. I could on breaking down each song, but I think you get the picture of what’s contained on the disc.Far and away, this is the best cd to come out of North East Ohio in a long, long time. I think the potential is there for the Black Diamonds to break out on a national level. Artistically speaking, this cd will never grow old. However, on a commercial level, the music business is ugly with the ever-changing tastes in musical styles. Right now the time is right for the Black Diamonds to take it to the top. Bands like the Sword and Wolfmother are capitalizing on the 70’s blues based riffing sound right now. The sound of those two bands can fall into that category of how the Black Diamonds sound. For the last couple of years we have been force fed the cookie cutter sounds of pro-tools technology and now a lot of bands are starting to go back to the analog sounds of tape. Hopefully, the Black Diamonds can rise to the top before the fad passes and they can enjoy some success on a large scale. Whether you’re an older or younger fan of good, dirty sounding blues based rock and roll – you will love this release. The Black Diamonds are one of the few bands that can reach out to different ages and leave everyone satisfied in the end. If you’re a big fan of the music I described, definitely pick this one up before you buy any other release. You owe it to yourself and you’re going to love it. I know I love this band!For more information and to purchase the cd log onto


Anonymous said...

I have seen them live at the Beachland and I bought their cd as soon at it was available. I love the "Cleveland" style rock sound. You can tell that these guys have been listening to their parents albums.

Mydenrocks said...

Thanks for the reply! Hopefully I can sway some people to check them out. They truly deserve the exposure.