Newly signed to Nuclear Blast Records on a worldwide deal, Diablo Blvd re-release their 3rd album, originally let loose in 2014, and in doing so create a little bit of Nuclear Blast history by becoming the first Belgium band on their books. A band that have been together for 10 years you would expect greater returns than a trio of albums but when your vocalist, Alex Agnew, is an established Belgian stand up comedian then time is going to be a key issue. However, since it’s original release they have been busy touring America and Europe supporting Machine Head and are currently opening for Epica across Europe. So the signs are all efforts are going to be in Diablo Blvd’s basket for the foreseeable future.
With an experienced production team behind their self-producing, Jay Ruston and Paul Logus (Anthrax, Stone Sour), to mix and master respectively, the result is crisp, crystal clear, and packs a punch. In fact, the first five tracks are glorious catchy sing along metal anthems that worm your way into your head and are recalled whilst pursuing mundane activities like travelling to work. ‘Beyond the Veil’ opens proceedings with controlled feedback and drums before it reveals a mighty killer riff and is an excellent opener to grace any Hard Rock/Metal album. When Alex proclaims ‘Lets Dance’ severe moshpit fury should be unleashed.
‘Rise like lions’ is next and is a meaty call to arms mid tempo, catchy head nodding triumph. Alex’s vocals are a manly combination of Glenn Danzig and Ian Astbury while Andrew Bechers and Dave Hubrechts guitars combine nifty riffing and finger picking subtleties to add some light and shade to several tracks.
‘Get up 9’ is mid to late era Metallica while the title track arrangements recall Faith No More, although lyrically not as quirky or left field. The Cult ish ‘Son of Cain’ would have brought an end to side one in the old days of vinyl and cassette so the talk would have been about a terrific first side. The remaining three of the five songs do pick up the pace while the variation comes more in the form of Alex’s vocals adding growling style into the mix especially with ‘End of time’ and ‘Inhuman’, which isn’t my favourite vocal delivery.
This is a confident self-assured fist pumping, no nonsense Heavy Metal album, and should pick up fans of this particular genre.