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Monday, 9 February 2015

Reviews: Diablo Blvd, Night Demon, Profane And The Sacred

Diablo Blvd: Follow The Deadlights (Nuclear Blast)

Follow The Deadlights is Belgian rockers Diablo Blvds third album, their first in five years and it opens with some huge percussion from Kris Martens before the guitars kick in with some chunky six string work from Andries Becker and Dave Hubrechts on the opening track Beyond The Veil which powers straight into Rise Like Lions, with these two tracks the band smack you across the face with their strong writing and playing and arrangements that have a real sense of immediacy to them. The band successfully merge melody with heaviness, something that is hard to do, but they put an emphasis on propulsive, rhythm heavy rockers featuring some powerful percussion, hard rocking riffs and Alex Agnew's Baritone croon that evokes Volbeat's Michael Poulsen. With these ten hard hitting songs, the band aim straight at radio-airplay meaning that for the most part and especially on the title track, they sound a lot like American alternative metal heavyweights Shinedown, bringing that bands knack for huge hooks, catchy choruses and also chest beating anthems. This album is filled with some great tracks; We Are Legion is an arena track with a chant-along chorus, the faster paced Peace Won By War has more of a classic metal sound, End Of Time shows off Agnew's strong growls, before the album ends with a the DJ baiting Stone Souresque ballad InhumanFollow The Deadlights is a dark but uplifting album that means these Belgians have enough songs to challenge the radio dominance of Shinedown and their peers. 7/10   

Night Demon: Curses Of The Dammed (SPV)

So lets address the elephant in the room here Night Demon sound like Diamond Head, exactly like Diamond Head. This three piece have the riffs of Brian Tatler coming from Brent Woodward and the vocals of Sean Harris coming from bassist Jarvis Leatherby who also gallops as you would. The band have managed to merge NWOBHM with some of the swaggering hard rock that Tatler and co did so well. With some good guitar work and a strong rhythm section the band move between Diamond Head on Screams In The Night, Run For Your Life and Livin' Dangerous and Angel Witch with the occult lyrical content on Killer, Satan and Curse Of The Damned which is driven by Leatherby's bass and Dustin Squires drumset.  As I've said the spirit of  Diamond Head looms large and these Americans play their trump card to it's fullest and for all the blatant ripping off they do, they play well and they've written an album that harks back to a much more fun time in music. Nothing fancy but a great retro throwback for fans of the NWOBHM era. 6/10
Profane And The Sacred: Chapter 1: A Long Time Coming (Cargo)

London based stoner rockers Profane And Sacred were formed in 2010 and as their album title suggests this debut album has had a long gestation period but was it worth it? Well the dark acoustic opening of Bench brings to mind Alice In Chains if they came from a swamp in Alabama, the tension builds and as the reverb brings in the thick soupy guitars, the slow, creeping, deafening plod of the rhythm builds into some guitar playing Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein would be proud of, these head crushing guitars come from Luke Alleeson and Rick Spooner with Alleeson also providing the Southern, whiskey drenched howl that make the band sound like a stewing pot of the stoner riffage favoured by Down, Corrosion Of Conformity and perennial Southern underground sensations Alabama Thunderpussy in places, with some sludge of Crowbar and doom of Sabbath and fellow countrymen Orange Goblin thrown in. Big riffs are the order of the day and Spooner and Alleeson provide in abundance with the aforementioned Bench providing 8 minutes plus of mind expanding, brain melting, hammering riffs. This continues throughout with the more immediate Bleed That Stone sounding like it could have come off NOLA with it's hammering rhythm from Rob Taylor (bass) and Kieran Smith (drums) also see Weather The Storm and You Know, before topping all the tracks off with some shouting that sounds like Anselmo in full aggro mode. There has been a lot of time to perfect these songs and it shows they are all considered, planned and delivered in such a way that they still have that jam room feeling to them, they sound organic and gives the record a live in the studio feel, admittedly that studio should ideally be in the swamps of Louisiana and be littered with beer cans, bourbon bottles and King Size Rizla, but with the bookending of two of the more expansive sounding tracks, A New Leaf ends the album in a bass and guitar hazy, trip. Profane And The Sacred are stepping into what has always been exclusively American territory and rather than sneaking in unnoticed these Brits have decided to walk up and kick the door in on the the Yanks playing them at their own game and doing a damn fine job too. Crank it up, grab a beer, hail the leaf and let them take you into their house of riffage!! 9/10      

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