Diamond Plate – Pulse (Earache Records)Wednesday, 14th August 2013
Chicago-based thrashers Diamond Plate return for their second studio album, Pulse, and well, it’s a little bit of a slog to get through. Stylistically, Diamond Plate bring a healthy dose of the old Bay Area sound. This is yet another offering of hodgepodge retro-esque American metal from a pretty good band. Instrumentally, Diamond Plate is solid-to-above average. Actually, some of the songs herein contain some pretty good parts. Unfortunately, the proverbial fly in the ointment, for me are the vocals of bassist Matt Ares. Whether it is his annoying primary singing style set against his decent sounding clean parts, his awkward overdubbed backing vocals, or his bad lyrics, I can’t say precisely. I guess it’s all of the above.
I will say that their music sounds authentic. This is no-poser metal made by some talented young guys and for that I give them credit. Their songs evoke Megadeth, Metallica, a little Danzig in the tune “Rainmaker” and show some nice melodic range in my favorite song on the album “Persistence of Memory” (not surprisingly, it is an instrumental). The awful “Face to Face” has to negatively factor into my rating for this album. Sorry, but you just can’t have a really good album if you have a terrible song right in the middle. Awful lyrics and more bad vocal stylings are the weight that sinks this tune, and definitely are my main problem with the album.
It sure seems like I’m being harsh, and I guess I am a bit. But as an honest reviewer, I’m sure that I won’t reach back to give this one any more listens than I’ve already given. I will say, though, that the band is competent and good enough to be releasing an album (that might sound contradictory, but I’ve heard much worse.) Unfortunately, the problem for Pulse is that there is so much good new stuff coming out all the time to surely leave this release in relative obscurity. But for a band so young, Diamond Plate’s ceiling is pretty high.