ReviewsBlack Diamonds – Destination Paradise (Metalapolis Records)

Black Diamonds – Destination Paradise (Metalapolis Records)

Another Swiss band who may have slipped under this scribe’s radar until this fifth studio album Destination Paradise but represents another act in the current melodic hard rock/metal movement aiming to claw up the ranks in popularity. Beyond numerous festival appearances across mainland Europe, they’ve also toured with H.E.A.T., Crystal Ball, and Chez Kane over recent years, setting the stage for stronger traction through their catchy 80s-oriented tracks chock full of bright vocal harmonies, endearing guitar hooks, and that level of primal rhythm section kick to drive the grooves home.

The main vocal delivery of Mick Kehl (with support from his three compatriots) contains that right mix of sleaze, AOR, and slick hard rock/metal that aligns on the fence of Sunset Strip meets European authenticity. The musical direction also mirrors the mix of 80s influences, where guitars contained that heroic steel with the right bluesy intensity, twin harmonies accenting key passages while a slamming bass/drum duo set the table for a rocking good time. Infectious numbers like “Bottoms Up” and “Paradise” should get the party started, while the tender side peaks out on the piano-oriented power ballad “Only For a While”, an effort where guitarist Chris Blade Johnson flexes his intuitive touch especially during the thoughtful lead break. Many times throughout the album, you feel like you can take the top down on your favorite sports car, hit the best highway you know, and just let the hair flow to these undeniable hooks within “Yesterday’s News” or opener “Through Hell and Back” (the latter reminding this scribe of classic Primal Fear). The surprise of the record is probably the band’s cover of the Belinda Carlisle hit “Leave a Light On” – featuring Maverick singer David Balfour as a guest co-singer. The band definitely give the song a hard rock makeover, yet keep the main vocal melodies front and center to make this a sure-fire winner.

Continuing the strong tradition of Swiss acts like Gotthard, Shakra, and Crystal Ball, Black Diamonds stick to the bread-and-butter ideals of classic 80s melodic hard rock/metal through Destination Paradise. This brings that spirit back to the modern audience who deserve to let their guard down and just have a good time occasionally away from their normal hard-working lives.

Black Diamonds official website

Black Diamonds on Facebook

8 / 10