I’d never heard of this Canadian band before listening to Never Wanna Die and assumed they were yet another modern Thrash band desperately wishing it was 1987 again. That album cover, that logo! Perhaps, instead of judging Never Wanna Die by its cover (ahaha), I should have judged it by the band’s name, complete with the woeful pun, because it's much more indicative of what the band sound like. Diemonds are a gritty Hard Rock/Sleaze band but add in a few pop sensibilities, Punk stylings and some Biker Rock muscle throughout. Vocalist Priya Panda also has a vocal style that keeps them sounding relevant while still fitting in with the Hard Rock thing.
Things are as they should be when the first track is the title track. I appreciate that sort of thing. It kicks straight in with some big chunky arena guitars and a shed load of woahs. You can almost taste the hairspray. It’s a lively opening song and perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Hell Is Full has some nice metal squeals, chugging guitars, and an engaging chorus about the dead walking the streets. The albums lead single Over It continues the pace, though it’s a little heavier than the two previous songs the chorus isn’t quite as immediate and it's an odd choice for single compared to much more accessible songs on the album.
Over It is followed by the excellent Ain’t That Kind Of Girl and, by now, it’s become clear that Diemonds have a clear and simple formula when it comes to writing songs and don’t much deviate from that. There’s no long and intricate instrumental passages, no Middle-Eastern Wind instruments to add mystique. Just uncomplicated rock songs with choruses you can sing along to and riffs you can fist pump to. That’s by no means a bad thing; they write with enough personality so that the songs aren’t interchangeable and samey but each have their own distinguishable characteristics.
That said, Secret is a deviation from that formula; It’s a slower mid paced song that breaks up the flow and keeps things fresh, unfortunately it’s a bit boring and the lyrics aren’t great and the sexuality sounds forced and trite, BDSM isn’t a fraction as shocking as it was 15 years ago. Blame EL James.
The next song is straight back where the band are happiest. Better Off Dead is a straightforward rock song with the hugely enjoyable chorus refrain of “Fuck off forever”. That leads us nicely into the next song Forever Untamed. It starts with a bouncing slower riff before zooming off at full tilt and becomes the fastest song on the album. As always there’s a strong chorus too.
|(L-R) Aiden Tranquada (Drums), Adam Zlotnik (Bass), Priya Panda (Vocals), Daniel Dekay (Lead Guitar), C.C. Diemond (Rhythm Guitar)|
The melody of the verses in Wild At Heart is blatantly stolen from Youth Gone Wild by Skid Row, whether its intentional or not I don’t know but by golly its obvious! Meet Your Maker is the closest the band get to proper Thrash. It powers ahead and sweeps a competent chorus along with it, If it wasn’t for the female vocals it could have been lifted straight off Painkiller.
The final song is Save Your Life and, like Wild At Heart rips off another 80’s song but this one took me a lot longer to work out, It’s Run To You by Bryan Adams. It’s impossible to miss once you know it. The song itself is a slower, more anthemic than previous tracks. It’s not bad but is spoiled by the borrowed melody unfortunately.
A lot of the time when I listen to bands blind like this, I tend to review them and then not bother with them after that. I really enjoyed listening to Never Wanna Die though and, following further investigation, it seems their previous releases The Bad Pack (2012) and In The Rough E.P. (2008) are both worth a listen too. I think Diemonds will be hanging around on my iPod for a long while to come.
7 out of 10 - This is good and well worth a check
Best track: Better Off Dead
Listen to Never Wanna Die on Spotify HERE
Buy it from the band at their website HERE