Review by Dave Smiles
While many seek to reinvent the wheel there are some bands who seem to come out of nowhere who fit amongst the greats. They’ve easily tapped into the formula of writing and performing great songs while not being carbon copies of those who have come before. Diablo Blvd are one of these bands. Familiar enough for the listener to think they sound like something they’ve heard before, yet unique enough that when pressed it’s hard to say exactly who they sound like.
At the front of the band is singer and stand up comedian Alex Agnew who with a unique and powerful voice is able to sing or scream depending on what the songs calls for. Comparisons could be made to Peter Steel, Layne Stanley, James Hetfield, Glenn Danzig and Ian Astbury‘s. At times you may think that this is what WWE superstar The Undertaker would sound like if he fronted a band.
Now in their tenth year the band unleash album number three – Follow The Deadlights, ten well-crafted and performed songs with thoughtful lyrics with structures that are as dynamic as they are heavy. The band creates contrasting feels as they at times break away from the chunky heavy chords to some cleaner breathing spaces. The shifts expertly handled so as not to be jarring to the listener. The guitar solos hold no need to show off, they serve the song and hold a great sense of melody.
The opening track Beyond The Veil sets the pace for the album with the heavy drumming on the toms, as the sustained feedback from the guitars builds tension. This is fun and serious at the same time. The following track Rise Like Lions is a great example how each musician is bringing something of their own to the composition of these songs and how it’s sometimes hard to focus on just one performer. Diverse vocals, screams and singing, though not as predictable as some that have used the contrasting styles in the past.
The stand out rocker Son Of Cain is the first single released from this effort and takes the listener through various sections, settling the listener than taking them to up to a heavy place.
We Are Legion is the anthem track needed for the unrecognized and under-appreciated. It’s a hand out-stretched for any who remain isolated. An empowering track reminding those who are alone that there are people like you still out there. The track Fear Is For The Enemy has an Infectious and instantly memorable chorus. You’ll have this one in your head for days.
End Of Time begins with a slow paced and moody intro before kicking things up a few notches with some sixteenth note chugs and death grunt vocals. The album closer Inhuman is a haunting tale that takes you through a few different moods. A solemn way to finish things off, but perfect motivation to hit play again.
This is the first release from the band after signing to Nuclear Blast, which provides global exposure. This band is sure to go far.