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Album Reviews : Diamond Noir – Monsters

By on August 1, 2014

Diamond Noir, comprised of the two surviving members of Hatchet Dawn (something to do with a rocket launcher and a zeppelin filled with hydrogen, I’m told), have exploded onto the Australian Metal scene in rather impressive fashion. However, the showing on iTunes notwithstanding, I found Diamond Noir’s debut EP somewhat lackluster. (No, that isn’t a joke)

Granted, the pseudo-industrial, Nine Inch Nails feel isn’t exactly my thing, there just wasn’t anything standout, or exciting about this EP to grab, or keep, my attention; and considering that the entire entity is under twenty five minutes in length, that has to raise some alarm bells.

However, Monsters is not without its merits. There is a potent vibe to the whole affair that has a nice, grinding, almost grimy feel permeating the EP, and the instrumentation and production bear this out to stirring effect. If you are a fan of Nine Inch Nails you will find a rough, but bright little gem in Diamond Noir; and whilst that last part was a bit of a joke, I am sincere in its meaning, there is something to like here, but I wouldn’t, exactly, call it metal.

If I might indulge in a musing on the nature of Metal (which I am oft want to do); Metal can, and does, express a myriad of emotions, anger, sorrow, bitterness, exhilaration and even joy, and it does so unabashedly through a number of subject matters. Key word here: Unabashedly: adjective;not concealed or disguised, poised, overt. In Monsters, whilst there are these subjects brought to surface, they are expressed completely dispassionately and purposelessly. Take, for example, the title track; where the lyrics and upbeat tempo make a showing of a “Let your freak flag fly” anthem, the tone and delivery of that sentiment is flat and emotionless.

There is a not-so-subtle reservation here that comes off as wholly disingenuous, with no real hooks to the music and nothing substantial in the rhythm, vocals or tone to grab on to. It is not without its dynamics though, as there is, what I suppose passes for, variety on the EP, where the melodies have their conspicuous moments and make for some decent music, they, however, do not make a song.

Overall there does not feel like there has been enough room to let the music do its thing; it all feels so needlessly structured and confined and it seems as if it was done in lieu of trying to create an atmosphere. Concomitantly, it succeeds in that endeavor but it has created for itself a handicap that it cannot overcome; there is a sense that Diamond Noir have sought to create songs, not music, and have fallen short to that end. It is disappointing, as there is the occasional spark of some really strong, primal energy here, it just doesn’t last long enough to keep you interested.

Monsters, with its droning, undefined guitar tone, and inelegant growls (thankfully in short supply) is probably the wet dream for a lover of dark alternative industrial rock, and it would likely be incredibly satisfying, but where one might perceive ambiance and passion, all that persists is a vapid, empty space filled with noise. It is a highly polished and slickly produced void, but a void nonetheless. This is an EP to whit I would offer a very selective recommendation.

Band: Diamond Noir
Album: Monsters
Year: 2014
Genre: Industrial
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, VIC

Track list:
1. Insomniac
2. Monsters
3. The Hollow
4. Taste Me
5. Always the Villain
6. Undermind

About

Hailing from parts unknown (actually, it’s Melbourne), Tristan is a freelance writer and lover of metal, with a special place in his heart for Power and Folk metal. After playing in a number of local Melbourne metal bands, and completing his Bachelor of Arts, Tristan focuses his attention to the pursuit of writing, practicing the Liechtenauer School of swordsmanship, dabbling in Cosplay and reciting Babylon 5 quotes; in addition to hunting for a publisher for his novel. Until then, he enjoys metal, writing about metal and convincing people around his office that he is immortal and has lived for 3,000 years. (So far only the chick in HR is buying it)