Generation Why? (Earache)
There has been a significant buzz building around neo-thrashers DIAMOND PLATE and their just dropped debut album. With a brash name and much talked about live performances in their native Illinois, they have been more than a blip on the metal radar for 2011. Even back to their previous releases they certainly had the chops to take this music somewhere. Since the field is now crowded with names like WARBRINGER, EVILE, LAZARUS AD, GAMMA BOMB, HOLY GRAIL, BONDED BY BLOOD, WHITE WIZZARD and of course MUNICIPLE WASTE, the competition to stand out and above the crowd is thick as can be. The key will be to separate themselves from their peers quickly as they embrace this higher profile, particularly on upcoming tours supporting KITTIE and WARBRINGER.
After the opening track sound bytes of news clips the title track peels the lid off and drops the monstrous riffs. Much like all of their peers dominating the sub-genre DIAMOND PLATE has been born and bred on old-school thrash bands like SLAYER, EXODUS, OVERKILL and ANTHRAX. What they do differently is inject a bit of mature modern sensibility that only the best of the newer bands have similar to the thrashier moments of REVOCATION or perhaps JUNGLE ROT. DIAMOND PLATE has also learned it’s not enough to just sound like your music could have been hatched in 1985, but discerning fans still want some well written songs to hang their SUICIDAL TENDENCIES hats on. Vocalist/bassist Jon Macak has an unmistakeable death metal howl that at least separates him from a legion of Paul Baloff clones. His voices calls to mind a young John Tardy of OBITUARY fame. Second track “Pull the Trigger” has plenty of the requisite Gary Holt/Dave Mustaine handy work in the guitars needed to keep things classic sounding. I especially like drummer Jim Nicodemus’ stick work in this track too since he is tight, powerful and not overly complicated. In addition to doing a strong job on the vocals Macak is a fabulous bassist and has no trouble leaving the guitarists to do their own thing and giving his lines a life of their own. The cleverly named “Tomb With A View” is a cruel little number. Starting out with a crushing riff a la PANTERA, the song builds and builds intensity and character. The mid-song melodic riffs are killer. Lead guitarist Konrad Kupiec (his name is so metal!) and rhythm guitarist Mario Cianci do a nice job of splitting up their parts. Kupiec in particular is a soulful shredder who has a sweet vibrato he uses to accentuate lead parts. “Fool’s Paradise” reminds me of middle-era OVERKILL. A mid-tempo jam with a mean power-groove riff and another cool delivery by Macak. Kupiec adds some more sinewy leads in the chorus that really add to the emotional gravity of the track. “Relativity” is the most throwback sounding cut on the album, even though it has some amazing chord/tempo changes. “Casualty of War” is one of the best songs on the entire album, encompassing everything the young group does well. Special mention goes again to Kupiec and Nicodemus for their technical prowess. “More Than Words” is not the love ballad from the 1980′s but a neat instrumental jam. “At the Mountains of Madness” is a real speed metal workout with sweeping riffs, galloping rhythms and some great gang vocals. On the epic closer “Empire Tomorrow”; the band literally lets it all hang out with a stunning show of musicianship few can pull off at their relative young age. Color me impressed by this debut and I look forward to catching them on the road soon.
Keith (Keefy) Chachkes