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Ask anybody who knows me and they’ll confirm that I always debut my new tunes by blaring them in my shower. Don’t judge. To me, shit just sounds better in the shower, including my beautiful falsetto singing voice. Recently, as I’ve been shampooing my thinning hair, I’ve been listening to (read – singing along to) Hard & Loud, the debut album from the Ukraine-based band, Doll’s Diary. Doll’s Diary is just one of those bands that compel you to sing along.
I have to admit that I always viewed love rock and melodic metal as the same thing. That is until I heard Hard & Loud. The telltale signs of love rock/melodic metal were always sentimental singing, romantic lyrical content backed up by romantic sounding keyboards, but with a hint of high-gain guitar to give it a little edge…and of course, a soft melody otherwise fit for a Wilson Phillips song. Doll’s Diary has altered this formula a bit. Although they sometimes get sentimental (who doesn’t, right?), they’ve hardened the lyrical content with songs like “Hard & Loud” and “Can You Live Without Rock.” They also use keyboards in a different way – that is, they use them to enhance the aggressiveness of the guitar riffage. All-the-while, singalongy melodies are woven throughout the entire album. The result is melodic metal that doesn’t necessarily qualify as love rock. “Theatrical metal” is probably a more appropriate descriptor for these guys.
Nowadays, melodic metal seems to be mostly emanating from Europe. I’m not sure why it doesn’t translate more to American audiences. But this doesn’t mean it’s not good. Hard & Loud is a good album. If you need an American point of reference, Hard & Loud conjures up some of the same vibes as Poetic Justice, the badass 1992 album by New Orleans rockers, Lillian Axe; that is, thoughtful lyrical content, intricate guitaring, smart use of keyboards as an enhancer, etc. Doll’s Diary is a bit more European, but they’re shooting for the same audience as Lillian Axe – people who like metal they can sing along to.
“Stranger” seems to be the song Doll’s Diary is banking on. It appears on the album twice – once at full throttle and once acoustic. Here it is at full throttle: