It was summer of 2012 when I first saw Diemonds open for Steel Panther. I enjoyed their set enough to meet them after the show, only to find out they are much nicer people than I had predicted, and buy their EP In The Rough, which at the time was the only thing they had with their songs recorded on it, and I thought it was good (especially the song “Shot For The Road”) but the main songs I remembered from the set they had played that night wouldn’t be released until that following fall on their first full length album The Bad Pack, which I reviewed a couple of years ago. You can read that review here. Now three years after that night I first saw them live, almost to the day, Diemonds have released their second full length album and first on a major label Never Wanna Die.
Now, the one main thing that I like about Diemonds and what caught my attention in the first place is their straight up no bullshit hard rock sound and the way they seemed to make it sound more than just generic music, in which The Bad Pack was cram packed with song after song of pure hard rock energy. For Never Wanna Die, it’s obvious right away that Diemonds have stepped their game up. The opening three tracks alone are proof, starting with the title track, then “Hell is Full” and finally “Over It.” All three tracks show vocalist Priya Panda‘s more dedicated commitment to making great melodies on top of the equally, if not better hard rock that the band can dish out.
The opening two tracks especially don’t have a weak moment, from the guitar work of both Daniel DeKay and C.C. Diemond to the raw power of just about every aspect of the songs. And then there is “Over It,” which has perhaps the best hook on all of Never Wanna Die in its chorus. The rest of the album shows songs similar to “Over It” in which the songs are great, but the choruses are what make the songs. The drum pounding verses of “Ain’t That Kinda Girl” get the point across, the fast pace of “Forever Untamed” and “Meet Your Maker” build up their energy perfectly and the verses of “Wild At Heart” are a tad underwhelming, though I enjoy them more the more I listen to them, but it’s the choruses of all these songs that show the improvement, not only in Diemonds ability to rock hard, but also in Priya‘s vocals.
I’m noticing more vocal harmonies in these tracks, and if there’s one thing I love it’s a good harmony. I prefer a genuine harmony with two or three different people singing, but I’ve never really had a problem with a singer harmonizing with their own voice, as Priya does in these songs. It adds so much more texture to each song on Never Wanna Die and makes each song grab your attention and never let go, something I could only say about a handful of Diemonds songs previously.
One song that stays solid from beginning to end, similar to the opening two Never Wanna Die tracks, is the fast paced “Better Off Dead.” Closing track “Save Your Life” has an AC/DC sound to its main riff. I was never fond of AC/DC, but luckily the song in itself has more to offer. There is one song on Never Wanna Die where Diemonds shows they can do more than just rock hard. “Secret” is the most serious sounding track on the album, and the slowest paced song, all while not losing its hard rock edge, and even more importantly it doesn’t fail to provide even more terrific vocal melodies to fall in love with.
The Bad Pack was as solid a hard rock album as I’d ever heard. It had something more than most newer hard rock albums I’d heard previously to it and since (and I’ve heard a LOT of them since) and I’m pleased to say Diemonds have indeed one upped themselves with Never Wanna Die. They sound more contemporary, but not in a sellout kind of way. Rather they sound like they could stand up with most of today’s top hard rock acts (either male of female fronted) and put up a good fight. They may even win in comparison to some, which is something I may have hoped when I first got in to them, but I didn’t really think was possible. I think this first major label release has potential to take Diemonds beyond the next level in the hard rock world.
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“Over It” – On an album where every song’s chorus is the most dynamic part, the song with the best chorus of them all takes the cake. The verses of the song are good and the pre-chorus is great, but this song has the moment that would catch any listener and hopefully even convince them to listen to the whole album.
8.5 (Out of 10)
|1.||Never Wanna Die||3:53|
|2.||Hell Is Full||3:10|
|4.||Ain’t That Kinda Girl||2:57|
|6.||Better Off Dead||3:39|
|8.||Wild At Heart||3:05|
|9.||Meet Your Maker||3:03|
|10.||Save Your Life||3:30|