Smartbomb

Diamond Heist

Written by: PP on 17/09/2008 16:12:45

Every now and then an album arrives that pushes every single right button, an album that has exactly the kind of sound I've narrowed down as my very favorite over the years I've been doing this job. Smartbomb's debut album "Diamond Heist" is that album, and hence you can expect a fair amount of bias to be present in this review. But even with the removal of bias, most people familiar with melodic hardcore / punk rock should be able to agree with me that this is one of the best, if not the very best, release(s) to come out of this genre in the last couple of years, on par with seminal records like Strike Anywhere's "Change Is A Sound", A Wilhelm Scream's "Career Suicide", Pennywise's "About Time" or Lifetime's "Hello Bastards".

"Barely Legal" kicks off the album not only with fucking awesome riff/chord interplay at breakneck speed, but more importantly with vocalist Eric Widing's immeasurably great vocal work. Trust me on this one, you'll seldom hear as powerful, yet so fully melodic and full-of-warmth vox as he's able to deliver throughout the entire album. He sounds devilishly fiery and pissed off, but yet somehow manages to keep that intensity at a level where it's still ultra melodic and -catchy. He's one of the most passionate vocalist's I've heard on record, you can think of him as a perfect cross between Strike Anywhere's Barnett and A Wilhelm Scream's Pereira, using the best qualities from both vocalists into his advantage. His greatness comes through especially on "Lesson Learned", where his extended "Leeeeessssooooon leaaaaaaaaarned" yells will guaranteed make a mark in your mind for months to come.

I could continue by naming more highlights on the album, but that's kind of pointless when every single song on the album is as close to perfection as you can be in this genre. Each song is distinctly different, the choruses are nothing short of incredible, and the intensity level is at a level only the best can achieve throughout. Or well, except for the only long track on the album, "PCH (Intermission)", the Rolling Stones inspired (though punk'ed up) instrumental piece lasting just over three minutes, which really breaks the entire album in half, and the NOFX-inspired reggae/ska-ish intro "In My Dreams", which is pretty boring until the gas pedal is glued to the floor around 1 minute into the song.

But after that, you get three more tracks of melodic hardcore godhood. In the end, the album has raced by you in just under 25 minutes, which might seem short on paper, but it's really the ideal length for this album. It's bloody intense and a rewarding album, that only seems to be getting better and better even with repeat listens in the 20s already. Mark my words, "Diamond Heist" will be referenced to in countless reviews in the future, where it'll be named as one of the classics in the genre, as a great example of how you don't have to be particularly original to be brilliant.

9

Download: Lesson Learned, Barely Legal, Second View
For the fans of: Strike Anywhere, A Wilhelm Scream, Lifetime
Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.09.2008
ThinkFast! Records / Mightier Than Sword Records

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