Diablo Strange

Sordid Tales

Written by: BV on 17/03/2013 21:13:43

Diablo Strange is yet another one of those bands I would probably never have listened to, had it not been for my reviewing duties here at Rockfreaks.net, which is one of the constant reminders of how cool this job actually is. Diablo Strange is a hard-rocking power trio that focuses on mixing modern songwriting with the old-school art of heavy riffing, much in the vein of popular acts like Clutch, and the lesser known acts like Lost Souls Carnival – while there is little new this band can actually bring to the table, they seem hell-bent on kicking it old school with blatantly heavy riffs, throaty vocals and disturbingly tight rhythms.

The first track of the album, titled “Brown Paper Bag” is unnervingly catchy in that old school kind of way, with a captivatingly simple guitar riff, occasional short guitar solos and a very groovy rhythm section. The throaty vocals of the track are somewhat uninteresting, but they don’t really affect the overall vibe of the track. Despite the relatively ‘aggressive’ sounds of Diablo Strange, “Brown Paper Bag” sounds like a track one would put on at parties when things are starting to heat up a little, and the guests are far from sober – in that sense, one could easily be swayed to believe that the rest of the album would be like this, because of the “hit-potential” in such songs.

Luckily for some, sadly for others, the rest of the album strays quite far from the party-oriented hard rock previously mentioned, in favor of a more traditional hard-rock/stoner rock approach where the heavy riffing is the center of the song, and the catchiness is still present but is not the primary focus. Something I have come to enjoy quite a lot on this album is the guitar-solo work – in this genre, the solos have a tendency to be kind of buzz-saw sounding, rough around the edges and occasionally sloppily performed. On this album and on the track “Sinister” in particular, the solos are somewhat sparkly sounding and much more ‘spacey’ than what I have come to expect, reminding me of 80’s guitar-heroes and their stadium-sounding, delay-fueled shredding. But the similarities end at the sound, as there isn’t much shredding to it since the blues-sounding approach to soloing seems to be favored by the guitarist.

The throaty vocals I enjoyed quite a bit on the first few tracks soon catches my attention, as a somewhat tedious little detail. Whilst I enjoyed them early on, six tracks in is the point where they are slowly – but steadily – annoying me. I am not exactly sure what it is that causes the annoyance, but I’m fairly certain it’s the monotony of the entire vocal approach. I simply lack vocal variation, and I would probably have preferred some cleaner sounding vocals – at least occasionally, that is.

Anyway, “Sordid Tales” is a solid release by Diablo Strange and it certainly is a quite decent platform to work from. With more experience and loads of feedback – both from critics, fans and random people in general – they can hopefully start to shape a sound that is perhaps a bit more varied, but still true to the hard-rocking ideals they so admirably stick to. I like the sound of the album, I dig the production of it as well but I need more variation. Other than that, this is indeed a solid effort.


Download: Brown Paper Bag, Sinister, Babylon
For The Fans Of: Clutch, Lost Souls Carnival, The Gentlemen Bastards
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 16.02.2013

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