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Old Habits Die Hard
Released: 2015, Frontiers Records
Does anybody remember ‘70s rockers Angel? That band’s debut remains one of my most loved ‘70s metal albums of all time. A large part of the appeal in that band was Frank Dimino’s soaring vocals; his charismatic performances were godly and really sold the band’s gravitas. The band has been silent since a brief reunion in 1999, so when I got wind that Dimino was releasing a solo album for 2015, I was beyond excited.
OLD HABITS DIE HARD is the sum product of a ton of talented folks. Beyond Dimino himself, you’ve got, to name a few: Oz Fox (Stryper), Punky Meadows (Angel), Jeff Duncan (Armored Saint), and Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister). There’s a ton more – check the band members at right. Anyway, despite this confluence of influences, the album is a direct descendant of Angel; while it lacks that band’s pomp, it’s added a more straightforward hard rock vibe that show Dimino’s heart still lies with heavy music.
Tracks like “Rockin’ in the City” and “Mad as Hell” rank with the heaviest cuts Dimino has ever done, while “I Can’t Stop Loving You” shows that the prog-like flourishes of Angel have not been forgotten either. However, when the album strays into ballad territory it’s unfortunately dull, with the exception of the melancholy closer, “Stones by the River”.
And the vocals? Well, Dimino is a lot older than when he was belting out high-ceilinged vocals in 1976, so his voice ain’t exactly what it used to be. That said, the man still has a powerful charismatic voice that retains its character and flair for the dramatic. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in this department.
Despite some holes in the song writing OLD HABITS DIE HARD is a solid hard rock album from a legend. Fans of Angel will definitely want to check it out, but the album stands on its own as a worthwhile hard rock release.
1. Never Again
2. Rockin’ in the City
3. I Can’t Stop Loving You
4. The Rain’s About to Fall
5. Even Now
6. Tears Will Fall
7. Mad As Hell
8. Sweet Sensation
9. Tonight’s the Night
10. The Quest
11. Stones by the River
Frank Dimino: Vocals
Oz Fox, Paul Crook, Jeff Labansky, Punky Meadows, Jeff Duncan, Eddie Ojeda, Dylan Dimino, Rickey Medlocke: Guitar
Justin Avery: Organ, Backing Vocals
Danny Miranda, Paul Crook: Bass
John Miceli: Drums
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