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Released: 2013, Earache Records
I was a huge fan of Illinois’ thrashers Diamond Plate’s debut album GENERATION WHY? The album was even my #2 pick for all of 2011. The band went silent for a while afterwards, and parted ways with vocalist/bassist Jon Macak. Nevertheless, when I heard that they were going to be releasing their sophomore album this year with new vocalist/bassist Matt Ares, I couldn’t have been more excited and didn’t hesitate to buy it as soon as I could.
So, was PULSE worth the wait? Absolutely. Let’s start with the change in vocalist. Macak was arguably the weakest link in the band, as his one-dimensional shouted vocals were OK, but sometimes grating. Sadly, new vocalist Matt Ares is almost a carbon copy of Macak. On “Rainmaker” he shows that he’s capable of singing clearly and cleanly, but he mostly remains with a harsh shout throughout the album. He’s perfectly serviceable, but can’t really be called an improvement. Maybe next time he’ll get a chance to flex his vocal muscles a bit more.
Musically, the bands sticks closely to their ‘80s thrash formula but have tried to vary things up a bit with added musical bits, mostly groove riffs. Like the vocalist change, this yields mixed results. Something like the aforementioned “Rainmaker” with its slow pace and twisting structure is interesting and keeps the attention, but the odd riff and vocal choices in “Face to Face” make me wonder what they were thinking.
Fortunately, the rest of the album brings the powerful thrash that I love the band for, in particular “Walking Backwards”, “Bottom of the Glass” and “Power Thrashing Death”. As mentioned above, fans will be puzzled by a couple of songs but, like me, they will be pleased by the album overall. PULSE may not be as impactful as the band’s debut, but its damn good in its own right and I know I’ll be playing the hell out of it as 2013 draws to a close.
1. Walking Backwards
2. All of It
3. Price You Pay
4. Dance With Reality
5. Still Dreaming
6. Face to Face
7. Bottom of the Glass
9. Persistence of Memory
10. Running Dry
11. Power Thrashing Death
Konrad Kupiec: Guitar
Matt Ares: Vocals, Bass
Jon Nicademus: Drums
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