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HMS Music Spotlight

I can’t tell you the number of times I hear the complaint “Music’s not as good as it was when I was young.” Personally I think that there’s a whole lot of really exciting rock ’n roll happening right now! You just have to know where to look for it, and luckily I don’t have to look very far. As a Torontonian, I’ve got one of the most exciting acts in recent rock history making tidal waves in the scene right here in my own city. That act is Diemonds and their recently released album Never Wanna Die is already a classic as far as I’m concerned.

The album opens up with the explosive title track “Never Wanna Die”, with its head-banging rhythm and spiralling leads. The song kicks off with some solid background vocal work from the band that leads into Priya Panda’s melodic attack – a clean yet simultaneously vicious vocal style that reminds me of Joan Jett. There are hooks aplenty in this track (and throughout the album) culminating in a killer chorus. I’ve listened to this album repeatedly and “Never Wanna Die” still remains my favourite tune.

Next up, “Hell Is Full”, Diemonds’ own brand of post-apoc-n-roll, proves the mission statement that HMS is founded on: Horror and Heavy Metal go together like chocolate and peanut butter. This metaphoric zombie-stomper is chock full of melodic hooks and nasty guitar squawks that build to a soaring instrumental break.

“Over It”, Diemonds’ catchy single from the album, is an interesting listen being both “poppy” and slightly melancholic. I can probably guess which dying town Priya is referring to in the chorus – I feel that pain. You can check out the cool lyric video for this rockin’ number posted above. “Ain't That Kinda Girl”, with its bouncy rhythm packed with sass and swagger, is juxtaposed nicely against their anti-ballad “Secret” (which, incidentally, contains some very satisfying bluesy lead guitar work).

The fast paced “Better Off Dead” is dedicated to one of Priya’s stalkers. Lets hope he gets the message; the closing line of the chorus is pretty self-explanatory. “Forever Untamed” is a runner up for an album favourite of mine. It’s a little more punk than the other tracks and I dig the grungy opening riff. “Wild At Heart” is a modern anthem to the youth gone wild spirit of rock n’ roll. One thing I’ve noticed is how much more prominent the backup vocals are on Never Wanna Die as compared to their previous release: The Bad Pack. The production quality has grown in leaps and bounds too – no small thanks Eric Ratz who produced the album.

Never Wanna Die
(Napalm Records)
Written by: Richard Leggatt
9 out of 10

The next tune “Meet Your Maker” feels a little unremarkable given the caliber of material on the album, but the closing track “Save Your Life” is an excellent song. There are some really subtle yet effective instrumental melodies supporting the verses and building towards the chorus. The song is very reminiscent of rock music in the early to mid 80’s.

Diemonds showcase a lot of mainstream rock potential with their memorable songwriting and vocal strength on Never Wanna Die. They don’t diddle around in unnecessary intricacies. Their tunes are straight to the point and make a lasting impression. Add to this that they’re a helluva hard working band that really make time for and appreciate their fans, touring many a small town across the country to put on a killer show for all their “Die-hards”.

Never Wanna Die is a no-brainer if you’re looking to satisfy a craving for straight up balls-to-the-walls rock n’ roll. I highly recommend that you add it to your collection of classics and I hope it further cements this young band as yet another Canadian act we can truly be proud of.

Richard Leggatt, HMS

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