Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Diamond Eye: Alive and Kicking!

A little bit after the fact with this update (and for that I do apologize), I've had it on my mental list to give you guys this review for a few months now. The last time Australian rockers Diamond Eye made headlines here, they were on track to open for Quiet Riot and Warrant (RIP Jani Lane) on their Australian metal tour last spring. Though it seems that those plans fell through as Quiet Riot and Warrant decided to cancel the planned tour, Diamond Eye charged ahead with their own projects, recording new material and playing tons of new shows. The result of such a dedicated effort came in the form of the band's first recording of live material, the live DVD album Alive and Kicking. Though it came out last winter, I've been listening (and watching) Alive and Kicking all spring and summer long, and I gotta say it rocks fucking hard.
With fan-favorites like "Machine" and "Waiting for Me" on the set-list, the band also debuted a number of new songs that have been on constant rotation in my library ever since I heard them. My favorite of the new tracks by far is "Sound of the Guns," a straight-up metal thrash-down that kicks up dust and whips it around through rhythm changes and true metal musicianship. Will Kelly's lead vocals on this track provide an anthemic rise to the song. Stadium-suited but not polished off of their gritty, street-smart attitude, Kelly's wails put fists in the air as the fans chant along with him. Just below his raging belts, Greg Fawcett's lead guitar shrieks make this the five-star track on the album. A melodic and catchy guitar progression turns to a nasty and sick sonic firestorm as the tempo of the song changes halfway through, and all of a sudden Fawcett's guitar thrusts out a new, edgy rhythm. With Chase Cameron and Geoff Keating following suit in hard-rock fashion on bass and drums respectively, Diamond Eye pull off a mental seizure of a song; I'm left brain-dead as the guitars and drums blast out, and the stage goes dark. Check out the teaser video for "Sound of the Guns" below.
Other new songs like "Atlantis" and "Last One Standing" also grace the album, and with a power like this, Diamond Eye's first live recording is a major success. But it's not just the audio that gets me. With the accompanying DVD, I can see Diamond Eye in real time, rocking forward and blasting through walls as they take the audience on balls-to-the-wall ride through true metal. Between the pyro explosions on stage and the presence of the band members, Diamond Eye make it clear that they know how to have a good time and give the people what they really want: a real rock show. Seeing them in their element with sound waves and pyros blasting around them, I'm reminded of the first time I ever saw a clip of KISS, Alice Cooper or Van Halen: just feel-good metal with real, abrasive stage presence.
Alive and Kicking is Diamond Eye's first real strike at the metal underground. Well-produced, ballsy, and robust, Diamond Eye's first crack at a live album (a live DVD album, no less) is one to be championed by fans and scouts alike. Crystal clear from the raw energy that blasts from Diamond Eye's guns like raining cannon-fire, Alive and Kicking is only the first of edgy albums to be expected from these Australian rockers. Keep your eyes out and your ears open, and check out this incredible live DVD album. I have never seen or heard something so well-produced and fulfilling from any underground band before, and that's the truth.

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