REVIEW: Black Diamonds – No-Tell Hotel

These Swiss rockers are destined to scale new heights with this, their fourth album! Earlier this year they suffered a major blow with the unexpected departure of their lead guitarist but have bounced back in fine form with their new man, Chris Blade Johnson, and have created a superb album full of soaring vocals and outstanding guitar riffs.

The opening title track kicks proceedings off in fine style with some heavy guitar work that forces you to sit up and listen. The lyrics describe a place where low-lifes and villains can go to hide away from whoever or whatever is on their tails. A driving bass line from Andi Barrels and crisp drumming by Manuel Peng underpin this great opener along with an excellent vocal delivery from Michael Kehl.

Track 2, Evil Twin, was the first single release from the album and tells a tale that we would all like to fall back on from time to time, blaming our evil twin for our wrongdoings! The official video for this song is well worth a watch as it underlines the great sense of humour that Black Diamonds bring to their work! Lead vocals are shared between Michael and Andi here to great effect.

Lonesome Road tricks you into thinking that this is going to be a gentler number with the opening when suddenly, Bam! It bursts into life becoming a Joviesque singalong rocker! Great harmonies along with a soaring guitar solo indicate that this will become a great track for live performance (once such a thing is possible!).

Track 4 is entitled Forever Wild and features some insane drumming that takes this to the limit! This is probably not the best song to play when driving as you are likely to incur a speeding ticket! Great vibe from start to finish.

Saturday is the second single taken from the album and is a really great fun track with a clever play on words! This is an anthem that we can all relate to and I can see audiences singing along with the seriously catchy chorus and the la-la-la’s at the end of the song!

The sixth track is entitled Anytime and slows things down nicely as a sumptuous power ballad. This song goes to show just how versatile these guys are! After 5 tracks of driving rock ‘n’ roll you are ready for this beautiful piece that has everything – great harmonies, sensitive guitar work and tinkling piano! 

Ok, time to wake up again with track 7, The Island! There’s some much going on in this song that any brief respite that you might have enjoyed is soon washed away! A distinctly Caribbean feel hits you towards the end with the somewhat unexpected but effective inclusion of a steel drum solo!

The eighth track, My Fate, delivers some outstanding guitar work and a driving rhythm that is sure to have them rocking in the aisles when played live. You can definitely detect the Def Leppard influences here, and who doesn’t like a bit of Def Leppard! 

Hand In Hand is an altogether gentler number, a proper rock love song with tender lyrics and sweet chords. This track certainly highlights Black Diamonds’ versatility.

Reaching For The Stars could be seen as a mantra for these guys! This is Melodic Rock at it’s very best with a veritable wall of sound carrying the listener along on a musical journey encouraging you to aim high in life to achieve your goals.

Track 11 is Turn To Dust is a delightful number with lashings of Wooaaah, Wooaaahs to keep the singalong crowd happy for a long time to come. Definitely a feel good factor to this one!

The closing track, Outlaw, will take many by surprise! This is a spaghetti western style rocker and is great fun! Bassist Andi Barrels told me that it took many months of persuasion to get the rest of the band on board with this one, but the result is pure gold!

In conclusion, this is a great body of work that takes Black Diamonds to new heights whilst displaying the great sense of humour that these very talented guys possess. The influences of the likes of Motley Crue, Poison and even early Bon Jovi are clearly in evidence with not a trace of plagiarism!

No-Tell Hotel is to be released on the Metalapolis Records label on 12th March 2021 with a live album being released on Christmas Day 2020!

Rating: 8/10

Words: Nick Luxford (@rockasaurusnick)

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