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Diamond Chazer - Chasing Diamonds

Diamond Chazer
Chasing Diamonds
by Kenn Staub at 12 November 2020, 6:41 AM

Hailing from Medellín (Columbia), DIAMOND CHAZER plays music influenced by the NWOBHM, French heavy metal, AOR, and speed metal. “Chasing Diamonds” (Nov. 3) is the quintet’s first full length album and represents a compilation of the band’s previous releases, the EP “Chained In Tokyo” (2018) and single “Diamond Chazer/Poltergeist” (2020). Lyrically, the songs on “Chasing Diamonds” center around the “rocker’s lifestyle, feelings of love and freedom, and some others based on horror movies and series.” Musically, “Chasing Diamonds” is a collection of melodic metal that harkens back to the 1980s (and occasionally the 1970s), with the synthesizer playing a prominent role and Álvarez and Figueroa channeling the guitar heroes of yore. That being noted, the songs too readily fall into some of that era’s stylistic clichés and the album’s overall quality is diminished by its production, which at times renders the mix muddy and tinny at others.

Zero To Hero” opens the album and features a spacey synthesizer introduction while the rhythm plays underneath. This gives way to a catchy, uptempo melody, though the synthesizer tends to dominate, being pushed to the fore in the mix. Though hooky, this song also reveals a production problem which plagues “Chasing Diamonds” throughout, namely echoy lead vocals which prove difficult to understand and group harmonies that simply get lost in the background.

A cool bass intro leads off “The Whip,” after which the guitars and drums join to carry the rhythm by playing a fairly simple line over and over and over and over. Herein lies a stylistic crutch heard over the course of “Chasing Diamonds,” limited rhythmic variety with musical lines repetitively played. Additionally, as happens on several tracks, the guitar solos, instead of blending with the basic rhythm, are seemingly played with the intent to dazzle (which they do) and stand apart.

Swords & Chains” features a sparely amplified guitar line that is really quite appealing, with the second guitar deftly joining the first to move the song along. The track has a fits-and-starts element to it, exacerbated by lead vocals which sound almost off key. Simply put, the vocal performance on this song and several others is just not my cup of tea; sounding out of tune to my ear and intermittently rushed to the point the lyrics were hard to understand.

A minute-and-a-half long synthesizer introduction grandiosely opens “Tokyo Rendezvous.” The song takes off once you get into the meat of it, evidencing a catchy melody. “Breakin’ The Chains” is a rocker with a speed metal vibe. Through most of the song the playing is tight, though the cohesion breaks as it approaches the end. On “I Need You” the guitars and synthesizer blend well together, as the chorus repeats the same simple three lines over four verses.

I couldn’t help but consider “Freedom” to be DIAMOND CHAZER’s answer to MAIDEN’s “The Clansman,” it just has that feel to it (albeit at a slower tempo). The song explodes, in a rousingly good way similar to “The Clansman”, slightly after the two minute mark and the guitar solo blends with the overall feel of the song. “Stranger Things,” a homage to the television series, opens with an almost 1970s-style, spacey synthesizer theme that progressively builds and races as the rest of the band joins. This is perhaps lyrically the best song on the album for the story it tells. “Diamond Chazer” starts with a pulsing synthesizer line and the guitar has somewhat of a surf-music tone and was produced in a manner that gives it a bit of an old school punk sound. “Poltergeist” is tonally spooky and at one point has a ‘70s SABBATH-like riff. This gives way to a chugging rhythm as the song rapid approaches an almost minute-and-a-half outro.

In sum, I didn’t love this album, nor did I particularly dislike it either. I appreciate the time and energy that went into crafting the songs and perfecting them until they were considered studio-ready. There are very likeable and appealing elements on each track, though these tend to get overshadowed as other things are pushed too much and too far or song cohesion breaks down (both of which happen too often for my liking). Sometimes it is like DIAMOND CHAZER gets caught in the trap of trying to do more than they should over too long of a period, as opposed to exploiting the member’s strengths in more readily consumable portions.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 4
Memorability: 5
Production: 4

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Zero To Hero
2. The Whip
3. Swords & Chains (Gotham City Cover)
4. Tokyo Rendezvous
5. Breakin’ The Chains
6. I Need You
7. Freedom
8. Stranger Things
9. Diamond Chazer
10. Poltergeist
Lineup:
Stiven Giraldo – Vocals/Keyboards
Ramiro Álvarez – Guitars
Juan Figueroa – Guitars
Jhon Denis Rojas – Bass
José Manuel Cárdenas – Drums  
Record Label: Fighter Records
     


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