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Picture - Picture 1 + Diamond Dreamer (Reissue)

Picture
Picture 1 + Diamond Dreamer (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 31 January 2014, 2:39 AM

Back to the old wooden spinning wheel of time, looking to recapture another long gone event, which I believe has a here and there impression on what came afterwards. Landing in a time where the bread and butter, rice and beans, meat and potatoes of Heavy Metal began rapidly appearing worldwide, especially in the US and Western Europe. And I was lucky enough to evoke past mementos with my Dutch maiden, not IRON MAIDEN, a band by the name of PICTURE. In my bill, possibly one of the top inspirational bands of The Netherlands, a band that fulfilled the mastery alteration between 70’s Hard Rock through the British Heavy Metal that bred within their land. Throughout their vast career the band split up twice, lastly reappearing in 2007 and still on and hard. However, with the helping hand of Divebomb Records, I was thrown back three decades ago to the band’s first four albums, between 1981 till 1983. The reissues were divided into two separate albums, each including two releases and not chronologically, which a bit surprised me. This here review will focus on two different eras for PICTURE, which mainly differ due to dissimilar vocalists, with the presentation of “Picture 1”, the debut from 1981, and the third output, “Diamond Dreamer”, originally released in 1982.

Though “Diamond Dreamer”’s tracks come first on the tracklist, I decided not mess you up and be ordered as I can be, thus demonstrating the development of PICTURE over the periods. Before that, there is PICTURE’s music in general. Frankly, as I came to listen to the band’s releases in the passing years, these Dutchmen remained loyal to their old habits, accrediting Hard Rock and glitters of Heavy Metal as they go, utterly basic that it kills sometimes. I have to hand to them, even nowadays they stick tightly to what they have been playing in their youthful days, not a drop more or less, still keeping the aged energies in check and pumping.

Following “Picture 1”, I received the dosage of a band charged up with British Metal vigor, recapping late 70’s JUDAS PRIEST, DEEP PURPLE and SAXON upsurges, in general entrusting their hands in NWOBHN, yet without the twin guitar effect that would have been probably better for them. The songwriting initiated the band’s simplicity, welcoming several memorable tunes. “Dirty Street Fighter” that crosses as a chopping Rock N’ Roll / Metal hymn, mid tempo thumper sending that cool 70’s vibe, with a tight drum and bass work. “No More” beckoned of 70’s DEEP PURPLE, created a Funky vibe, but on a heavier note, pictured with a great lead fretwork and smooth guitar driven atmosphere. On several moments it reminded me of “Into The Fire” of DEEP PURPLE. “Bombers” runs on a tremendous traditional vibe, tenacious and jumpy, producing a semi speedster with a slow tempo passage screaming drama, capturing another great guitar work. On the other hand, nothing seemed too inspirational, I wouldn’t think about originally, especially back in those days where the genre was still taking form, yet PICTURE had it in them to recycle their own compositions, or plainly dragging along with fillers. I must imply that Jan Bechtum kept up the band’s powerful notes rather decently, applying his skills as a fine lead guitarist, chalking up basic riffery that turned out quite nicely, rather ragged than shrewd through. On the other corner, Ronald Van Prooijen appears as a sort of semi Rob Halford, yet with an accent that sometimes made my brains itch on me. Gladly, that on the songs that demonstrated multi-channeled vocal lines, it worked for his favor.

Without putting too much attention to the fact that PICTURE’s next frontman, sadly for a one time deal, was an Israeli, same as I, the coming of Shmoulik Avigal exhaled a fresh spirit within the ranks of the band. Honestly, the lineup remained quite solid, with only Avigal as the new guy. Following Avigal’s enrollment, PICTURE released “Diamond Dreamer”, an album that I consider to be their one of their finest creations, probably their best, but it can be argued about endlessly. In comparison to the debut “Picture 1”, this here album brandished PICTURE as an ultimate Hard N’ Heavy band, setting the speedy sharp edged PRIEST influence aside for just a little bit, letting in a warmly, hardened Bluesy ambiances of WHITESNAKE and DEEP PURPLE, heavy bolstered SAXON crisps and flickering a few RAINBOW associations for coloring effect, especially on the riffs. In a first glance, it would appear that PICTURE slowed down a bit, went into a chunky palm muted fever, clogging heaviness, yet there are a few leftover speed carrions like the impressions of “Message From Hell” or the tips of “You’re All Alone”. Nonetheless, I was rather fascinated by the fusion of the band’s perception of Blues with skids of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, as “Diamond Dreamer” incorporated the basic thrill but with a certain style is came as addictive after several listens, sure can’t deem it a perfect cracker, but close enough to ignite old school fires. “Get Me Rock N’ Roll” is an 80’s Metal anthem, a call to arms, straightforward and catchy. “Lousy Lady”, couldn’t ask for a better DEEP PURPLE / WHITESNAKE appetizer. Think about DEEP PURPLE’s “Woman Of Tokyo” when tuning to this old mutha, yet sharper and heavier. “Diamond Dreamer” inspired with its fluency, tasty riffs and vocal delivery while “You're Touching Me” lefts its mark as the emotive balladry. Avigal, as dominant as he can be in comparison to Van Prooijen, swarmed with his spiraling and powerful tone of voice, like crossroads of Coverdale meets Dio, is a shimmering classic frontman, too bad only a onetime thing for him. Furthermore, PICTURE’s rhythm section mustered its rigidity further, offering well-tuned drum and bass. Jan Bechtum still producing the humble riffery, created some of his best on this one while snatching a few soloing patterns that were likable.

Time and time again when I run in a piece of history, usually I have plenty to talk about, and I believe that I did in some manner, not too much babbling. PICTURE never made quite an overwhelming impact in their early days, however, they had the wills and skills to fashion some brilliant songs, knowing how to produce the simple stuff as inviting.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Diamond Dreamer:
1. Lady Lightning
2. Night Hunter
3. Hot Lovin'
4. Diamond Dreamer
5. Message From Hell
6. You're All Alone
7. Lousy Lady
8. The Hangman
9. Get Me Rock And Roll
10. You're Touching Me

Picture 1:
11. Dirty Street Fighter
12. You Can Go
13. Bombers
14. No More
15. One Way Street
16. You’re A Fool
17. Get Back Or You Fall
18. Rockin’ In Your Brains
19. He’s A Player
20. Fear
Lineup:
“Picture 1” Lineup:
Rinus Vreugdenhill – Bass
Laurens "Bakkie" Bakker – Drums
Jan Bechtum - Guitars
Ronald Van Prooijen - Vocals

“Diamond Dreamer” Lineup:
Rinus Vreugdenhill – Bass
Laurens "Bakkie" Bakker – Drums
Jan Bechtum - Guitars
Shmoulik Avigal – Vocals
Record Label: Divebomb Records
     


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