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  DIAMOND DAWN
'Overdrive'
(Frontiers)


Phil Kane

phil kane

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diamond awn overdrive

Diamond Dawn is yet another band to come flouncing out from under the Scandinavian underground AOR stone. Hailing from Goteborg, Sweden, the band has a damn good go at capturing the power and thrill of AOR's heyday but fall a little short.

If you have a particular fondness for the soft catchy pomp of Toto then you will love Diamond Dawn. With a happy life affirming driving parp, their sound is pretty much super glued in a time, years gone by, when men wore big bobble perms and bounced around arena stages worldwide with big shit eating grins in bands named after cars, mythical rivers and travelling..

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I suppose the modern equivalent would be Jimi Jamison, Jorn and FM. Though be warned, the comparisons flatter Diamond Dawn somewhat.

Said guitarist Olle Lindahl recently, "We're not doing what we do or sound like we do for the purpose of keeping something old alive. We're a bunch of guys that love to play together and when we do, the sound and output comes naturally. Our music is very melodic and pompous rock with a strong positive nerve. Each band member comes from a different musical background and that is what definitely makes the sound what it is. There is no way to control that as long as you do what you feel like."

diamond dawn

Very commendable too I'm sure, unfortunately, keeping something old alive is all they've managed to do. Worse, with more than enough people already paying their homage to, or re-releasing, the good old stuff from AORs heyday the effort has been rendered all but futile by a comparatively sober presentation.

As for each band member being from a different musical background, the shame of it is they did not seem to put much effort and imagination into their writing and arranging and allow their backgrounds to shine through a bit more. The result is an album of AOR that is by no means bad; it just is not the killer it needs to be to get noticed amongst the clamour of the herd.

On the plus side the Diamond Dawn boys have resisted the old AOR urge to render 'Overdrive' top heavy with ballads, which is always a good sign. The musicianship and production is pretty much as it should be; a big multilayered mix of swooping orchestrated keyboards, guitars that chug and sing in equal measure and vocals that soar and all rendered as sparkly and clear as highland spring water; very slick and smooth.

Where 'Overdrive' falls down is that there is a torrent of this sort of stuff coming at us at the moment and a lot of it does not sound quite so dated. As an exercise in scratching itches it has probably done an admirable job but the boys now need to sit down and decide what they are going to do to avoid becoming premature anachronisms.

AOR, melodic rock, pomp; call it what you want, it all offers a far broader church in which to spread their wings than Diamond Dawn boys seem to realise. Once the band learns to step beyond its own self imposed constraints I'm sure the next album will be a stunner.

As it is, 'Overdrive' is a commendable start, but only for the inquisitive uninformed.

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5.3.13


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