L.A.-based rockers Diamond Lane will release their latest album, Sapphire, on June 1, as part of their appearance at A-rock-alypse Now! at the Dragonfly in Hollywood. We at DGT&G are offering up two tickets to that event (click here for details), but even if the party is out of your reach– say, for example, you live on the east coast– you’re still in luck. This album will bring the party to you.
But first, some quick background: Diamond Lane got together in 2009, when lead vocalist Brandon Baumann and lead guitarist Jarret Reis relocated from Northern California to L.A. and hooked up with Ray Zhang on bass, Frankie Lindia on guitar, and Zak St. John on drums. The band has since become a fixture on the Hollywood scene, keeping the joy of metal alive on the Strip. Their previous album, World Without Heroes, was released in 2011 to positive reception and garnered the attention of the FOX network, which used several tracks from that album in promos.
On Sapphire the band worked with producers Tom Chandler and Davey Rieley to record the entire album in a thirteen-day burst of creative energy that is palpable on listening. With five tracks, Sapphire is shorter than Diamond Lane’s previous album, but it’s got a tight focus and more cohesion than you might expect from an EP. So, yes, it’s shorter, but it’s also leaner than a lot of other albums– the fat has been trimmed, so you only get the best bits.
That’s right. No ballads.
What you do get is hard, rhythm-driven sound. Baumann’s vocals range from rich growling in the lower registers to a confident tenor blast, and Zhang’s bass melds with Lindia’s and Reis’ guitars for a big sound that compliments the vocals. What really sold me on this album, though, is St. John’s explosive drumming that maintains a raucous pace through every track. See for yourself in the opening bars on the title track:
1) Sapphire had me at drums, as I mentioned above. Oh, to be young and drunk and in Hollywood. Anything goes.
2) What I Am is unapologetic and rocking.
3) Haymaker opens with the catchiest guitar lick on an album loaded with catchy licks, and it’s all about just hanging out in a bar all night, with a Dude, Where’s My Car? moment in the second verse.
4) Hey Hell Yeah cuts through the bullshit and says what all great rock songs want to say (but usually don’t): Hey, what do you say/ let’s get fucked up and drink all day./ Hey hell yeah/ party ’til we all get laid.
5) Ain’t Comin Back shows off the balancing act between guitars and vocals in a masterful way. This is muscular sound– an ending track that should leave you out of breath.