What do you expect with such a band name? A sweet dinosaur? A royal cake? A German Metal band? I give you the advice to chose the latter, because "Genius Diary" come from this quintet from the west of Germany. Is the contained music just as sweet as the band name hints at? No, thankfully not. It is more traditional Heavy Metal with a certain Power Metal list.
The band already exists since the Eighties, so definitely is not a newcomer anymore, even though I never had heard of VANILLA REX before. "Genius Diary" apparently is an album that originally had been released in 2000, but only today reached me. I have no clue, if it is a re-release or whatever, but in the end that doesn't matter anyway, so let's listen in.
And the more or less title track "A Genius' Diary" opens up with good Heavy Metal, some classical elements and a few Power Metal influences, with ok vocals by Andy Wagener, who only here and there reaches his limits, which at times takes down the song a bit. At least this track is influenced by a certain H.P.Lovecraft, so they don't just use the usual stories, which one has to hold for VANILLA REX. Altogether the CD, though, is a bit "harmless", meaning that the guys play and write everything clean and well, but in the end lack that last certain something to elevate the songs onto a level that you would hope for.
A song such as "Price Of Progress" is close to making this step a few times, but something in the end hampers it, which is a pity as the band often comes pretty close, but then just misses by a bit. I guess that one reason is that some of the arrangements are not getting the best out of the song and brake it in for a bit. Especially when they try to get a bit more progressive and use more layered vocals it goes awry (like in "Soliloquy").
The band has potential and it surely would be interesting to hear, how they by now have taken care of these problems or how they sound nowadays as the songs are between three and give years old already. "Genius Diary" has turned out to be a solid album, but the question that arises is not new, for a band that is around for a while now, is it still enough to only release something solid or looking at the plethora and partly also quality of other unsigned acts it might not be too little already… I mostly am rather benign towards young acts, but I rather tend towards the latter conclusion… (Online January 28, 2004)