It’s only been roundabout a year that I received the DIADEM debut “Darkness Surrounds“, back then still the work of Anthony Prechtl alone, who had written, played and produced everything on his own, which was more than remarkable for the contained material was strong, really strong. By now Anthony has added the two Owen brothers Matt (drums) and Michael (bass) and rhythm guitarist Jesse Krasco to the line-up, looking into the DIADEM future.
“Crimson Sunset“, so the title of the first complete album, still has been done completely by Anthony alone and had “Darkness Surrounds” already been pretty remarkable, the long player really is something that should bring this La Habra based band a pretty bright future. From the opener “On The Inside” on we get a very strong mix from Black, Death and also other Metal influences, which captivates the listener from the get-go. As already on the demo we get presented with a drum computer, but contrary to most other bands that try the same, incorporated a lot more homogenously and used nicely unobtrusively.
The opener right away convinces with its contagious melodies in the riffs, which very well harmonise with Anthony’s harsh, hoarse voice. Yet he manages to elude the usual clichés and riffs, giving them a new twist here or an unexpected turn there, but always with these melodies, which give the DIADEM sound something very interesting indeed. On “Salvation“ this impression strengthens even more, with the opening riff reminding me a bit of greats such as AMON AMARTH and as I love the Swedes, this is a big plus! And it gets even better, because the rhythm, too, follows in the footsteps of the Northmen, strong, very strong and with a tremendous power!
Overall DIADEM sound a lot more Death Metal-lic than I remember from the demo, with a rough, higher growl, which accentuates the powerful compositions well, with the use of keyboards not watering down the compositions, but instead giving them an own touch. “Reflections Of My Soul“ even contains some clean vocals, which contrasts again with the very powerful and a bit rawer sounding riffing, very strong track, after which “Lost Spring” surprises a lot, as pure piano instrumental, followed by “Will-O’-The-Wisp“, which starts out sluggish, to be replaced by a fat double bass thunderstorm, the track itself then is a mix from fast and slower passages.
“Theory Of A Lost One“ passes through with some great drive and a very good guitar lead, while the title track again shows some AMON AMARTH parallels in riffing and rhythm, closed off by another calm instrumental (“Escape“), hm, I mentioned almost every track here… The production also is good, the visual side also is satisfactory, a bit more booklet would have been nice, but hey, it’s an indie release, so…
With „Crimson Sunset“ Anthony made a big step forward after the already good demo, he shows a remarkable talent for varied and catchy songs, strong riffing and very good melodies and if he continues like that and has even more possibilities with a complete line-up now, basically almost all goals are open to DIADEM. Very strong effort! (Online May 30, 2004)