"Golden Gates" (Deadline; 1991)

Reviewed by Snidermann


Good rock'n'roll doesn't have to be very complicated to be effective. In fact, simple music can be just what an artist needs to get their point across. Bands like KISS have made a career out of it. 

Diamond Rexx's five cut release "Golden Gates" is simple rock'n'roll, plain and unassuming, but it lacks any fire or substance to enhance its simplicity. Is it fun? Yeah, I guess. But I can't imagine listening to it multiple times. Sooner rather than later, it would become boring and seem even more trivial.

"Diamond Rexx" (Crash Music Inc.)

Reviewed by Snidermann


Although, as we've said on these pages before, it's pretty difficult to tell much about a band from only a four song CD, I must admit that Diamond Rexx's new release on Crash Music Inc is a cut above the rest. Hard, edgy music and dark, reflective lyrics show that Diamond Rexx can and still does rock. 

These four songs apparently cover the band's career, from their 80s albums to their current release, "Rexx Erected." Unfortunately, as I mentioned, there are only four songs on this CD and one of them is an admittedly cool cover of Grand Funk Railroad's "American Band." Regardless, Diamond Rexx has a strong grasp of what hard rock should be and from what I can tell from this four track release, they still do it very well. 

Now I want to hear a full-length CD. I guess that's another good sign.

"Land of the Damned" (Crash Classics; 1986)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

This CD was originally released in 1986, but Crash music re-released it in 2007. I remember seeing full-page ads for this album in several metal mags back in the day. I never heard it back then, but figured it might be cool based just on the album cover and the title. 

Diamond Rexx looked like they belonged on Sunset Strip, but actually they are from Chicago. However, like WASP, Lizzy Borden and others they leaned more toward a metal sound despite the glam image and trappings. It’s largely a mid-tempo metal sound though and at first I was surprised with it being heavier than expected. That feeling quickly wore thin as I realized just how horribly repetitive the album was. There is just an almost complete lack or variation or style or much of anything to make things interesting. "Land of the Damned" made me think of stories of teenagers who begin learn one riff and play it over and over because it’s the only one they know. It just made me wonder how the band could not realize that they needed to do more to make these songs move along.

Sadly, Diamond Rexx's next two albums suffer from the same problem, but not nearly to the same extent as this, which was their debut. I guess now I know why these guys never got mentioned a whole lot. It seems like they were primarily content to just churn out music that chugged along with no turns or twists. 

The vocals are kind of rough in a good way. Perhaps a little like Alice Cooper in tone, but not nearly the same amount of personality. The vocals help overall, but not nearly enough to make "Land of the Damned" worth running after. 

"Land of the Damned" (Crash Classics; 1986)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn Jr.

Sometimes nostalgia overrides better judgment or, in other cases, time just hasn’t been so kind to a body of work. The jury is still out as to whether or not Chicago’s Diamond Rexx is a true cult classic band of the eighties, but I know I initially got pretty excited when this 2007 re-release landed in my mailbox just because I’m a headbanger from way back and Diamond Rexx is woebegone shop talk by mere name. Barely remembering their sound, I never forgot that crude and simplistic (some folks call it cheap and cheesy) metal god cover of Diamond Rexx’s " Land of the Damned" from 1986 that managed to pop up in half page ads in Hit Parader and Circus, a big deal back then. It’s a unique endeavor now to come to something old that is new but still old ... way old, as it turns out.

Part of the frustration with " Land of the Damned" is listening to the struggle Diamond Rexx has with itself in trying to change up its LA glam sound to something heavier in the vein of WASP, and often the album miscues, even as it does manage to spew a few decent tunes like “Rock Gun,” “Life and Death” and the pulsing (if not stupid) rockout anthem “All I Need.” The biggest chore of the album is contending with the over-the-top vocal tarnish of Nasti Habits, and that’s putting it nicely. Nasti’s wailing and barfing undoes much of whatever musical integrity Diamond Rexx musters on this album. Sometimes he sounds like John Gallagher of Raven without the charm, and sometimes he sounds like Joey Ramone on a bad night in the mid-nineties. That’s also putting it nicely.

Additionally, " Land of the Damned" is dated for all the wrong reasons. “Wish I Was Rich” is absolute crap, which the band obviously did just for fun, as they did with the noisome and silly “Cuz I Wancha,” “Kick In Your Face” and “B.A.T.S.” It’s obvious this album is not to be taken very seriously, even as Diamond Rexx was obviously the local flavor of their time in Chicago.

Unfortunately, the final summary of " Land of the Damned" is that it has its moments, but it’s more reminiscence than validation of what was so intriguing about eighties metal. Check it out for sheer curiosity sake, then head straight for the nearest Armored Saint or Rough Cutt album afterwards.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 26 Sep 2022 12:18:28 -0400 .