Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grand Halls 49

DIAMOND REO – “Dirty Diamonds” (Kama Sutra, 1976) – I remember when I moved into the house I’m currently living in. I mean, ok, we’re talking awhile back…like maybe 19 years and 2 wives ago. But that part of it’s my cross to bear, not your’s so I’ll stick with the basics here. I moved into this shell of a 1920’s home on my parents’ street after a stroke of luck (or maybe just a stroke) took the original owner, a delightfully eccentric old codger named Mr. Gus. Sheezus, bro, there was a lot of work to be done and I made a helluva lot of trips to the old hardware store (conveniently called “The Hardware Store”) on Philadelphia Road. The one time in particular my loot included a heavy-ass strain of paint remover. Funny thing is, had I thought a little bit I could’ve probably saved myself a couple bucks and just pulled this, the 2nd of 3 albums by Pittsburgh hard rock band DIAMOND REO off the shelf. Reason is, I doubt there’s anything made by man or beast that could strip the shellac like the unholy racket created by this fearsome foursome over the 30-some minutes etched into the vinyl of “Dirty Diamonds.” Truly, Frank Czuri, Warren King, Norm Nardini and Rob Franks were not going to confuse themselves in anybody’s mind with Rush or anything like that. I mean, there were no 10+ minute opuses about necromancers dwelling in the tracks of this ebon slab. No, DIAMOND REO instead went straight for the jugular with 3-4 minute sonic tree stumps, bar-room hard rock scalders with names like “Scratch My Back” and “Power.” The thing that really put these fuckers over the top, though, were the vocals of Czuri and Warren King’s guitar. The former comes at you like a steroid-ridden prize fighter, all punk attitude, nasty vox and a slathering dash of Bon Scott school boy leer, strapped together with a sense of melody that could pry back the top of a can of Iron City with one syllable. The guitar tone of King is absolutely ridiculous. It pure Gibson-through-Marshall crunch, drenched with a caustic, acetone volatility that would simply slice the flesh off a hippo. The force of this greatness is felt no better than in the opening volley, “All Over You,” truly one of the greatest, heaviest hard rock songs of all time. Truth be known, however, there isn’t a letdown anywhere throughout the course of this swaggering beast of a record. Could the same thing be said for the band’s debut, “Diamond Reo” or this sucker’s follow up, “Ruff Cuts?” Not really. I mean, they are decent heavy rock records and surely worth your attention but brothers and sisters, when that next job needs to be done & you need the industrial strength paint peeler? Look no further than “Dirty Diamonds.” Absolutely Filthy

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