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Album Review: DIAMOND PLATE Pulse

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Diamond plate: you know what it is even if you weren't aware there was a name for it. It refers, in the words of Wikipedia, to "a type of lightweight metal stock with a regular pattern of raised diamonds or lines on one side, with the reverse side being featureless." It's typically made out of stainless steel, making it literally the most metal name a band could possibly adopt. So why has it only just recently been spoken for?

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Might just be that there are too many people that don't what the material covering the bumper of their dad's pickup is called to begin with, but in any case it's well placed with this trio of Chicago upstarts. Playing retro thrash as if their lives depended on it, it seems like Diamond Plate has been around forever, although Pulse is merely their second album. Prior to 2011's Generation Why? debut, however, the band released several EPs and were frequent inclusions on the countless neo-thrash compilations that emerged in the wake of Toxic Holocaust's success, so the dearth of full length albums belies just how long they've been at it.

When you play a revivalist style of music it's generally expected that, as time goes by, you refine your craft rather than retool it. As such, there isn't a great deal of artistic development per se between Generation Why? and Pulse, but Diamond Plate fans wouldn't have it any other way. That said, there is ample evidence of greater sophistication in the singing on tunes like "Walking Backward" and "Dance With Reality".

Taking that even further, "Still Dreaming" and "Face to Face" represent legitimate left turns, both trading on the more gothic tendencies of US power metal bands like Nevermore, with "Face to Face" even featuring vocals in an old school (D.R.I.Excel) hardcore mode. It doesn't always work – the gang chorus on "Bottom of the Glass" has a forced, awkward phrasing to it – but in toto Diamond Plate have significantly upgraded their songcraft, suggesting the sort of longevity that may well outlive the retro-thrash trend that the band are increasingly figureheads for.

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Stream the album in full at Bravewords.

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To borrow an old cliché, they waste no time in going straight for the jugular.