The band name just conjures up images of emo/screamo bands making music being depressed about a breakup. I mean, you have to admit that having the word “diary” in the title is girly, thus aimed at women, because men don’t have diaries, we have journals!
Growing up in Ontario Canada, I’ve never really felt a sense of community or been able to participate in any scene. There’s not much in terms of “indie” if you live in Ontario, and believe me, if you come here talking about music, the only expectation Ontario residents have for bands is to become a bunch of rock stars. Maybe it’s due to the fact that all the local bands in my small hometown jump on the bandwagon when a trend finally reaches its maximum limit of popularity that I feel this way. In this scenario, DEAR BLACK DIARY stands above many Ontario bands in the sense that they’re not looking for the shortest route to rock stardom.
What you’ll find on DEAR BLACK DIARY’s self-titled EP is mostly chaotic, sharp, jagged metalcore, with bits and pieces of melodic metalcore thrown in. While I’m a sucker for that chaotic type of metalcore, my patience has already run out on melodic metalcore and melodic death metal. Many of the big bands playing melodic metalcore and melodic death metal (as well as rising melodic death metal band ARSIS) have raised the bar so high on that style that it’s become nearly impossible to make any new guitar melodies any more compelling. I got my hands on the new DARKEST HOUR, and I also just reviewed the new AS I LAY DYING album, so it’s getting to the point where it doesn’t take very many releases in a year to beat the pants off anything melodic.
The second problem I’m having are these single-note breakdowns. For the past four years, hitting the lowest note on a guitar has gone from being pretty cool to me, to getting to the point where it’s really overdone. It’s one god damned note! For all these deathcore and grind/metalcore bands out there who claim to like SUFFOCATION as an influence, why aren’t any of these bands taking a lesson home from SUFFOCATION to learn that a breakdown does not have to be one note?!
Beyond those two great big metalcore cliches, DEAR BLACK DIARY plays the aforementioned style of chaotic metalcore with some none-to-technical runs and plenty of dissonant chords, with a few low death metal imitated grunts and high hoarse throat screaming to scare the average Ontario metalcore kid. There’s also some decent attempts at beefy riffage going on as well, but most of the songs get ruined with an emo styled arpeggio, Swedish guitar harmony or chugga styled breakdowns.
The method of playing a bit simpler (and by simpler, I mean they’re a technical band playing simpler compared to uber-technical bands) in exchange for a tighter strike and an overall heavier sound could certainly work in DEAR BLACK DIARY’s favor, as evidenced last year by GAZA. I’ll let them get away with an extra point for the simple fact that DEAR BLACK DIARY is a signed band with the guts to play this style of metalcore in Ontario. I’m sure back home DEAR BLACK DIARY had many good friends tell them things like “it’s not my thing” or “it’s weird”. Believe me, if you lived in Ontario, you’d understand that PROTEST THE HERO, THE END. BURIED INSIDE, FUCK THE FACTS and I HATE SALLY are pretty much the bastions for creativity in my province.