Sunday morning is often a good time to check out some invigorating death metal and the German thrash/death metallers Diary About My Nightmare are a technical, heavy and often melodic band who have style and attitude to spare.
Now, we have to get this out of the way so let’s do so quickly and efficiently – yes, Diary have a female singer who growls and screams with the utmost proficiency and no, Diary don’t sound like Arch Enemy and anyone who sets out to make that comparison is a lazy-ass journalist who clearly hasn’t actually bothered to listen to the album. Diary, I am happy to say, have a sound that is all their own so let’s move on.
Having dealt with what Diary are not, let’s consider their virtues for they are many. Opening with the crushing and atmospheric scene-setter ‘Urt La Bu Tral’ the band move through their paces with a churning and heavy guitar backed by slickly recorded drums and a growling bass that thuds ominously from the speakers. As an opener it actually reminds me of Obituary’s glorious instrumental opener ‘redneck stomp’ before the band smoothly segue into ‘Lost in lines’ which wastes no time at all in introducing singer Toni who apparently has a throat lined with razor wire. Gloriously brutal, what immediately sets Diary apart from the death metal pack is the huge adrenalin surge you get from their tracks – for while the band are certainly masters of their instruments the technical aspects are never allowed to strip the soul from the music and a very basic, natural passion burns brightly at the centre of the songs presented here. With Daniel and Andre firing off riffs like men possessed and Toni adopting a Glenn Benton-esque snarl the band showcase a professional and furiously honed sound that is impossible to ignore. Having already impressed, ‘Close to the boarder’ kicks off with Toni sounding ever-more unhinged and the band providing a solid, thrash-influenced groove behind her. References abound here but two favourable comparisons might well prove to be the aforementioned Obituary and modern thrash titans Lamb of God, but even then Diary don’t make it that easy and elements of Iron Maiden surface in the harmonised solos of the bridge section and you can see that this is a band as much steeped in metal history as they are in love with their own exciting sound.
Opening with a cheeky sample from ‘Hellraiser’, ‘Deathinfection’ is a furious, invigorating slice of pure death metal that rips straight from the gates of hell and proceeds to stomp, roughshod, over your spirit. ‘Hate’, meanwhile adopts a more melodic posture with the band slowing things down momentarily for a weighty introduction before ripping off in a new direction with Toni spewing vitriol over the top like a grown up Regan and it’s hard not to wonder if her head is still facing in the same direction come the end of the track. None of that, however, prepares you for the astonishing ‘Ewigkeit’ which is a dark, raw-throated trip into the heart of insanity which ultimately chokes on its own rage and fades into the sublime ‘first class suicide’ which once again shows off those trad-metal chops with some Metallica-esque acoustic guitar recalling ‘ride the lightening’ and showcasing some sweet lead. ‘Forgotten anger’ comes back in all guns blazing with the sort of pile-driving riff that would make an excellent show opener (hopefully we’ll discover exactly how good when Diary get over to our shores) while ‘across the street’ is possibly one of my favourite tracks on the album with a pure, dirty thrash riff and double-bass drums offset by some truly evil death metal riffing and harsh vocals. Better still, the chugging half-time mid-section has a vital groove that brings Machine Head’s ever-green ‘Davidian’ to mind – it’s brutal yet intoxicating stuff. Final track ‘hall of fame’ closes the album out in a hail of bullets and ripping guitars and you’re left wanting to kick the whole thing off again with only the minor concern that your neck muscles may not stand the strain.
Diary about my nightmares are a thrilling prospect. UK fans can only hope they get over to our Isle soon, but in the meantime this is an album to whet your appetite and sharpen your senses. Although death metal is often a limited format beset by the problems of technicality outweighing humanity, in the case of Diary, the band are clearly life-long metal fans and their smart incorporation of a variety of elements make for riveting listening. Ignore any lazy comparisons, Diary are an exciting band with a score of talent and passion for the music they make and ‘Forbidden anger’ is never less than awesome.