Fans of L.A. Guns are going to get a double dose of new music from the band this year. The lineup led by drummer Steve Riley – known as Riley’s L.A. Guns — is reportedly set to release its new album, Darkhorse, sometime this year through Golden Robot Records. The other lineup, led by original founding members Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis and known simply as L.A. Guns, got the jump on that lineup Friday when it released its new album, Black Diamonds through Frontiers Music s.r.l. The 11-song record is a mostly successful new offering from the band. That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements makes for its own interest and will be discussed a little later. The album’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted here plays its own important part to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered they make Black Diamonds a mostly shining new offering from L.A. Guns.
Black Diamonds, the latest album from the Tracii Guns/Phil Lewis led L.A. Guns lineup is a presentation that longtime fans of the veteran glam rock band will enjoy. Coming less than two years after the release of the lineup’s then latest album, Checkered Past, the album succeeds in part due to its featured musical arrangements. From the beginning to the end of the album’s 41-minute run time, its musical arrangements offer a variety of rock sounds and styles. Right from the album’s outset, the band offers up an infectious hard rock style composition that fits just as well in the current realm of pure guitar rock as the harder edged songs that bridged the hair metal sounds of the late 80s and early 90s in ‘You Betray.’ The band opts for a slightly more blues-leaning approach in that song’s immediate follow-up, ‘Wrong About You.’ The 80’s hair metal influence is still audible here, but the overall sound and style is a notable change from the record’s opener; a change that is just as engaging and entertaining as the album’s opener. From there, the band really makes things interesting in the record’s next track, its title track. The song’s opening verse and chorus throw back to the hair metal ballads of days gone by. That sound and approach is easily comparable to the rock ballads made popular by the likes of Poison and Motley Crue. As the song progresses through, that blues influence takes over again and takes the arrangement in a decidedly different yet still just as enjoyable direction. Once more, audiences get a composition that is distinct from its counterparts, adding even more to the importance of the record’s musical content.
As the record progresses, the changes continue from there, with the band eventually going even more in a full-on blues direction in ‘Shame.’ The guitar riffs and harmonica line are, collectively, a full-on blues rock opus that will appeal to anybody. The riffs in particular throw back to the Texas style blues while the choruses are more directly rock oriented. The whole makes the overall composition so enjoyable and just one more example of what makes this record’s musical side so fun. The sound and style of each arrangement continues changing from there right to the album’s finale. The result overall is 11 total pure guitar rock arrangements that show this L.A. Guns lineup can still hold its own alongside its fellow veteran rock acts and its younger counterparts at the same time.
As much as the album’s musical arrangements do to make it engaging and entertaining, they are collectively just one part of what makes this record so enjoyable. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content do their own share to make for some enjoyment. For the most part, the lyrical content featured throughout the record follows one overarching theme, that of relationships. Right from the outset in ‘You Betray,’ Lewis sings of a person who is “an evil one.” He sings of that person, “You were the place I would go to survive/Now it’s a race to the hole where I will die.” This is relatively self-explanatory especially as he sings later in the song, “You betray everyone and everything” and that “you’re like a disease in my blood.” Whether this is a former romantic interest of someone or just someone who has wronged (apparently) lots of people, this centers on someone who has ruined lots of relationships.
Audiences get the exact opposite side of things immediately after in ‘Wrong About You’. Even the album’s title track focuses on a relationship, this time a broken romantic relationship. The only song here that seems to break that mold is ‘Gonna Lose.’ The way in which the band addresses the noted overarching theme varies from song to song and remains fully accessible for audiences in the process. The pairing of that general, accessible theme and the record’s infectious and equally accessible musical arrangements makes for more than enough reason for audiences to hear L.A. Guns’ latest album. They are not the only aspects of the album that make it worth hearing. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation.
The production used throughout the album is, for the most part, quite respectable. It gives certain performances, such as those in ‘Like A Drug’ a great warmth that throws fully back to the rich sounds of the rock sounds from the 70s. The tone from the drums and the guitar line sound just like they came from a long-buried time capsule. The sound is incredible. On another note, the album’s opener has some questionable production. The airy If that was an intentional approach, it would be nice to know why the band opted to go that route especially as infectious as the arrangement is. The result here is a song that is lacking despite its infectious nature. Thankfully it is the only point at which the record’s production has to be called into question. Throughout the rest of the album, the production brings out the best of each musician in each song. The result is a positive general effect that does just as much to make the album enjoyable as the album’s overall content. All things considered the content and production comes together to make Black Diamonds another mostly successful offering from L.A. Guns that shows the band can still hold its own in today’s rock community.
Black Diamonds, the latest album from the Tracii Guns/Phil Lewis-led L.A. Guns lineup, is a mostly enjoyable new offering from the veteran glam rock band. That is proven in part through its musical arrangements. Each of the record’s 11 total arrangements are distinct from one another in their sound and style, offering blues-infused works, throwbacks to the glam rock that made the band so big in its heyday, and even some content that fits just as well in the current era of guitar rock as in days gone by. Each is infectious in its own right to the whole of the record’s presentation and collectively, they ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment. The lyrical content that accompanies those arrangements makes for its own engagement and entertainment because overall, it follows one central theme of relationships, just in different ways in each song. That overarching theme and how it is approached is fully accessible for audiences, making for even more enjoyment. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation and, for the most part, is successful, save for the questionable work on the record’s opener. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered they make Black Diamonds another welcome addition to this year’s field of new rock albums.
Black Diamonds is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of L.A. Guns’ latest news at:
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