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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » Diamond Dawn - 2013 Overdrive
Diamond Dawn - 2013 Overdrive

ARTIST: Diamond Dawn
ALBUM: Overdrive
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: Alexander Strandell - lead vocals * Olle Lindahl - guitars * Jhonny Göransson - guitars * Niklas Arkbro - keyboards * Mikael Tillander - bass * Effy Larsson - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Into Overdrive * 02 Take Me Higher * 03 Crying * 04 Standing As One * 05 California Rush * 06 Indestructible * 07 Turn It Up * 08 The Hunter * 09 Give It All * 10 Don't Walk Away * 11 Powergames



There's been a fair few decent melodic rock and heavy metal acts come out of Goteburg Sweden. I won't name names, otherwise I'll be here all day. Toward the end of 2012, Frontiers Records picked this lot up, to be given an early 2013 release on their label. The hyperbole was forthcoming.. melodic rock/AOR.. you know the rest. However, upon listening to the samples, I wasn't too enthused by what I heard, and I pointed this out on my Twitter Feed at the time (pre Christmas 2012). It's been some months since its initial release, so I've decided to go back and have a decent listen, just to see if I could be proved wrong..

The Songs
Look, there's no denying Diamond Dawn have a decent sort of sound. The right mix of keys, guitars and back-end. But the whole package is bought back to the middle of the pack with some potentially good songs made ordinary and vocals that don't quite fit. Let's be honest, Alexander Strandell is no Lars Safsund or Goran Edman and I think he's better suited to singing for a harder edged outfit - not an out and out AOR band like Diamond Dawn. I like the musical structures of their songs, which says something about the guys putting the music together, but the lyrics and vocals put me off no end. Niklas Arkbro can rattle up a decent sequence of keyboards, no problems there, you hear this as early as 'Into Overdrive', with some nice tinkly pieces coming through. 'Take Me Higher' is the pick of the bunch, which could be any number of young and recent Swedish bands such as H.E.A.T, Houston or Titan. Some good guitar work here. 'Standing As One' reminds me of B-Grade Swedish 80's AOR, of which there were many pretenders. This track has anthem written all over it. 'California Rush' has motorcycle sound effects so one can assume where this song is heading.. down the highway. The song itself is a bit of mish-mash, it has a funky element too, It's Alive perhaps? Not quite. Some nice synths welcome in 'Indestructible', this is a definite goodie in the vein of fellow countrymen Work Of Art, so there's definite promise from the DD boys, but the song would've been bought to life if it had a stronger chorus. 'Turn It Up' is well themed and well named, a cranky racous song, sort of like Gotthard in style, but lacking catchy-hook appeal. Admittedly it does have a fun element going for it. The main riff/motif in 'The Hunter' has a familiar theme to it, probably borrowed from some other band no doubt, and sounds half decent because of it. The not so decent aspect is that the song is predictable with a chorus that could've done with some originality. Diamond Dawn pick up the pace for 'Give It All', galloping across your eardrums, but again you'll be trying to pick the eyes out of it.. 'where have I heard that song before?' We get a sense of the dramatic on 'Don't Walk Away', a power ballad of some quality. Now this is more like it! Arkbro continues to impress with his ivory work, the closer 'Powergames', is also pretty good, for the reason being that's it's not derivative or copycat.

In Summary
I think by the time I was getting to the end of the album, things were starting to look up. Diamond Dawn probably need to tighten up their direction if they wish to break into the big time. I have no doubt they have some huge potential. Just take a listen to the closer 'Powergames' which gives some indication as to how good this combo could be. Heavy proggish AOR with a massive keyboard solo to boot. I'd love to see this band write some stronger material in the vein of 'Powergames'.. I can just imagine how good they could sound if producers like Max Norman or Fredrik Nordstrom were mentoring them in the studio. Probably not going to happen anytime soon, but still, the plan is to sow the seed in the minds of messrs Strandell, Arkbro and co. 'Overdrive' can be considered a work in progress, there's much potential if the band can lock down to a plan that suits them musically. I certainly know which direction I'd like them to go in, only time will tell if I'm proved right.

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#1 | gdazegod on May 13 2013 14:32:35
YouTube Video:
#2 | gdazegod on May 13 2013 14:35:27
The other band that is a close match to DD is obviously H.E.A.T, who you can tell from the video there is some visual comparison. Musically though, they have a ways to go to catch up, but as I said, they certainly have some potential..
#3 | jeffrey343 on May 13 2013 23:00:06
Accurate review. Although it did help me to watch the video. Strandell has the look and the moves, but his voice is a bit too accented for my preferences. He sounds a lot like Kenny Leckremo from the first two H.E.A.T albums (but not quite as good). I do see some definite potential here too, but they're not quite where some other acts (like H.E.A.T) were on their debut. This will most likely end up being an album I throw some songs into the mixer with a bunch of other stuff and put it in shuffle mode.
#4 | george_the_jack on May 14 2013 11:49:43
Agree with both of you guys. I was rather blown away the first time I saw the video but, later, when I gave the whole album a spin, I was pretty disappointed by the result. Musically, their songs lack the spark while the voice doesn't have enough power and stability to my ears. Production-wise the album is also weak and forgettable. The 7/10 rating is very accurate.
#5 | rkbluez on July 20 2013 23:24:52
Didn't like the vocals so I passed on this match for a band like H.E.A.T. IMO.
#6 | jeffrey343 on September 27 2013 23:45:45
I get the feeling these guys could put out a darn good second album. I've listened to this a few times the past couple of weeks, and the potential is there. They're not breaking any new ground, but I certainly don't mind another good band with this particular style.
#7 | gdazegod on November 17 2015 11:54:44
I think Strandell's new band Art Nation are much better. Look out for a review of their 'Revolution' album very soon.
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