Album Review
Issues - Black Diamonds Album Cover

Issues - Black Diamonds

Reviewed by
IssuesBlack Diamonds
Record Label: Rise / Velocity
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Issues is completely ridiculous. There's enough nu-metal to make Hybrid Theory proud (or horrified), Djentish riffs, hints of R&B and dubstep, cliche metalcore clean/scream combos, and record scratching. More or less, it's everything you hate about music.

But it's kind of fun.

By being completely self-indulgent, Black Diamonds sort of... works. Each member hammers their genre of choice into the mix, creating an oddly-cohesive abomination that's as memorable as it is polarizing.

As expected, Tyler Carter once again proves to be a star in the making. Whether he's delivering smooth R&B hooks on "Princeton Avenue" or upbeat choruses on "King Of Amarillo," the singer demands your attention and shows off-the-chart talent. It's no coincidence that the EP's best cut is "The Worst Of Them," where he near exclusively leads the vocal attack. That's not to say Michael Bohn should step aside; as someone who formerly loathed the screamer, I found myself enjoying his approach here. On Woe, Is Me's Number[s], his mic time often served as a springboard for big Carter lines - the same isn't true in Issues, where the two share the spotlight well (see: the chorus of "Princeton Ave").

Strangely enough, the most kudos go to the band's least known members: AJ Robello and Ty Accord. The vocals are great, but the instrumentation's pop is what really sets the songs off, whether it's Robello's riffs or Accord's programming/keys. Production from the always-great Kris Crummett deserves recognition as well, combining forces with the aforementioned two and drummer Case Snedecor as the glue that keeps these songs together.

Don't get me wrong - there's a fair share of WTF moments. The amalgamation goes too far with "Love Sex Riot," a Carter solo track adapted for the EP with a bizarre party-in-the-club-but-with-angry-screamers vibe. The same goes for the second half of "Her Monologue" (or is it a secret track?) where Tyler raps alongside someone named Snow Tha Product - that never needs to happen again.

So yeah - I liked it. Weird.

Recommended If You LikeUm... *scratches head* everything and nothing?
Additional InformationThe EP can be streamed in full via Rise Records' YouTube.
This review is a user submitted review from Jack Appleby. You can see all of Jack Appleby's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 22
09:37 PM on 11/18/12
Jack Appleby
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This was a really good and somewhat hilarious review Jack. I disagree with your overall sentiment, I think they showed a few bright spots that they can build upon, but the constant (awful) chugging was too much for me to handle, and Carter's voice is pretty annoying to me. I think the fact that everyone in this band and their fans irritate the living crap out of me doesn't help much.

Anything's better than new Woe is Me though.
Yeah, if you're not a Tyler fan, there's no way you'll like this. I personally like the dude.

Didn't think they overchugged here, either. Now Genesi[s], on the other hand - that's coming later tonight.
09:47 PM on 11/18/12
Jake Denning
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Hate on, but I enjoyed this as well. In fact, my own personal score is higher than Jack's.
11:33 PM on 11/18/12
lloyd boners
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JayDanielHammer's Avatar
12:17 AM on 11/19/12
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saywhatever's Avatar
Vapid piles of complete musical shit.
12:28 AM on 11/19/12
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Vapid piles of complete musical shit.
02:17 AM on 11/19/12
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bowbzzz's Avatar
why anyone thinks this is album deserves an 82% rating is beyond me.
08:14 AM on 11/19/12
~Bagel Enthusiast~
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cowlord's Avatar
Holy shit this review is so spot on haha
08:27 AM on 11/19/12
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Quijiba's Avatar
This review is pretty much how I feel about it. I found myself looking at my iPhone and going WTF is this actually on the album? But then at the end of it I kind of lol'd and didn't hate it. Maybe their full length debut wont be as weird
08:38 AM on 11/19/12
henry chinaski
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Shouldn't this also have a 5% rating?
08:48 AM on 11/19/12
Viva Sonata
yas seth rollins YAS
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10:39 AM on 11/19/12
She wears hats above her ears
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HeyItsAllyssa's Avatar
It's a weird compilation of music. But I caught myself playing it a few times on the drive to work. I wouldn't mind if they got rid of the rapping though.
12:23 PM on 11/19/12
magic asian
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I kinda agree with the review, the intro is awful and the outro as a bit too indulgent and they desperately need a 2nd guitarist who can play leads, but most of the EP is enjoyable. Even with the generic core elements, it's hard to say they sound like too many other bands out there right now. Tyler is the highlight hands down.
12:50 PM on 11/19/12
Je suis l'Alpha et l'Oméga
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I kinda agree with the review, the intro is awful and the outro as a bit too indulgent and they desperately need a 2nd guitarist who can play leads, but most of the EP is enjoyable. Even with the generic core elements, it's hard to say they sound like too many other bands out there right now. Tyler is the highlight hands down.

Agree with everything said here but especially this. The guitarwork on this EP is nothing more than basic rhythm. At first I didn't like his EP but after a few listens I kind of get it and appreciate it more. I'd give it 7/10.

On a random side note, I agree with everyone that the intro is horrendous. For some reason I imagine a scene of them performing live and that intro is first and that one member who doesn't play an insrument is just sitting on the side with a conducter's baton while the other members just kind of bob their heads timidly.
12:53 PM on 11/19/12
Steve Alcala
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Only real good thing about this is the immaculate production. Crummetts's tones switch up nicely with the music, no matter how awkward that was. When it's hip hop style, the production suits it perfectly. When it's metalcore, the same could be said. That kick/snare combo sounds incredible and the guitars are nice and warm. Not to mention none of the vocals sound overly processed.

Hats off to Kris.

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