Founders of the project, Igor Manasijevič and Nejc Vidmar began composing together in 2005. They started composing very seriously. Searching for the rest of the line-up seemed like a mission impossible, but they started recording the songs, so their time was well spent. They started recording the songs with hired musicians such as Žanil Tataj – Žak (Mary Rose, ex-Divlje Jagode), Robert Kovačič (Scaffold, Belphegor), Simon Jovanovič (ex-Prospect) and others. They took all the time needed for quality recording, because they didn’t want to leave anything to coincidence. During this long process of finding other members of the band, they even found some, but those have left the bend soon afterwards, because they didn’t want to be in a band professionaly.
Reality is such, that the band is still not completed and is still forming. They started recording and mastering the songs all by themselves, but unsatisfied with the results, they started working with Simon Jovanovič (Studio Evolucija), who produced and mixed their songs.
“Last Man Standing” was completed in Finnvox studios, with Mika Jussila in the leading role.
It is quickly notable, that they have created amazing sound and achieved a lot, considering they come from Slovenia. I know very few to none bands coming from there.
It’s a fusion of classic metal sound, that reminds me of some very good rock songs, which sound a bit dark and are strongly reminding me of defunct band Chimaera.
“Last Man Standing” was released on 7th of march by On Parole Productions.
Genre: traditional heavy metal
With a start in 2005, guitarists Igor Manasijevic and Nejc Vidmar set about the arduous task of finding like-minded musicians in their native Slovenia to complete their heavy metal band Black Diamond. Taking quite a few years, the quintet (filled out with bassist Urban Medic, drummer Robert Kovacic, and vocalist Zanil Tataj Zak) finally entered a studio to record this debut 10 song album, the 65 minute “Last Man Standing”.
Much of Black Diamond’s sound is rich with classic, traditional influences, along with a slightly longer arrangement propensity, as 6 of the 10 tracks eclipse the 6 minute mark. You’ll get some of their cultural texture in the clean sections of “Hold Me Tonight”- a pure power ballad where Zanil stretches out some of the verses with dramatic pauses or in key note fluttering. Their name sake “Black Diamond” contains a few progressive textures, especially in the time signature juggling from Urban and Robert- while the guitar fluidity and riffing reminds me of classic Iron Maiden and self-titled album era Metallica. When the band go for a more compact arrangement like “The Edge of Sanity”- you get the feeling that the quintet dig for the balance between impressive guitar leads and this darker, mysterious texture to their chord choices- evoking feelings of Savatage meets Annihilator.
I do believe in the long run Black Diamond need to cut off some of the excessive instrumental sections to their songs- less is more in the traditional, classic metal world. Zanil will remind a lot of people of Bruce Dickinson in many parts, and overall this band really takes their influences and uses them as a springboard to create their own fresh sound. I’m going to be watching this act’s progress over the coming years.
One of the first things I noticed when listening to the album, was that the albums artwork did not represent the style of music these Slovenians play. The cover will make you think you’re about to listen to a thrashmetal-oriented band, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Most of the songs on their album can be categorised as hard- and progressive rock, are mid-tempo, and bursting with melodic vocals. The powerful vocals of Žanil Tataj Žak are absolutely a plus for this album. Drummer Robert Kovačič is no stranger either as he used to be employed by Belphegor.
If you’re a lover of bombasticly composed songs with an average duration of 7 minutes, you will appreciate listening to this album, as you may also very well want to add it to your collection.
With ‘Last Man Standing’, Black Diamond has carefully tread the path to create a sound of their own. Production of the album is top notch, and I have found a band that I have not been able to fault for the work they’ve done in terms of compositions as well. This is an A-star album!
The beginnings of a slovenian band Black Diamond go back in 2005, when guitarists Igor Manasijevič and Nejc Vidmar started playing together. With one goal – to make high profile heavy metal with their own elements, which would bring the freshness to the sound.
They’ve started to look for other members and have found some in their local environment, but those left them soon, because they couldn’t cope the high goals and standards Black Diamond set for themselves. Therefore Igor and Nejc had to look for new musicians in a wider area.
Today, besides of the two of them, the band consists of Žanil Tataj Žak (Divlje jagode, Mary Rose) who’s one of the best singers in the area, Robert Kovačič, who’s played with Belphegor and Urban Medič from a progressive metal band Prospect. Last Man Standing is the first Black Diamond’s album and it was recorded in Studio Evolucija with help of producer Simon Jovanovič. They state that there’s nothing left to coincidence with them, so they’ve recorded this album as many times as there was needed for them to be completely satisfied with the result. And that’s what lasted for long eight years.
Beside being recorded, album was also produced and mixed in Studio Evolucija, but mastering was done by well known Finn Mika Jussila at Finnvox. Last man standing presents heavy metal as it should be, played from the heart, with dynamic and organic sound. Even if they often sound like Iron Maiden, Žak’s vocal has its own, characteristical, powerful colour with very wide range. He comes to amazing performance and similarities with Bruce Dickinson mostly in the choruses of the songs.
Album is dominated by a bit longer songs. Six of ten songs are longer than 6 minutes, and characteristics of most of the songs are also intro instrumentrals, like in the first “Opus 91-96″ or “The Edge Of Sanity”. Even though their length, the songs are well arranged and aren’t boring. Just the contrary, they keep the interest of a listener with constant changes of rhytm and tempo. Lyrically, the songs are focusing on the everyday stories, wars and dreamings, with brutally realistic and sad stories.
Starting song, “Opus 91-96″ is an anti-war, anthemic song that begins with a bit dark melody, but soon grow into a mid tempo melodies, which are changing all the time. “The Edge Of Sanity” shows us a good balance between lead guitars and a bit darker notes. “Dreams Of Tomorrow” is one of the longest songs and is meeting progressive genre. It’s defined by constant tempo and rhytm changes, and layered vocals which vary from the low at the beginning, to high at multi-part choruses. “Hold Me Tonight” is a clean, sensitive ballad, which consists of beautiful clean sections and is fundamentally in the style of Maiden. It can be counted as one of the best songs on the album besides “Dreams Of Tomorrow” and “Black Diamond”.
“Black Diamond” includes some progressive elements and is telling the story of impoverished person, prisoned in a time of present day dictature, who is having a dialogue with his son. The only song sang in Slovene is “Lažne Zvezde”, which is singing about the hypocrisy between friends. It consists of some very good guitar riffs and acoustic guitar parts with rich vocals.
Last song of the album, “Tears In Eyes”, is another atmospheric ballad of a dark tone and dark topic of abuse. Besides Samo Urbančič, the duel on this one is fulfilled by Sandra Tomovič.
The positive side of Black Diamond is, that they don’t repeat typical anthemic riffs. Their songs consist of more complex, melodic riffs and are stepping a little bit outside of heavy metal and into progressive frame. This kind of a sound is nothing especially new, but even though the similarities with Iron Maiden, vocally for sure, the band takes the characteristics of this giants of metal, to use them in creating their own sound. Black Diamond shows the quality of a metal music in this and neighbouring areas and we hope that we won’t need to wait for the second album too long. Especially if it’s gonna be as good or even better than “Last Man Standing”.
The Slovenian label On Parole Productions has introduced us with great bands from their country. This time we have the Black Diamond, despite the not so original name, the band honors the style of the label producing quality Heavy Metal that will please many fans of the genre.
On the scene since 2005, “Last Man Standing” is the first album of the quintet. Their music is influenced by the best possible bands, such as Iron Maiden and Savatage. The band’s sound is intricate, has a good variety and still flirts with the Prog Metal a bit but is devoid of unnecessary juggling.
The most interesting feature of Black Diamond is the fact that the band walks a line between ‘old school’ and contemporary Metal. For example, the band shows a lot of influence coming from their roots but the compositions do not sound dated. Another fact to be emphasized is that the songs are long most of the time, although do not sound tiring. Another score for the fellas.
It is difficult to single out the best track, as the whole album has a great balance. So I will mention the great guitar riffs by the hands of Nejc Vidmar and Igor Manasljevič with the good and enjoyable vocal of Žanil Tataj. The rhytm section is led by Urban Medič (bass) and Klemen Markelj (drums).
When listening to this album one thing springs to mind – Iron Maiden. The band have an obvious love of Eddie and pay homage to Britain’s finest throughout the album. Where ‘homage’ becomes ‘plagiarism’ is debatable but I think Black Diamond inject just enough of their own individual style into the tracks to make it acceptable.
Formed in Slovenia in 2005 the guitar duo of Igor Manasijevic and Nejc Madic, have written around 40 tracks, ten of which feature on the album. The pair found it hard to recruit band members and had to hire in musicians to complete the recording.
The results though give the impression that the band were a solid, well rehearsed unit rather than hired session men which is mainly due to Igor and Nejc’ s eye for detail and need for perfection.
One thing that impresses is the high calibre of the songwriting on the album. The tracks are all well formed and contain great melodies and harmonies. A good example of this is ‘Power Of Mind’ which actually starts sounding more like Metallica before morphing into another Maidenesque romp.
One criticism that could be levelled at the band is that some tracks tend to be overly long. No song is less than 5 minutes with most pushing the 6 or 7 minute mark. A little trimming in some areas would have provided punchier and more accessible tracks which may have made more commercial sense.
Overall, this is a good album which contains some great music. I think that it is not individual enough to get the band established in their own right and that the lack of a short punchy lead track will exclude it from rock radio airplay. There is future potential though. ***1/2
The debut album from yet another talented new band on the scene, this Slovenian five-piece has actually been around since 2005 before finally releasing their debut album. Ten tracks of traditional metal with a bit of a power infusion in them, Black Diamond show a definite side of maturity for a debut album.
Opus 91-96, Edge Of Sanity and Power Of Mind are at the forefront of the album and therefore they are the first impressions that the listener soaks in. I must say that musically the band is pretty tight, Opus 91-96 and Power Of Mind are particularly strong and Edge Of Sanity has very good moments in there as well. Of the three I would say Power Of Mind is the most consistent and is one of those tracks that will stay with you long after you are done listening to the album. Dreams Of Tomorrow clocks in at almost eight minutes, but despite it’s size, it doesn’t drag down and is a very good number. The first half of the CD concludes with a ballad in Hold Me Tonight that unfortunately to my ears sounds a bit awkward, not one of my favorite tunes.
The second half starts out with their self-titled “theme” song so to speak, and it is also a very solid track. The Thing That Couldn’t Die has a haunting beginning and slowly builds throughout the track, and shows some of the most energy and intensity you will find on the album. It must be said that the guitar work on this track has a definite Iron Maiden gallop to the feel! Lazne Zvezde is a puzzler for me. It is an epic track at nearly nine minutes, but it is in a foreign language which leaves me feeling a bit lost, though musically it’s not bad. If I knew the meaning, I would probably be able to appreciate it better though. I will just leave that one up for the individual listener to decide upon. Tears In Eyes is an interesting spooky type of ballad which is both a nice change of pace and a stellar piece of songwriting. Mastermind ends things out nicely.
I would say overall, this CD was definitely worth the wait for me (I had tried to track it down for a couple of months before it finally got in my hands). I would say my biggest concern is that the songs are a bit on the long side and that could potentially turn off some listeners. Other than that, a very solid effort and a nice addition to the already impressive selection of music this year!!
m/ 7 m/
Original link: http://www.truemetallives.com/reviews.html
BLACK DIAMOND arriving in Postojna – 11 April 2015 we will play at the Club Jazzy !!!
If you are afraid of loud, energetic heavy metal, such as this should be – full of toxic riffs, heavy drums, thundering bass and killer vocals, then one day prefer to stay at home and watch TV Golico … If you’re not afraid then invite your friends to presentation of our songs from debut album Last Man Standing and single Endless Road. We will have party late into the night!
Žanil Tataj – Žak vocals
Igor Manasijević guitar
Nejc Vidmar guitar
Primoz Pavlin on Bass guitar
Marko Soršak – Soki on drums
Admission: € 5
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