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Saint Diablo – ‘Saint Diablo’

Artwork for 'Saint Diablo' by Saint DiabloWhen you think of Latino thrash, your thoughts inevitably stray in the direction of underground forces such as Brujeira and Suicidal Tendencies as well as giants of the scene such as Sepultura and Soulfly. And, certainly, there are parts of this third album from the Virginian combo which are more reminiscent of the former two acts, as well as brief touches of Max Cavalera’s current combo.

Overall, Saint Diablo’s sound leans more toward taking its influence from Floridian DM exponents such as Death, Morbid Angel and Obituary than the Bay Area, but also possesses a lighter, almost nu-metal touch, which, in places, leads to some confusion for the listener.

Opener ‘1,000,000 Miles Away’, for example, starts out very much in traditional thrash vein, especially in its instrumental section, but the verses and overall vocal delivery veer much into System Of A Down territory, while follow-up ‘Artistic Prostitutes’ starts of very much in a faux Beastie Boys meets Sum 41 mode, with the rhythm section of Brian Bush and Jeff Randall keeping it very much bordering on thrash while vocalist Tito Quinones delivers his vocal just enough contempt for his subject matter to prevent him straying too far onto Fred Durst’s patch.

But, then, that’s the thing about Latino acts… they have never been afraid to experiment, keeping their Hispanic roots closely interwoven into their slightly left field approach to the metal, and so it is that ‘Need Me’ has a sort of funky Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe to it, while ‘Nothing Left To See’ is a slightly heavier almost carbon copy of its predecessor, but with a more aggressive edge and a Trujillo-esque funky bass whump to it.

The inclusion of two versions of ‘Watch Me Kill’ – a Spanish one and an English one – may seem somewhat superfluous, but I suppose it’s about appealing to all audiences while staying true to your roots, and the former version is the more effective, by virtue of coming across angrier and with more honesty in its vocal delivery. When they stick to pure(-ish) thrash, such as on ‘PG’ (even then Randall manages to sneak in some very jazzy bass runs), ‘Smiley Face On The Rocks’ and, indeed, ‘Watch Me Kill’, they do it well, but there’s perhaps just a bit too much crossing of genre boundaries to satisfy the purist and a more than enough inconsistency to leave even someone a bit broader minded with the taste of disappointment.

I wanted so much to like this more than I did, but I’ve ended up sitting on the fence with a 5/10.

Track listing:
1. 1,000,000 Miles Away
2. Artistic Prostitutes
3. Blood On The Bathroom Floor
4. Lonely
5. Need Me
6. Nothing Left
7. PG
8. SCC
9. Smiley Face On The Rocks
10. Watch Me Kill (Spanish version)
11. Watch Me Kill (English version)

‘Saint Diablo’ is out now on Eclipse Records.
You can see the video to ‘Watch Me Kill’ at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPemVHNtSdc
www.saintdiablo.org

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff
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