So I listened to “Bloodstone and Diamonds” quite a bit over the last few days. It’s a solid album.
“Now We Die” is a great way to kick off the album and a relentless tour de’force. I like the connection that it makes to “Halo” during the solo section and the slow ballad like aftermath that builds up again to an epic conclusion.
“Killers & Kings” is like an oldie but goodie by now. It has been doing the rounds for a while now. A demo version with a cover of the Ignite classic “Our Darkest Days / Bleeding” was made available for Record Store Day. I picked up all 4 Tarot Cards releases.
“Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones” will be seen as a metal CLASSIC. It’s got an Iron Maiden “Paschendale” style intro. Then it goes into a Pantera/Black Sabbath style groove. Verses are sung like the Deftones however it still has the classic “Paschendale” guitar line. It’s working title was “DokVanSchenkerSnake”. I am assuming the names mean Dokken + Van Halen + Michael Schenker + Whitesnake. I think that sums up why I like it.
“Night Of The Long Knives” makes it a one to four knockout punch combo. Can’t say I’m a fan of the Manson lyrical content, however the melodies and the music are just pure speed.
“Sail Into The Black” is another “Descend The Shades of Night”. The knockout punches keep on rolling. Especially when the distortion kicks in. The lead break is also a song within a song composition.
“Eyes Of The Dead” kicks off with a sinister “Black Sabbath” style opening. Then it kicks it up. “I am no longer alive” screams Robb. This is the track that was titled “Ojos De La Muerte”, which actually means Eyes Of The Death.
“Beneath The Silt” is down tuned and heavy as lead. I really dig this song. It’s got a sick groove and the vocals are very dreamy atmospheric like in the verses with the typical Robb Flynn aggression in the chorus.
In his Journals, Robb stated that “Beneath The Silt” reminds him of “Elegy” from “Through The Ashes Of Empires”. The song is tuned way down to F# and it has all of those Machine Head trademarks, ala- the beginning of “Ten Ton Hammer”. Then there was the whole “Beneath The Silt” journal post, which was pretty depressing and dark. However with every black cloud there is always a silver lining.
“In Comes The Flood”, Rob’s ode to “America”.
“Damage Inside” was mentioned by Robb via his General Journals. The guitar is all Dave McClain from an MP3 he recorded years ago. The band tried to re-work it a few times, but somehow it was never as cool as the very first pass that McClain did on his laptop. So in the end what we hear is that lo-res MP3, with keys and vocals added. This is the way Flynn described the vocal take in his journals;
“I woke up it was raining on the patina copper rooftops outside my window. It was a pleasant sound. A church was down the street, and on the hour the bell would toll. It’s a beautiful city and looking out every morning with a gloriously mild hangover, looking at the patina and gold rooftops, listening to the rain, it was inspiring. I needed to write the lyrics and sing on one last song on the record, a really mellow piece that Dave had written and played guitar on, and that Jordan Fish and I had worked out a keyboard arrangement on. I named this track “Damage Inside.” Our friend Biffen had booked us time the next day at a studio called Top Floor studios, and that morning I woke up, wrote the lyrics on my iPhone notes, a lot of which were what I was experiencing in Gothenburg, the first lines I wrote were:
“The bell tolls on as the rain comes down
On my face the drops they sound
I slowly melt into grey abyss
Depression and her endless kiss”…
I walked over to the studio cross the street from the hotel, and sang the vocals. I free-styled the rest of the lyrics, making it up in the booth. And somehow, after 2 nights of quality raging in Gothenburg, my voice had this perfect vodka and cigarette “rasp”, I don’t know if I could have gotten it otherwise. It was exactly how I’d envisioned it, even though I had no idea how was going to end up.”
Love the narrative more than the actual song at this moment. It just felt that it needed that extra five minutes to it, to make it complete.
That intro man brings memories of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I felt like throwing my work table outside the window the first time I heard it. Then the Chorus kicks in and it’s like a punk song. Brilliant.
From reading the journals, I wonder if this is the song that was formerly known as “Blazing Saddles” that just wasn’t working and on the 2nd to last day of rehearsals McClain and Flynn deconstructed “Blazing Saddles” into a far simpler structure. As Robb noted, “Less of a Slayer/Slipknot vibe, and more of a “Screaming For Vengeance”-era Judas Priest feel to it. Appropriately, it has now been given the working title: “Simmering Saddles”.
Or is it “Sharkbite Days Revisited”.
“Imaginal Cells” is the “Real Eyes Realise” song that Robb Flynn has been talking about. It’s a cool song musically however I would have loved to hear some vocals on this. The audio collage is of spoken word snippets by Dr. Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman, taken from their audiobook “Spontaneous Evolution”.
“Take Me Through The Fire” ends the album but it doesn’t have the same effect as the previous closers, in “Descend The Shades Of Night”, “A Farewell To Arms” and “Who We Are”.
I am still keen to find out which titles “Sharkbite Days Revisited”, Falsetto Sunrise” and “Riffnado” ended up being.
Also the final track listing should have been as follows;
Now We Die
Killers & Kings
Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones
Night Of The Long Knives
Beneath The Silt
In Comes The Flood
Sail Into The Black
It’s a killer package.