Diary of Secrets - Back to the Start
Sleaszy Rider Records
Heavy / Power Metal
4 songs (17' 10")
Release year: 2014
Sleaszy Rider Records
Reviewed by Andy

Since we reviewed Greek heavy metal newcomers Diary of Secrets' last album, they've made some lineup changes, including swapping out their vocalist. This time, along with their new EP Back to the Start, they sent along a music video of the title track, but as a promotional tool it does them no better than some of their last album's songs did. It's a generic "see the band performing the song in the studio" music video that, sadly, matches the underwhelming mid-tempo title track perfectly. Luckily, the whole album isn't like this, and shows that though there is definitely room for a lot of improvement, there are also a few signs of promise here.

As mentioned, the title track is not a promising start. Mid-tempo, with a fairly forgettable hook and a solo that doesn't really show off guitarist Tom "Hellfinger" D's abilities, it instead showcases a gritty but annoyingly treble voice on the part of new vocalist Nick Garas. It sounds like many past mid-tempo songs churned out by older heavy metal bands in the 90s, and not in a good way. Paris is better, heavier and more intricate; though it's an instrumental, the riffing and soloing on it beats out Back to the Start easily. Then we get an acoustic ballad of a song off their last album: Stone Heart Bleeding, which surprisingly is the best track on the album, mostly due to the chorus hook and Garas' vocals. With a pile of echoing layers (or his bandmates; I couldn't tell which) stacked underneath him on the chorus, he makes an abrupt transformation from generic to haunting, with his sharp, thin voice ceasing to clash with the music and instead sounding very slightly like Midnight from the original Crimson Glory lineup. Why didn't the band pick this one to make a music video out of?

The last track is The Voice. Still better than the title track, with more of a power metal vibe, it has a great deal of soloing, and deeper, more authoritative vocals; it doesn't even sound like the same vocalist. Like many Diary of Secrets songs, the chorus is plagued by its tendency to be forgettable, but it is certainly listenable, and with a bit more effort this could have been a better and more melodic song to match the rather good guitar here.

Back to the Start, to me, feels like the band's still looking for a sound they can properly express. There are still way too many of their 80s heavy metal influences floating around in the music and not enough songwriting ability, but no one can accuse them of lacking enthusiasm, and they may be able to give listeners a surprise or two in their next LP if they can focus their currently-hit-or-miss ability to put together a tune.

Killing Songs :
Stone Heart Bleeding
Andy quoted no quote
Other albums by Diary of Secrets that we have reviewed:
Diary of Secrets - Diary of Secrets reviewed by Alex and quoted 72 / 100
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