The moment “You Betray” kicks Black Diamonds – the latest from ’80s hard rockers L.A. Guns – into high gear, it’s apparent the guys have still got plenty left in them, and more than plenty to prove here.
Said intro track instantly brought me back to another album opener, “Face Down” from the band’s 1994 Vicious Cycle record (which ironically was my “true” introduction to the band all those years ago). This is followed up with “Wrong About You,” which features mammoth lead-off guitar riffs from Tracii Guns and Ace Von Johnson that seem primed for cruising the strip on a Saturday night.
“Diamonds” shows the band’s abilities to still maintain a softer side, while “Shattered Glass,” “Gonna Lose,” and “Like a Drug” all echo respective ’70s punk and/or Led Zepplin vibes. Sure there’s some clunkers (see; “Shame”), but that’s to be expected. Overall, this is worthy of putting alongside any of the band’s classic material; shame indeed it will likely fall under the radar like most “new” music from its era does.
While neither the album cover, nor the name of this current project between L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns and Stryper frontman Michael Sweet really grabbed my attention at first, what the two have achieved here is no doubt sheer heavy metal greatness.
Opening track/single “Life” packed enough of a punch to convince me to check out the rest Evil and Divine, and it was soon clear that this was a well-thought out effort from start to finish, with Guns unleashing some of his heaviest Sabbath-inspired riffs, and Sweet belting out each and every track with full passion. Some more album highlights include the timely “World Gone Wrong,” the ballad “Been Said and Done,” and epic single “Better End.”
It’s apparent the folks at Frontiers no doubt know how to put together a winning combination of established musicians at this point and let them do their thing. However, it would’ve been slightly more interesting had Sunbomb been a true “supergroup” rounded out by a full band, instead of only having Guns and Sweet as the faces of the project. Regardless, this still works for everyone involved.