If “Broken, Bruised and Tattooed” was the sound of a band finding their feet, and “Last Orders” was the sound of a band defining their Countrycore sound, a mix of hardcore, punk, biker rock and country, then In The Detail is the result of a band comfortable with itself and musically coming of age. The original Diablo 13 was a hardcore band indulging in their love of punked out country music but as the line up has evolved and the band have bedded in the music has developed. Now, as it wanders through it’s own metaphor it manages to indulge in a whole spectrum of scuzzy, garage influences, forgotten blasts from the rock and roll underworld and sonorous deliveries. It is also the sound of cultural clashes, music borne of the M4 corridor but channelling the sound of badlands highways, roadhouse biker bars and desert truck stops on a road that terminates in hell by way of Memphis…… and possibly Slough.
If Run or Die sees them at their heaviest, the balance is maintained by Smoke Stained Ceiling, which from the title, subject and musical drive seems imbued with the spirit of Johnny Thunders heavy tripping through The Melvins back catalogue. But the heart of the e.p. is Clock Tower all solid riffs and thunderous bass-lines as hard hitting as anything from MC/DC or the AC5 or any combination of those letters. Lyrically and musically chilling, strung out, brazen, braying and barking at the moon.
Even when they fill their songs with affection they manage to punch you in the face, with Walk to You carrying all the right lyrical sentiment but still sounding like it wants to pick a fight with the listener. The swansong, Eat My Dust does what the band have always done so well and comes on like Motorhead doing redneck punk or Danzig does outlaw country, with plenty of their trademark cowbell.
It’s a set of songs that has taken the spirit of old school rock and under ground country traditions and honed them down, paraphrased and distilled them into a sonic liqueur and siphoned them through the following decades of punk, metal, grunge and hardcore before finally spitting out these seminal Countrycore creations.
The bands I find that are the most interesting to write about are not the ones that are the most technical, far reaching, experimental or genre breaking, I gain most pleasure from writing about bands that have a clear idea about their place in the rock and roll tradition, ones whose influences are worn openly, ones that are honest about their music, ones like Diablo 13.