Issues – Black Diamonds EP (2012)

Months in the making, line-up changes, and tons of re-written songs, but finally, after a long wait, Issues has dropped their Black Diamonds EP. One of Rise Records most anticipated releases is finally out to the public and, I hate to say it, it’s a goddamn catchy one. The band hails from Atlanta, Georgia and has some familiar faces, including Michael Bohn and Tyler Carter (ex-Woe, is Me) on vocals with the new faces of AJ Rebollo on guitar and programming as well as Case Snedecor on drums and Jake Vintson on bass.

Now before the riot starts, no, this EP isn’t what you were originally expecting after the single “King of Amarillo” was released. This is not a  “rivalry” CD against Woe, is Me this is a six-track EP of amazingly original material, and I was completely blown away by the writing.

This EP covers the entire spectrum of music. It has bouncy riffs that will make mosh pits explode (trust me, I saw it live, it was good), sultry vocals that will make girls around the world drop their panties in a second, and lyrics that hit home in multiple tracks.

The intro starts the CD off by setting up this almost party scene like scenario up for the listeners. Especially with the programmed vocals talking about having “Cash on deck. Swerved out black diamonds.” (Whatever that means, it was still awesome).

“King of Amarillo” is a punch to the face with the dissonant pull off riff right out of the gate. Sure, you can go ahead and say this is referring to the feud of a certain ex-band, but I can honestly think after the first verse, the song is calling out the entire music scene on their mistakes. 

“The Worst of Them” and “Princeton Ave.” are definitely more of the home-hitting songs and some of the catchiest hooks and melodies I have heard from Tyler. The topic of “Princeton Ave.” is something I can tell is more of a private subject to some of the listeners, but it makes for an amazing story and song.

“Love, Sex, Riot” has to be my favorite track on the EP. From the huge old-school nu-metal influence to the opening riff and the punchy vocal line from Fronz of Attila, it’s definitely a song I would catch myself repeatedly singing on my day-to-day routine.

“Her Monologue” is another song you can tell Tyler took some extra time to really lay in those sultry/bluesy vocals. The ending is quite the surprise, but a pleasant surprise (make sure to stick around for the whole thing.)

Overall, the EP is quite the change of pace for me, but it was a great listen nonetheless and will be on repeat for awhile. My only gripe with this EP was the lack of prominent guitar leads in the song over some of the breakdowns or verse riffs, but the synthesizer work and piano interludes definitely make up for that fact.Be sure to check out the release on Rise Records and catch them on their next tour.

By Chano Islas ~ Me Gusta Reviews