Scottish band Terra Diablo's accurately self-titled debut [Nocturnal Records] is a portrait of a band who don't quite have themselves figured out yet. The talent is there, but first, the band must clean up their writing, their production, and most importantly, decide on some kind of direction. The lyrics are cool and paranoid, but are barely audible over the instruments that all seem to blend into each other-- a problem that is unfortunately consistent on the album. Each song uses fast, regular rhythm guitars designed to crush the listener into submission at least once, usually during the chorus, and even when they aren't being heavy, the band still doesn't vary the tempo much.
Somehow, despite the album’s prevalent repetition, it's clear that Terra Diablo really doesn't know what genre they want to be in. Bringing in the disc with a chorus of phone samples on the intro to “Satellites,” at first they give the impression of a progressive act. Next, they collapse into a muddy metal riff. “Distraction” manages to sound like a Staind knock off without the angsty guitar work, while “Control” feels like little pieces of Midnight Oil blended with boring metal. If it were well done, this would be a nice, varied fusion piece, but it's not: the band doesn't do any of the things it touches on right. Many of the songs feel like they could benefit from some better mixing, as well. The sound needs more space, and each section must make more of an impression on the listener. Somehow, you can go right from a heavy chorus to what is supposed to be an introspective, clean verse and not notice the difference.
Terra Diablo haven’t reached terra firma just yet. Maybe in a few years, they'll find their foothold. For now, though, just give Terra Diablo a miss.