Saint Diablo

Saint Diablo

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If you happen to enjoy nu-metal, Saint Diablo's eponymous ninth album (allegedly) may be just the kind of trip down memory lane you've been waiting for -- but don't bother reading any further. Seriously, it'll hurt. Where to begin? Well, take Saint Diablo's distinctly nu-metal-certified snare drum sound -- a tinny, toneless tap-tap used and abused by everyone from Korn to Limp Bizkit to Spineshank -- which should be gingerly excerpted from its surroundings, carefully transported in biohazard suits into a sterilized airlock, and promptly frozen in f**king Carbonite for all eternity, so that it should trouble humanity no more. Not that this will help much, since the remaining sonic ingredients (and the album's production as a whole) also obey the exact, unfortunate blueprint of heavy metal's most loathsome subgenre offshoot (give or take late-‘80s hair metal). We're talking alternately squealing or downtuned, rhythmically oriented guitars, interchangeably pathetic whining or mindless barks, and, for an occasional change-up, the odd metalcore breakdown just to muddle overdone clichés some more. It's bad enough that this musical direction has clearly done little good for Saint Diablo's consistently obscure 20-year career, but even worse that they insist on perpetrating it nearly a decade past its sell-by date, like some nightmare scenario involving a previously unknown fourteenth or fifteenth character from Slipknot. But wait, there's more: select Spanish-language tunes like "Watch Me Kill" and "Need Me" resurrect other ghosts of crappy metal past like Ill Niño and P.O.D., reminding us no language was safe from this senseless violation -- thanks a lot! If there's any upside to be found, it would be a few moments of late arrival "Lonely," which occasionally interrupts this robotic, nerve-deadening bludgeoning with brief snatches of human grooves and melody right out of the Stuck Mojo notebook -- and you know things are dire when you're finding positive comparisons in Stuck Mojo! In sum, there's no denying that there is still probably a considerable nu-metal audience out there, so if any of the recriminations above should actually sound appetizing, by all means have at it: Saint Diablo is for you. Just stamp your nu-metal membership card (the one on your forehead) at the door and happy listening.

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