Diamond Rexx

The Evil

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Diamond Rexx's reunion was among the more unlikely reunions of the early 2000s -- after all, '80s-style hair bands went out of vogue when Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and their grunge colleagues exploded commercially in 1992 and 1993. Plus, Diamond Rexx was never a huge name in heavy metal/hard rock; the Chicago band only had a small following. So how great would the demand for new albums be? Despite all that, the Windy City headbangers are surprisingly inspired on their post-reunion CD The Evil, which unites lead singer/head honcho Nasti Habits with newcomers S.S. (guitar), Tommy Hanus (bass), and Billy Nychay (drums). This 2002 release isn't outstanding, but it's decent -- and the disc isn't nearly as '80s-sounding as some might expect. While Alice Cooper remains an influence, Rexx updates their sound and makes a lot of alternative metal moves. Instead of sounding like a tribute to '80s hair bands, The Evil often gives the impression that Habits has been listening to a lot of Pantera, Soundgarden, and post-'80s Metallica. Habits doesn't sound like he has forgotten about the '80s altogether; "Rainy Daze," for example, is a power ballad that wouldn't have been out of place on a Whitesnake or Bon Jovi album back in 1985. But more often than not, Diamond Rexx manages to avoid sounding dated. Between the two producers (who include Gary Loizzo and former Red Light Records president Mark Nawara) and the new lineup, Habits usually sends out a message that he isn't stuck in the past. Some die-hard hair band enthusiasts will no doubt yearn for the old Diamond Rexx; however, those who are open to more modern alterna-metal will find The Evil to be a generally satisfying, if imperfect, outing.

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