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Two Excellent Dark Numbers - 88%

DeathRiderDoom, May 21st, 2009

Diamonds and Rust

What a phenomenal wee single form the ‘Metal Gods’ we have here. The excellent cover ‘Diamonds and Rust’ coupled with a distinctly late 70’s Priest ‘metal’ track Dissident Aggressor – with both tracks being taken from the excellent yet often overlooked ‘Sin After Sin’.

Anyway, ‘Diamonds and Rust’ is a great track I first heard in the early 2000’s on the ‘Unleashed in the East’ live album (great album). I was instantly taken with the emotive qualities of the track and for a couple of years didn’t know it was a (particularly dark) track from Joan Baez (folk artist). This track works incredibly well when delivered in the fabulous vocal talents of the ‘Metal God’ himself, Rob Halford. Of particular note is the excellent vocal harmony he does in multiple layers of his own voice during the repeated ‘Diamonds and Rust” lyric, which is very much a hallmark of Rob’s style. The song is interesting, with a haunting quality, and some somewhat dark imagery, with the lyric “I’ll be damned – here comes your ghost again” coming in after a rumbling and raw Tipton/Downing combination. I thoroughly enjoy what qualities Tipton/Downing bring to the song, compared with the (obviously far weaker) original. They spruce it up with some typically great guitar licks in their trademark twin guitar approach. Anyway a great, dark interpretation of an already haunting number written by Baez, which was the title track of her 1975 album.

‘Dissident Aggressor’ satisfies the metal purist with damn heavy power metal-ish attack. In the typically dark style of this era of Priest, a drawn out intro builds tension before an all-out assault begins with multiple layers of that typically high Halford scream. The most memorable feature for me are the excellent and incredibly ‘heavy’ lyrics in the chorus, and its phenomenal delivery by the man himself. ‘Stab, Bawl, Punch, Bawl!” are delivered with a f**king intensity that is seldom matched (especially contemporary to this single). The guitar lead section is impressive in that usual sense with priest, and works well with the dark nature of the song, without being their hallmark solo section.

A f**king solid 2 songs on this classic 70’s Priest era release, hinting at what’s on offer on their phenomenal album ‘Sin After Sin’. Two well-chosen songs; your typical softer/harder dichotomy being followed, yet with both songs having that darkness typical of Priest from this era. This one would be a great investment, because both songs have considerable amounts of staying power furthered by their epic, haunting qualities. ‘Diamonds and Rust’ is a Priest fan favourite – at least where I come from, being rocked out-to regularly at parties and the like. Great release!