Diamond Rexx

Easier to Liew Diamond Rexx- Land of the Damned (Crush Music) 1986

1.   Land of the Damned (3:13)
2.   All I Need (3:07)
3.   Cuz I Wancha (3:13)
4.   Wish I Was Rich (3:47
5.   Don't Start Without Me (4:01)
6.   Up and Down (3:10)
7.   Rock Gun (4:02)
8.   B.A.T.S. (4:41)
9.   Kick in Your Face (3:31)
10. Life and Death (3:18)

Back in the late-1980's I was digging through a box of records in a store in Princeton, NJ and happened across this curious looking album by Diamond Rexx. Though I hadn't heard the band before, the cover art and the band photo seemed to indicate that this was an album I would dig. The band looked like early Mötley Crüe mixed with Alice Cooper; sort of a glam gone bad approach of leather, bad make-up and long hair. How could you go wrong with band members named, Nasti Habits, S. St. Lust, Andre, and Johnny Cottone? I purchased the vinyl and took it home with me. I remember liking this record quite a bit back then, and remember them sounding a bit like early Mötley Crüe. However, it has been decades since I have heard "Land of the Damned" as that LP was liquidated in 1990 with the rest of my collection.

"Land of the Damned" is the debut album from Diamond Rexx and is predictable American heavy metal/glam metal. Listening again for the first time in a few decades, the Crüe comparison I had in my mind is fairly accurate, though Diamond Rexx would most definitely be a poor-mans Crüe. The band takes the simplistic approach of American heavy metal with distorted guitar riffs, pounding drums and quirky lyrics. The band will certainly rattle the rafters of any club they are performing at, but there is also something lacking on this collection of song. The majority of "Land of the Damned" plods along without the memorable hooks that a band like Mötley Crüe had. As well, the vocals tends towards expressionless and are sometimes flat. Vocalist Nasti Habits goes for the rough and tough Alice Cooper sound and never really breaking into the high-octane, glass-shattering glam sound. To make things worse the production is poor. Of course, no one cared that much about production in the 80's. It was as more-so about attitude and songs than it was pristine recordings. However, whereas an album like "Too Fast For Love" erred on the side of raw and biting, "Land of the Damned" lacks that raw sound and is instead thin and flat. Some of this may be chalked up to mastering, or lack thereof.

Still, despite these criticisms, there is still something very enjoyable about this disc. Perhaps it's nostalgia or the theatrical and camp feel of the whole thing. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I found myself cranking up this 2007 re-issue in my car and losing myself in the sound. I also thought to myself that these guys must have been a blast to see live back in the day. If heavy metal was attitude over all else, then Rexx would have been huge.

"Land of the Damned" was originally released by Island Records in 1986, and finally reissued on CD in 2007 by Crash Music Inc. The re-issue contains a single page insert with the original cover art. The are no additional liner notes and only the one band promo photo

Rated ReXX Diamond Rexx - Rated ReXX (Crash) 1990

1. Instant Medication (3:50)
2. Ladies Night (3:55)
3. Easy Kill (3:39)
4. How do you Know (3:27)
5. Heartbreak City (3:22)
6. Don't Let it Get you Down (2:35)
7. Four Letter Word (3:35)
8. The Color Red (4:20)
9. Guillotine (3:22)
10. Lock it up (4:37)
11. Sleaze Patrol (3:07)
12. Bad Attitude (2:33)
13. Sick (3:11)
14. American Band (3:12)

By 1989 S. St. Lust and Andre had left Diamond Rex. Lust opted to join D'Molls, going by the name S.S. Priest. Vocalist and band leader Nasti Habits undaunted by the changes in members forged ahead with guitarist Johnny L. Angel and bassist Chrissy Salem for the follow-up album "Rated Rexx". Shortly after the album was recorded, Johnny Cottone also left the band, later appearing in Eric Steel. However in true Spinal Tap fashion, by the time the band was ready to tour for the album, Lust returned to the band and they added drummer Billy Nychay.

"Rated Rexx" was originally released on Red Light Records in early 1990 and wasn't issued again on CD until 2002 by Crash Music. Led by the sinister sneer of Nasti Habits, Diamond Rexx's second full-length album is a bit heavier than their debut. The music comes off as a combination of early Motley Crue mixed with W.A.S.P. and perhaps touch of the punk influence of Hanoi Rocks. Habit's gnarly vocals are still very Alice Cooper-ish. The songwriting has improved since the debut as well, with more immediate hooks. A song like "Instant Medication" is immediately like-able head banging fodder. "Ladies Night" would likely light up any night club. "4 Letter Word" and "Sleaze Patrol" sound like they could have been written for one of the early L.A. Guns or Faster Pussycat albums. Both songs have a nice groove, simple sing-along hooks and sleazy lyrics.

The 2002 CD re-issue also includes two bonus tracks of newly recorded material. The two new songs have a far more modern production and are much louder on the CD as well. However, despite the more modern production, "Sick" isn't all that dissimilar from the songs recorded for "Rated ReXX". "American Band" is cover of Grand Funk's classic anthem "We're an American Band". The 2002 also sports new cover art.

Golden Gates Diamond Rexx - Golden Gates (Red Light) 1991

1.  Cold and Sorry (3:08)
2.  Crazy From Love (2:29)
3.  Golden Gates (3:49)
4.  Put 'em On Ice (4:13)
5.  Lady in my Pocket (4:02)
6.  Cat House (2:46)

"Golden Gates" was Diamond Rexx's third release and their last as the original run of the band. Chicago's Diamond Rex were and over-the-top glam metal band whose sound was always straight out of the clubs. This may have been the band's fault, as they never managed to get that "big band" sound. However, those who enjoy their rock and roll loud and raw, and aren't concerned with studio sheen and ultra-poppy songs, will like Diamond Rexx. Songs like "Crazy from Love" have a nasty rock and roll swagger, while album closer "Cat House" is raw, pumping rocker. "Golden Gates" has a bit of a punk edge to it while "Lady in My Pocket" sounds more like classic 70's glam, than anything from the 80's. Vocalist Nasti Habits sounding as nasty as he ever has and recalls Alice Cooper at times.

"Golden Gates" is a short EP, clocking in at around twenty minutes, and closes out a chapter in the band's history. The musically depressed 1990's proved to be unwelcoming to Diamond Rexx's style of glam rock, so the band split, reemerging in 2001 with "Rexx Erected". However, the band never looked and sounded the  same again.

The Evil Diamond Rexx - The Evil (Crash Music) 2002

1.   Someone (3:27)
2.   In Your Face (3:26)
3.   Hate (2:27)
4.   Hypnotized (3:05)
5.   Preacher (2:48)
6.   The Evil (3:25)
7.   Help Me (4:23)
8.   Stop At Nothing (4:11)
9.   Rainy Daze (5:26)
10. Sick (3:09)
11. Ace Of Spades (3:21)

In doing some research on this Chicago band, it appears that the band split in the 1990's due to the changing musical climate in which the dirty glam rock they were playing wasn't in vogue. The "Golden Gates" EP was their last release before their split. In 2001 the band reformed, albeit with some member changes and took a shot at recording new material with "Rexx Erected". This followed up quickly with "The Evil" is 2002.

With "The Evil", vocalist Nasti Habits and crew resurrect their sleazy 80's sound and attitude, only they leave the hairspray and make-up behind. Some have accused the band of going grunge or nu-metal. Neither are the case really. What Diamond Rexx have done is updated their sound and production. The guitars have been downtuned and have a similar tone to Pantera, but there is no rapping, no turntables, and Nasti Habits is hardly yarling like some pseudo-emotional grunge singer. So, no, "The Evil" is not "nu" and it's not "grunge". However the sound is decidedly darker, purposely unpolished and heavier, due mostly to the updated production and down-tuned guitars. Tracks like "Preacher" and "Hypnotized" have a Pantera vibe to the guitar work. However, for the most part the songwriting still sounds like Diamond Rexx. Production aside, the title track and the moody blues based "Rainy Daze" could just as easily have fit on "Land of the Damned". "Hate" is a short song with a punk vibe with Nasti sounding as nasty as ever. "Ace of Spades" is a cover of the Motorhead classic. Diamond Rexx slow down the tempo a bit from the original and somehow make the song sound raunchier, if that be possible.

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