One minute into “Hard Style 2”, the opening track on Nashville band Diarrhea Planet’s latest album, Turn To Gold, the pleasant, dreamily ambient sounds and indistinct speaking voice that slowly introduced the song are eclipsed by a patriotic rat-a-tat snare paired with a triumphant lead guitar. Shortly thereafter, a second lead guitar and bass join the melody, and then a third lead guitar, and finally a fourth lead guitar. The three-and-a-half-minute opening number builds cinematically until the listener can’t help but envision six scrappy young men stepping out of a mysterious fog armed with their instruments, walking proudly down a long hall as a camera slowly pans over their determined faces. “Hard Style 2” is an introductory song only a band made up of four ax-slinging heavies could pull off both on record and live.
On Turn To Gold, Diarrhea Planet’s third full-length release, the sextet pulls out all the stops, making good on any wish a hardcore heavy metal guitar lover could possibly want and expect to hear within the eleven songs collected herein. And let’s be real for a moment, with a band of four guys incessantly shredding, there’s no excuse not to bring the heat in every possible combination. You want super-fast fretboard fingering? Try “Announcement” and “Life Pass”. You want clever, melodious interplay? “Let It Out”, “Dune” and “Ruby Red” have you covered. If you’re craving crunchy power chords, look no further than “Bob Dylan’s Grandma”. You say you want to slow things down a bit without losing the heaviness? Give “Lie Down” a shot. Do you need a quick and dirty shout-along with a scorching solo smack dab in the middle? I got “Ain’t A Sin To Win” right here. Even the album’s eight minute closer, “Headband”, manages to cover drill-strumming in the song’s first half, morphing into a slightly dissonant middle before finally transforming into a power ballad solo.
The voices of Jordan Smith and Emmett Miller are never exceptionally amazing, but their singing is appropriately enthusiastic for the optimistic lyrics and energetic garage rock that is Diarrhea Planet’s stock-in-trade. All the guitar work on Turn To Gold is stellar, and the songs all sound distinctly different from one another, but the album comes up short on the catchy choruses and hooks that would encourage fervent repeated listens. While Turn To Gold is an overall enjoyable album with plenty of face-melting guitar parts and eager vocals, it may not be enough for listeners who are seeking memorable choruses and interesting hooks to want to take this particular ride more than once.