Australia may be well known for its warm temperatures, indigenous culture and an extensive collection of deadly animals, but it is also famed for producing some of the greatest rock artists known to mankind. And as we slide into the present day blues rock genre, the Brisbane-founded Transvaal Diamond Syndicate is sure to turn heads and make the list of Australian greatness. Their mini-album entitled Sins Of The Blessed comprises of seven rip-roaring tunes that fuse elemental blues with hard rock and not forgetting a very voluptuous saxophone!
The album is immediately ignited by a boot-stamping beat and rhythm from the signature track “Devil On My Shoulder.” The guitar is dirty with a hint of slide and provides a smouldering lead on which the bold vocals follow and intertwine with. It seems to be premise on which the album is built on. The second track “I’m Your Ticket” has already been labelled as the band’s stoner-anthem, dialing down the tempo and notching up the distortion. As with most of the album, the lyrics to the song tell a rather rebellious and sordid tale, tapping into that recognizable essence of blues anguish.
“Blackwater” is a track that slightly shifts away from the generic foot-stomp feel of the other tunes. It still has that bare overdriven guitar, but playing a more toned down ballad-like riff. The burst of saxophone following the first chorus is not expected; nonetheless it adds another dimension to the band’s forte. The sax is given room to perform and lets loose with a rollicking solo, which is pleasing to the ears. Another track of particular note has to be “Mojo.” It is a wondrous showcase of exactly what this band can produce; blending all instrumental abilities they have to offer.
The album as a whole would be a fantastic listen for any blues rock fan, however it seems to lack that one unique song that raises the level to meet the present blues rock nobility. As Transvaal Diamond Syndicate are a relatively new band who are consistently working hard and putting in the hours, it surely will not be long before we see them rise to greater body shaking heights, definitely one to watch out for.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
- Devil On My Shoulder
- I’m Your Ticket
The Big Hit
- Devil On My Shoulder
Review by George Ward