Review by Jeff Maki
In case anyone has yet to notice, Italy’s Frontiers Records has made a specialty—and perhaps its reason for existence—of resurrecting just about every ’80s hair metal band. The label recently released live or studio albums from the likes of Dokken, L.A. Guns, Kip Winger, TNT and Mr. Big. Now, the label is reaching into the second wave of hair and glam bands, recently signing Jetboy and releasing a new studio album from Enuff Z’Nuff. I have a feeling there’s lots more to come.
This isn’t all necessarily bad. Hair Nation on SiriusXM is a fun station to relive the subgenre’s glory days and realize just how different music has become in the generation of millennials. I enjoyed the new L.A. Guns live album, “Made in Milan” (read review), and there’s never anything wrong with a release from Dokken. But “Diamond Boy” from Enuff ‘Z Nuff is a just plain terrible album. It was a struggle to get through its 11 tracks—I don’t think I’ve regretted listening to any rock or metal album in recent memory until this.
I don’t know a lot about the band and maybe that’s part of the issue, yet I wouldn’t question my credibility because I remember when it first came out and seeing its videos on MTV, namely the hit “Fly High Michelle.” The band now appears to only have one of its original members, centered around bassist/vocalist Chip Z’nuff. I don’t think Enuff Z’nuff ever claimed or tried to be a true heavy metal band with its brand of peace and love glam rock, but “Diamond Boy” is so embarrassingly soft by any “rock” band’s standards, it easily could be mistaken as an album from Nelson. But what I found most shocking is that after its initial success on MTV and rock radio, then its quick fade into obscurity, Enuff Z’Nuff somehow went on to release 12 more studio albums before “Diamond Boy.” Who knew? And why?
We’ll start with the worst of the worst: The resemblance of “We’re All the Same” to a Weezer song is uncanny, with its driving, poppy rhythm and Rivers Cuomo vocal harmony, while “Fire & Ice” follows suit while taking more from Oasis (yuck, Weezer is one thing, but I can’t believe I just typed the name “Oasis” on this site). Then you’ve got some Beatles/Cheap Trick-type-stuff in songs like “Faith, Hope, Love,” “Imaginary Man” and “Love is on the Line,” which if this hadn’t been recorded and reproduced countless times, it might be worth a listen, but in this case is not.
The only songs that have any potential are the title track, which plays like a Van Halen C-Side, and “Metalheart.” But as it turns out, “Metalheart” is not a metal song as the title might suggest; the title refers to a woman who’s hard to deal with (I’ve just never heard this as the term before).
Midway through, I had just about enuff of this album. I get that the label is banking more on the name and nostalgia with the release of “Diamond Boy,” but when the music is so uninspiring and painful to listen to, one has to question it even being released, despite the history of a band.
August 10, 2018