It seems that groove metal is on its way back into the limelight, having been obscured by styles like nu metal, metalcore, and sludge metal which also emphasized groove but in a different manner. Certain progressive bands like Symphony X and Zero Illusions have made the groove an integral part of their styles, while a band like Adrenaline Mob is all out groove metal. So is Diretone's eponymous debut album.
Actually, all ten tunes on the album evolve around incredibly solid groovy guitar riffs, many of which are also crushingly heavy, and the tracks are generally kept at groove, and mosh 'n' headbanging friendly - midtempo and heavy paces, with a couple of uptempo sections, too. This is a deliberate choice by the band, who - despite being technically very accomplished and skilled musicians - have decided to sacrifice technicality in the name of groove and accessibility. Interestingly, they remind me of another band who made use of groove, but who were also technically and progressively oriented - namely, the mighty Invocator - and in a way, Diretone might be compared to a less technical, more groovy Invocator.
Diretone wear their influences on their sleeves, and the inspiration from Pantera, Machine Head, Invocator, and Metallica - and, to some extent, Megadeth - and they never tried to hide that fact, which I respect them for immensely; besides, if you play groove metal, these bands are not the worst bands you can be inspired by, eh? The only thing that I think is perhaps a bit too much is the vocals, which sound almost identical to James Hetfield at times, and I think that, while the vocals ar not bad or anything, I would hav epreferred a more original and distinct style of singing.
In general, the musicianship level is very high, and especially the guitar work is impressive. The rhythm guitars are rock solid and as precise as a clockwork, while the guitar solos are technically impressive but still full of rock 'n' roll feel and soul. This album should definitely be ear candy for guitar fans.
Diretone are perhaps not quite at the top yet, but this album shows a lot of promise and, if they play their cars right and keep developing their music (the last track 'Road' combines groove and elements from melodeath, and I think that this could perhaps be something to explore more for the band), they could become one of the leading acts of the New Wave of International Groove Metal. Diretone's Diretone is massively groovy and full of crushing riffs - recommended to fans of quality groove metal.
3. It Never Ends
5. Drawn to Life
6. Got to Believe
7. While You Forget
8. Eyes Wide Shut