Swiss hard rockers Black Diamonds are back with their fourth full-length release, Destination Paradise. Their previous studio album, No-Tell Hotel, was a great album that won the band plenty of new fans and chart success in their home country. My expectations were high when Destination Paradise landed on the Sentinel Daily desks for us to check out.

If my expectations were set high, the opening track, Through Hell and Back, certainly more than met them. It’s a high-paced blend of heavy metal guitar sound, a driving drum beat, and a rocking chorus, topped with a killer scream from vocalist Mich Kehl.

The first single, After The Rain, brings a more polished and radio-friendly hard rock feel. It is deceptively catchy, with a dramatic finish and rain effects that have an almost Guns n’Roses November Rain feel.

The involvement of guitarist Chris Blade in the songwriting has resulted in heavier guitars throughout this album compared to their previous releases. This experimentation brings versatility, and it certainly isn’t out of place. Combined with bassist Andl Barrels taking over the vocal duties on Bottoms Up and Nothing’s Gonna Keep Me From You, the album brings some heavier raw rock sounds to the table, adding depth and variety.

The second single, Only For A While, has a Mötley Crüe Home Sweet Home sound that takes me back to “the ballad part” of every eighties arena rock show, the lighters in the air (yes, once upon a time, we didn’t have mobile phones), the whole crowd swaying and singing along. Mich Kehl’s vocal performance complements the piano throughout the track, bringing a raw emotional feel to this track and keeping it from coming off as cheesy.

What I like about seeing new bands bring back the hard rock/glam sounds is that they remind you of this genre’s simple fun and joy. It is great to see new bands bring new energy; otherwise, we would just have the same late eighties CDs on repeat. Valley of the Broken Hearted, From The Ashes, and Run with Us all just hit the balance of nostalgic feel with new sounds and energy that gets you happily tapping along or playing air guitar.

While I always like an album that explores a range of sounds or feelings, Destination Paradise does stray a bit far in places. Tracks such as Everyday Heroes or Rock and Roll is My Religion try too hard to be the next “rock anthem” and come off as a bit clichéd.

The surprise of the album was the cover of Belinda Carlisle’s Leave a Light On, which features a guest appearance from Maverick lead singer David Balfour. I’ll admit that it caught me off guard when I first heard it, and I had to go back and listen to the original. At first, it seems like an odd choice, but not unlike Shiraz Lane covering Savage Garden’s To the Moon & Back, it is well executed, bringing a new sound to the song while keeping the essence of the original.

There are definitely some really great tracks on Destination Paradise with the standout being Through Hell and Back, but a few tracks drag down what could have been a big step forward from No-Tell Hotel for Black Diamonds.

Destination Paradise releases today (May 31st).