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Hotel Diablo - The Return to Psycho, California (Scarlet Records)

By: Kenneth Gallant

[8/10] You have to admire vocalist Rick Stitch for exiting an established group like Adler’s Appetite to start a brand new venture of his own. With the help of guitarist Alex Grossi (Quiet Riot) and also recruiting bassist Mike Duda and drummer Mike Dupke from WASP, this foursome unleashes Hotel Diablo upon the music world. Their debut disc entitled The Return to Psycho, California is a well-oiled machine brimming with a fresh hard rock sound that demands your full attention straight from the get-go.

The opening track “Taken” starts out strong with a sound that slightly fits the alternative side of rock, but you can’t let go of that mashing riff. It gets inside your head and you can’t let it out, proving how infectious their sound truly is. From there, the template is firmly set for hard ‘n heavy numbers like “Psycho California” and “Set it Off” to burn at full speed, but a few ballads like “What You Do to Me” and “Bury Me” proves the band’s versatility as well. The tracks are quite balanced overall, and much of the music is quality alternative rock, with a few nods to groups like Tesla and Stone Temple Pilots.

What I like best about Hotel Diablo is the versatility of the talent involved. Stitch’s vocals provide most of the muscle with a delicate balance between edgy and mournful. The man is a serious powerhouse in the vocal department and with the aid of Grossi’s skillful playing as a guitarist, the tandem work in ample amounts of melody for good measure. The rhythm section of Duda and Dupke are indeed a reliable pair and coming from a shock rock band like WASP definitely helps them to balance out the sound with a little mayhem all their own.

You can’t go wrong with this debut. The cover art is a striking faux 70’s cinema styled piece and it helps to make this a slick package overall. The group even managed to recruit former Guns ‘n Roses member Gilby Clarke to produce the album, so it just adds up as a total win for the band. The music on this release is incredibly satisfying and it proves that modern rock can remain fresh sounding in this day and age, and if you are seeking a new band that enjoys bringing a little calamity to the party, then Hotel Diablo is it.

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