Diablo Strange set to make their mark

Boasting a sound that will appeal to fans of Queens of the Stone Age and Clutch, the meaty guitar riffs driving the songs featured on the debut release from Moncton band Diablo Strange might not be for the faint of heart.

Diablo Strange, comprised of Marty Surette on guitar, Matt Cormier on bass and vocals, and J.D. Thibodeau on drums, was originally formed in 2010. The band inadvertently took more than a year of trying a few different drummers and waiting for a badly broken finger of Surette’s to heal before the group truly started coming into its own.

At long last however, the group is celebrating the release of their self-titled EP with a show at the Manhattan Bar & Grill in Downtown Moncton Saturday evening.

They may be a new band in one sense of the word, however, there is actually a respectable amount of experience in their lineup. Surette was a part of Moncton band Tempting Tragedy, who quietly dissolved in 2011. The group’s break-up came as somewhat of a surprise considering the group had secured an East Coast Music Award nomination after having performed a series of shows with other artists that had been nominated for the East Coast Music Award Loud Recording of the Year.

There wasn’t a whole lot of back room drama behind their split. In fact, Surette maintains it was more-less a mutual feeling among band members.

“I think most of us just felt the band had run its course and we weren’t really able to take it any further,” Surette says. “When we started as a band we were playing music that didn’t really fit with what anyone else was doing around here but we were always working to get to the next level and find our own place. After our last album, I think we just all just felt like we already did what we set out to do and there was no answer to the question of where to go next. Our level of success was on a very small scale if you look at the big picture of the music industry, but we didn’t have huge expectations from the start so I think we even surpassed what we had originally set out to do.

“Admittedly, the Maritimes probably wasn’t the right market for our style of music, but the Interne really helped us make solid connections with fans from all over the world and we can look back being proud of what we accomplished. We all parted on good terms and ended things on a high note at the ECMA’s.”

Recorded with Moncton-based engineer and musician Kyle McDonald, Surette says that it was McDonald’s extensive experience in recording other acts that proved to be the big drawing card for the band deciding to work with him for their debut EP.

“Kyle had done sound for our shows at the Manhattan but had also heard recordings of other local bands he has done and liked what we heard. We find as though the EP comes across as sounding very ‘live’ despite us having only really played the six songs that are on the EP for a few months before we actually recorded them.”

Surette notes that while the trio’s EP is just now being released to audiences, the group already has 10 other songs waiting to be recorded for a potentially quick follow-up effort. He says that fans can expect to hear some of their new songs in the band’s set list over the next little while but, for the time being, the group has no immediate plans when it comes to when the new songs will formally be released.

“We’re lucky in the respect that the songs seem to be writing themselves lately,” Surette says. “Some of these newer songs still need to be rehearsed and aren’t quite ready to play live but a few of them are staples in our set list already.

“We are really excited about these new songs and feel as though we have brought the songs in more extreme directions than we might have done in the past. Some of the songs lean more on the rock side while others are much heavier. At the end of the day though, the important thing for us is that the song has a good groove and feels good to play live.”

Article published in May 18, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript