Before his passing Dickie Hammond gave the thumbs up to HDQ carrying on without him, he gave his blessing to his replacement Neil Cox (SHUTDOWN, FOUR LETTER WORD, THIRTY SIX STRATEGIES) but with a name change. The deal was struck, and the result is the DIAZ BROTHERS.
The transition has apparently been seamless, and this their debut release is a full length that continues the strong tradition of HDQ, who in the late 80s, after vocalist Golly took over vocals, became a mainstay of the UK DIY punk scene, touring extensively their melodic emotional hardcore that was heavily influenced by DAG NASTY and 7SECONDS.
And that’s just what it’s like for the first three songs, and then on ‘Melancholy Hand Grenades’ they change gear, with a different vocal effect and an added guitar crunch, and all of a sudden, for one song, it’s all sounding more like modern day IGNITE than those Dag days of old.
Overall though, this is just what you’d expect from these veteran players, but with a few added layers, musicianship and a depth of song writing ability out of reach of most of their younger UK contemporaries, and the album probably peaks with ‘Empty Bar Stool’, presumably about the one missing from their ranks.
They’ve also added some prominent backing vocals on this record, which are noticeable on ‘Empty Bar Stool’, and on the final track ‘This Hating Nation’, with the oohs and aahs and the sweeping guitars making the whole thing seem like it wouldn’t be amiss on, dare I say it, a BAD RELIGION album.
Decades later, hearing the remains of HDQ is like bumping into an old friend you’ve not seen for many years; you quickly realise that not much has changed, there’s a familiarity, they’ve matured, hit the pub a bit, and they’ve probably even gained a little in the chops.