Black Diamonds by L.A. Guns contains no prog-jazz epics, just pure-blooded rock'n'roll

L.A. Guns' 14th album Black Diamonds wears its Sunset Strip heritage on the sleeve of its battered leather jacket

L.A. Guns: Black Diamonds cover art
(Image: © Frontiers Music)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Three albums since L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns and singer Phil Lewis patched up their differences and got back together, and the reunion seems to be holding. Black Diamond, their fourteenth album in total, is a blast of unadulterated hard rock that calls back to the Sunset Strip’s late-80s heyday without losing itself in nostalgia. 

Howling opening track You Betray crackles with electricity and menace, rooting it squarely in the here and now, and Gonna Lose’s sleaze rock energy is punctuated by a billowing, jangling breakdown, but Black Diamonds mostly wears its Hollywood heritage on the sleeve of its battered leather jacket. 

Got It Wrong hitches Lewis’ charisma-over-technique vocal to an itchy Guns riff, the sneering Babylon could have snuck onto either of their first two albums without anyone noticing, and Diamonds is a scuffed, bad boy ballad with a killer chorus. 

The occasional concession to modernity aside, there’s little here to scare the horses. But then no one is coming to an L.A. Guns album for prog-jazz epics, just pure-blooded rock’n’roll. And with Black Diamonds, it’s job done on that front.

Dave Everley

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.