What’s The Rockbrat Been Listening To Today: Picture – Diamond Dreamer (1982)

Picture are a way underrated metal band. They released a bunch of albums in the career – but they never surpassed this one. Picture is a Dutch heavy metal band and are noted for being the first band in the country to play heavy metal. (Before Vandenberg?) In the early 80’s (and with Diamond Dreamer in particular) they were definite contenders to the big boys like Priest, Maiden and Saxon – playing their distinctive brand of traditional or classic style HM. Samson may be a better or more accurate reference point actually, both in sound and style. Before I go on though, let me say that looking back, having a bland and non descript name like ‘Picture’ was never going to increase your appeal to the masses. It doesn’t mean anything – and metal heads needed names they could easily identify with – like Wolf or Saxon or Scorpions or Motorhead. And if they were going to be called Picture – why not name each album – Picture – This, or Picture Show or something. You get my point. Nuff said. Picture’s original vocalist, Ronald Van Prooijen left prior to the recording of this album, and he was replaced by an Israeli guy called Shmoulik Avigal. He has a powerful vocal that at times is so close to Samson era Bruce Bruce upon first listen you’d swear it was Samson. Picture have a sound that kind of crosses Saxon with Samson – imagine Dickinson fronting Saxon and you are probably pretty close. Ironically, this is the only album to feature Avigal, as he fought with the bands management and was booted out. Picture were formed as far back as 77. They released three albums prior to this one and gigged throughout their native Netherlands and also appealed to the denim clad head bangers of West Germany. Picture supported AC/DC, Ted Nugent and Saxon in the Netherlands. With Saxon, they did a full European tour in 1981. Later on they toured with our own Rose Tattoo in Germany in 1982, and headlined tours in Italy and Israel. I had read that the bands record company were reluctant to get behind the band financially, so the album sold by word of mouth or through the metal underground, Kerrang! etc. From what I’ve read, the band were also far from happy with the Tatts. The Picture boys considered themselves to be more popular in Deutschland than Rose Tattoo – and felt that they were sabotaged by the Tatts and their crew. I find that a little hard to believe. In 82, the Tatts would have wiped the floor with most bands. Diamond Dreamer was released in July 1982 and in order to improve on the audio quality of their first two albums, Picture recorded Diamond Dreamer with the help of Saxon producer Pete Hinton – and you can certainly hear the Saxon influence, right down to the Oliver/Quinn like dual guitar work. In some countries, the album was released with the title ‘Nighthunter’. So on the album, you get 10 tracks, opening with the anthemic Samson like rocker, ‘Lady Lightning’. ‘Night Hunter’ follows suit and is reminiscent of classic era Whitesnake – tuneful, melodic, riff heavy and very Coverdale like on the vocal. ‘Hot Lovin’ is up next and it’s another kick ass tune – kick ass rock n roll, that changes nicely down from verse to chorus. The rapid fire riffs continue on the title track ‘Diamond Dreamer’ complete with double kick. Not my favourite cut on the album but still a rockin tune. ‘Message From Hell’ sounds like it was an extra track that didn’t make the cut of Saxon’s ‘Wheels Of Steel’ album – that a compliment my friends. The grinding ‘Lousy Lady’ sees the boys take it down a gear before ‘The Hangman’ sees the band back with the rapid fire riffs and air raid siren like vocals. Classy tune. This is classy metal – as my old mate woganozi used to say. Though I’m pretty sure he was referring to Queensryche. Picture are far more blue collar than that though – denim and leather, meat and potatoes – Priest, AC/DC and Saxon. ‘Get Me Rock and Roll’ is another thundering metal tune – and if you are like me, and dig hard rock/metal before bands like Bon Jovi came along and sanitised it all – you could do a hell of lot worse than starting with this album. It scores a massive 9 out of 10 from Cowboy Col and is indeed a lost classic. By the mid 80’s, the band only had one original member, and was headed towards a commercial, hair metal look and sound. The original members tried a reunion in 1988 and the chemistry was still there. Unfortunately, management reared it’s ugly head and unknown to the band, their manager was asking an outrageous amount of money for them to play, so they never got any gigs after their one reunion concert. To have this happen after being burned by management the first go-around was just too much, and once again, they called it a day. In 2007, the classic line-up reunited for rehearsals. They still had that spark, and planned to cut a CD in 2008 and play some gigs around the Netherlands and Germany. Though Ronald van Prooijen helped out, singer Shmoulik Avigal was asked to participate as well as Pete Lovell, the singer on the Eternal Dark album. In 2008, a permanent lineup was established with Jan Bechtum, Rinus Vreugdenhil, Laurens Bakker, Rob vanEnkhuizen, and Pete Lovell. Towards the end of the 2000’s they were gigging throughout Europe to receptive crowds. They released a new album, ‘Old Dogs, New Tricks’ in 2099.

2 thoughts on “What’s The Rockbrat Been Listening To Today: Picture – Diamond Dreamer (1982)

  1. Hi, this is Jan Bechtum. About the Tatts: the band were nice during our tour with them. The crew wasn’t. Just to make this clear 😉

  2. I was a 13 teenager in 82 and I was a metal lover! Picture’s Diamond Dreamer is my passion since then! I love all songs and it’s in my playlist on cell phone always! Very fine to listen when I do running through the streets! Thanks!!!

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