Diamonds are formed by the high pressure environment found deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Black Diamond was formed after 23-year-old guitarist/singer Cody Novitski of Kingston lived a high pressure moment that sits deep beneath the band’s emotional core, serving as underlying motivation.
“Three years ago I got sick,” Novitski said. “I had Pancreatitis and I almost died. I got out of the hospital and decided I had to do what I wanted to do because I had a near death experience, so I kind of freaked out a little bit.”
Novitski started Black Diamond, named after the bridge that connects Wilkes-Barre and Kingston by rail, with his friend and Larksville native Ralph Castner. The duo was joined three months later by Hanover Township resident Ron May and the group’s three-piece lineup was solidified. To date, Black Diamond has released two splits (“Rise of the Barre” with local band Foul Taste and “Fight Cat” with Jonestown’s The Greater Victory) and one EP called “Nervous Tension.”
They plan to record their first full-length album later this year at Philadelphia’s Merriam Theater; Novitski said they feel comfortable there, having previously used the space for both “Nervous Tension” and “Fight Cat.” According to Novitski, the band is better organized than they’ve been during their previous, less lengthy recording sessions. They only have one song left to complete before they can make the trip south and begin putting things to tape, and they’ll finish that song the same way they’ve readied the others they’re packing up for the trip — together.
“I kind of feel like we came together on this one,” Novitski said. “We’re writing all these songs as a cohesive group for the first time and I think that’s adding a good new dynamic to it because everyone’s just growing together. I think at this point we’ve gotten really comfortable with each other. We’re just kind of hitting a stride.”
“After being in a band for three years together, we’re really used to each other now and it’s getting tighter and tighter,” May added. “Each song reflects how much we’ve grown the past few years and it’s a little bit more mature sounding than the rest of our records.”
The three members of Black Diamond each bring their different ratings on the rock ‘n’ roll Mohs scale to the band’s soundscape. May rates high with an enthusiasm for metal, Castner sits in the middle with screamo and shoegaze and Novitski represents the softer side with folk punk and emo. The trio could let their diverse influences stand in the way of creativity, but they choose to let each element come together and form unique sonic compounds.
“When we started we were just into making something that was whatever we wanted to do,” Novitski said. “We decided to go into it without saying we’re going to be a certain kind of band; we went in, wrote songs and that’s what we came out with.”
Black Diamond formed from the pressure of what can be a life-altering experience and with three releases under their belt in as many years and a full-length on their schedule, it’s clear Novitski was listening to whatever the universe was trying to tell him.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
Catch Black Diamond at The Other Side on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29. Novitski, May and Castner will share the stage with Philadelphia’s Goddammit, Scranton’s Old Charades and NEPA’s Maniac. Admission to the all ages event is $5.