Diamond Head – Lightning to the Nations, 2020

Diamond Head.

5 Stars

On the 40th Anniversary of its original release, the present lineup of Diamond Head have re-recorded, re-imagined and re-vamped the seven songs from their debut release.

The album first came out on a friend’s small independent label, as Diamond Head had failed to grab the interest of the major labels, unlike many of their contemporaries from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Why this happened is a tragedy as the seven songs on the album forty years ago were classic, with perhaps three being monumental.

Diamond Head – Death by Design

When the dual guitars of founding member Brian Tatler and rhythm guitarist Andy Annerley come crashing in on the title track, Lightning to the Nations, you are immediately aware of a new razor’s edge to classic heavy metal. Combine this with the bombastic rhythm section of Karl Wilcox’s busy drums and Dean Ashton’s thunderous bass, things are really cooking. As if to embellish the songs to the maximum, you then have the vocal talents of Rasmus Bon Andersen and you are on a fast transfer to heavy metal heaven.

After the first three songs have been taken at breakneck speed, you then have the opening splendor of Diamond Heads’ signature song, Am I Evil? As the opening builds to a crescendo, the chugging rhythm guitar takes you into the body of the song whilst Brian Taylor rips your very head off with one of the most epic guitar solos ever laid down in heavy metal history. Recorded excellence.

Two more classics in Its Electric and Helpless bring the re-released album to a shuddering conclusion.

But then, if that was not enough, we get four rocked-up cover versions to carry us home. First, we have Metallica’s No Remorse – a fitting tribute as Metallica are huge fans of this album in its original form and have played live and recorded all these songs, giving Diamond Head a huge boost in the publicity stakes as well as a huge, much-needed shot of financial support.

Album cover.

Then Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest and Deep Purple all get the Diamond Head treatment.

At just over an hour long, this collection has got plenty for all fans of heavy metal music.

It’s often wondered why Diamond Head did not break into the big time like so many of their contemporaries. Well, at the time that fellow members of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal Iron Maiden and Def Leppard were gaining platinum album sales and touring the American sports stadiums, managed by mainstream management who were able to push the band in the right direction and shelter them from the rigors of Rock’n’Roll; Diamond Head were managed by their lead singer’s mum!

Written by Mott the Dog from Fletcher’s Folly on the Darkside of Pattaya.