"Diamond Head"

By Colonel Angus

I have always had a soft spot for Diamond Head.  Ever since hearing “Am I Evil?” (before Metallica covered it), I have been a fan; even enjoying "Canterbury".  They never really got their dues even though they were instrumental in creating a new genre known as the NWOBHM.  It seems that once they helped shape the scene, they were not given a fair shake when they got signed to a major label.  After a couple of stop/starts with original vocalist Sean Harris, they emerged again in the 2000s with new singer Nick Tart.  They released a couple of good records but they did not reignite the fire that was once there.  Well, roughly nine years later, we get a new disk with a new vocalist.  I don’t know if Rasmus Bom Andersen should be given all the credit but Diamond Head have created a record that would be the perfect follow up to "Borrowed Time".  That’s not to say that it is a re-hash of old riffs because it could have been really easy for them to pull out the old template and just insert new lyrics.  Instead, they built upon their early legacy and moved the band forward.

Many of the song on this self-titled record have the sense of urgency that their earlier work contained.  Tunes like “Bones”, “Shout At The Devil”, “Speed”, and “Diamonds” are all performed as though the band has something to prove.  Elsewhere, track like “All The Reasons You Live” and “Silence” have a Zep-like quality in all their regal majesty.  Those two songs have a bit of "Canterbury" in them in the way that they go beyond the usual heavy riffing and galloping rhythm.  One of the reasons this album works so well is that, like Diamond Head’s earlier work, there are different tempos and styles of rock all in one package.  Diamond Head (the record) is not a one trick pony.  You get the full on metal of something like “Bones” but then you also get some great slower pieces like “Blood On My Hands” all the way through to epic songs like “Silence”.

The line-up has been pretty consistent over the last decade with the exception of the vocal spot.  Andersen fits in very well and has certain Sean Harris elements to give the legacy some consistency but enough of his own voice to keep things fresh.  Eddie Moohan and Karl Wilcox continue to provide a very solid rhythm section on bass and drums respectively.  Andy Abberley is another hold over form the last record providing "Diamond Head" a much fuller sound.  Which brings me to the man that is the Tony Iommi of the NWOBHM, Brian Tatler.  As with previous releases, here he has come up with a slew of catchy and melodic riffs that are as memorable as his earlier work.  The whole band seems to be working as a well-oiled machine but I hate to use that term because it sometimes implies “boring” which is the exact opposite of this release.  I’ve followed Diamond Head since the beginning but if you gave up on them after "Canterbury", you would be doing yourself a favor by purchasing this disk.