One of the original NWOBHM bands, formed in Stourbridge England in 1977. It
was actually Metallica who introduced
me to these guys through their excellent cover on their "Creeping Death" EP.
Diamond Head (aka "Lightning to the Nations") (Castle/Horgi) 1980/2001
1. "Lightning to the Nations" (4:14)
2. "The Prince" (6:13)
3. "Sucking My Love" (9:32)
4. "Am I Evil?" (7:44)
5. "Sweet and Innocent" (3:37)
6. "It's Electric" (3:37)
7. "Helpless" (6:48)
8. "Shoot Out the Lights" (4:17)
9. "Streets of Gold" (3:34)
10. "Waited Too Long" (3:53)
11. "Play It Loud" (3:31)
12. "Diamond Lights" (3:31)
13. "We Won't Be Back" (4:18)
14. "I Don't Got" (4:18)
"Lightning to the Nations" was Diamond Head's official indie debut
album. It was originally released on the bands on Happy Face Records in a plain
white sleeve with the band autographing each copy. This release is usually referred
to as the band's "white album". Eventually the independent release
was picked up and has been re-released in various different forms over they
years. For years I had the 1992 Metal Blade reissue with the black cover. However,
I traded that copy for the Castle remaster with the bonus tracks. The Castle
remaster has the original white cover and an insert with tons of biographical
information on Diamond Head and their various singles, albums and reissues.
This disc is full of classic, epic tracks like "Am I Evil?," "The
Prince," and "Helpless" all of which have been capably covered
The entire disc is excellent and thus it is not surprising why an independent
disc that came out at the beginning of the British heavy metal explosion had
such a major impact on metal men like Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield. What
makes the disc so interesting is Brian Tatler's hook-laden guitar riffs and
song writing. However, I must admit, that while I thoroughly enjoy the music
on this disc, some of the lyrics fall into the Spinal Tap school of silliness.
Sucking on My Love? Need I say any more?
Diamond Head - Four Cuts (Happy Face) 1982
1. Call Me
2. Trick or Treat
3. Dead Reckoning
4. Shoot Out the Lights
The early Diamond Head catalog is confusing with all the singles, EPs and such. Song were released again on albums or recorded and released again, making for a very confusing discography. "Shoot out the Lights", for example, was released on a 7" in 1980 and re-released on this EP. This 7" EP containing four studio tracks, with "Dead Reckoning" being completely unique to it. This track really sums up the sound of the NWOBHM movement and also shows how big of an influence Diamond Head actually was to Metallica. If "Seek & Destroy" wasn't at least inspired by this song, I'd be surprised.
Diamond Head - Borrowed Time (MCA) 1982
Diamond Head - Borrowed Time (bootleg) 1982
1. "In The Heat Of
The Night" (4:53)
2. "To Heaven From Hell" (6:14)
3. "Call Me" (3:54)
4. "Lightning To The Nations" (4:09)
5. "Borrowed Time" (7:39)
6. "Don't You Ever Leave Me" (7:56)
7. "Am I Evil?" (7:22)
BONUS TRACKS (from the "Four Cuts" EP)
8. "Trick Or Treat" (3:30)
9. "Dead Reckoning" (3:34)
10. "Shoot Out The Lights" (4:15)
Diamond Head's catalogue
is so bizzare because many songs seem to appear on other albums other than the
one's they originally appeared on. That is the case here as well. Five new song,
and two that were were originally on Lightning to the Nations, both of which
have been completely re-recorded for this album. Five of these seven tracks
also appear on the Half Moon "best of" compilation with a remastered, improved
sound. That doesn't take into account the many other compilations and EPs over
the years. (See the "To Heaven From Hell" review below.) What we do have here,
however, is a good listen from beginnig to end, with only a few slow moments,
like the bands weak attempt at a radio hit with "Don't You Ever Leave Me." (Actually,
though it is the weakest song on the CD, I still like it.) Of course "Am I Evil?"
is a classic. This particular version is as good as the original, if not slightly
better. Brian Tatler's lead is outstanding here. I also liked the improvision
by Sean Harris of "Mr. Guitar" right before the solo. I am not sure what the
purpose of re-recording "Lightning to the Nations" was, as I can't really hear
any major differences. "Call Me" was a minor hit for the band in Europe I believe
and is slightly cheesy, but in a good way I guess, because I really dig it.
The title track is a NWOBHM classic; just pure heavy metal through and through.
Great song. Killer cover art to boot.
I own two versions of this
CD. One is the official MCA/Japan version.The other is a bootleg version that
has the three unique cuts from the "Four Cuts" EP. "Call Me" was also on this
EP but is identical to the album version.
Diamond Head - Canterbury (Metal Mind) 1983
1. Makin' Music (3:51)
2. Out of Phase (3:32)
3. The Kingmaker (4:11)
4. One More Night (4:11)
5. To the Devil His Due (6:02)
6. Knight of the Swords (6:52)
7. Ishmael (4:00)
8. I Need Your Love (3:02)
9. Canterbury (4:57)
10. Makin' Music [extended] (6:08)
11. Sucking My Love [live] (9:08)
12. Andy Peebles Interview incl. "To The Devil His Due" Diamond Head - Canterbury (15:58)
Originally released in 1983 on MCA Records, "Canterbury" was suppose to be Diamond Head's big breakthrough album, though it never really happened for Diamond Head the way it did for some other NWOBHM bands. The band switched gears here and headed into a more commercial direction and in the process turning away their core fan base. I remember hearing an interview with Metallica from around this time. They were discussing who their biggest influences were and they listed Diamond Head, but made sure to clarify that Diamond Head were no longer an influence, obviously referring to this album. I don't remember what the reviews said at the time, but I do remember fans being put-off by the change in direction. It is true that the album is a far cry from the ferocious heavy metal of their popular NWOBHM releases. However, is it a bad album? Hardly. I actually quite like "Canterbury". It will never be a favorite, much like I prefer Def Leppard's "On Through the Night" to the more commercial "Pyromania". However, it's not like this is a pop album filled with dance beats and rapping. Rather, the songs are more melodic and less riff driven. Basically, they are suppose to be more commercially accessible song. Songs like "One More Night" and "Making Music" would be actually have been at home on a "Pyromania" if they had a bigger production. There are some solid moments here that recall "Borrowed Time", such as the excellent "The Kingmaker", featuring some crunchy riffs from Brain Tatler. "Knight of the Swords" is a driving hard rocker as well, though this one might have been at home on "High 'n' Dry". There is also the dark, haunting melodies of "To The Devil His Due", which recalls the the grandeur sound of Queen. In my opinion vocalist Sean Harris sounds as good as he ever did. Had "Canterbury" been Def Leppard's follow-up to "High 'n' Dry" it would have been universally accepted as a solid album. However, for a band named Diamond Head, who had created some vicious metal prior to it's release, "Canterbury" will always be be remembered as something sub-par.
Metal Mind's remaster is pressed on a gold disc and comes in a nice digipack, with a full-color booklet packed with lyrics and photos as well as a bio. Bonus tracks include a smokin' live version of "Sucking My Love", an alternate version of "Makin' Music" and an interview with Sean Harris.
Diamond Head - To Heaven From Hell (Metal Blade) 1987
1. "Dead Reckoning"
2. "Heat of the Night" (5:57)
3. "Borrowed Time" (6:49)
4. "Don't You Ever Leave Me" (5:41)
5. "To Heaven from Hell" (6:33)
Infamous New Wave of British
Heavy Metal band that became more popular through Metallica's
covers of their songs than they did on their own account. Apparently this EP
was put together from the "In the Heat of the Night" 7" single
and parts of the "Living On Borrowed Time" LP from 1982. As one reader
of this site told me, "The first few Diamond Head albums are a real
mess since they had all-new albums, mostly-new albums with old cuts, mostly-new
albums with re-recorded cuts, several 7" singles, etc etc etc..." (thanks Ultra Boris) As with
their other early 80's material, this EP has striking influences from UFO,
with some Thin Lizzy and Black
Sabbath thrown in as well. All the tracks on this disc are lengthy and each
possess a decent hook and riff. For some reason, however, their UFO/Black
Sabbath inspired song writing comes off a bit awkward with the mix of pop
vocal melodies and choruses. Can't say that this EP is quite as interesting
as "Lightning For Nations" but it certainly isn't bad either. Can't imagine
a fan of early NWOBHM not liking this disc. For sure UFO fans should dig it. As far as I can tell the year of release is 1987. The Metal
Blade reissue came in 1997.
Diamond Head - Singles (bootleg) 1992
2. "Sweet And Innocent" (3:35)
3. "Streets Of Gold" (3:31)
4. "The Prince" (6:12)
5. "Sucking My Love" (9:31)
6. "Waited Too Long" (4:33)
7. "Play It Loud" (3:19)
8. "It's Electric" (3:36)
9. "Trick Or Treat" (3:29)
10. "Dead Reckoning" (3:30)
11. "Shoot Out The Lights" (3:23)
12. "In The Heat Of The Night" (3:21)
13. "Makin' Music" [long version] (6:06)
14. "Play It Loud" [live] (6:13)
15. "Sucking My Love" [live] (9:10)
A compilation, of classic
vinyl singles from Diamond Head compliled from the bands 1980's era. A solid
listen from the beginning to the end, showcasing one of the better NWOBHM bands.
I believe this CD was released originally by MCA. My copy is a bootleg. (Thanks
Diamond Head - Death And Progress (Bronze Records / Essential) 1993
1. "Starcrossed (Lovers
Of The Night)" (4:28)
3. "Calling Your Name (The Light)" (4:06)
4. "I Can't Help Myself" (3:37)
5. "Paradise" (3:37)
6. "Dust" (4:18)
7. "Run" (4:44)
8. "Wild On The Streets" (3:47)
9. "Damnation Street" (3:18)
10. "Home" (4:42)
Unfortunately for Diamond
Head, everything and anything the do will be compared to "Lightning to the Nations",
which is without a doubt one of the finest albums to come out of the NWOBHM.
As such, nothing will ever match up unless Diamond Head put out one fantastic
album. Even then I am not sure that the band would be able to live up to their
own legacy. However, if you can somehow seperate this band from that release
and listen without the bias, "Death and Progress" is actually a good, melodic,
heavy metal album. There are some interesting guests on here, including Dave
Mustaine and Tony Iommi, but the sound
here is unmistakably Harris/Tatler. The voice, the guitars, the riffs, and thier
distinct writing style. Actually despite all the negative reviews I have read
about this CD, I really do hear that distinct writing style that made songs
like "It's Electric" so memorable. OK, there really isn't much on here that
will rival songs like "Am I Evil?" with that infectious sound that Metallica lifted and became famous for. However, I for one can enjoy the band' more melodic
stylings here. My particular copy is the original import version.
There is also a remastered
version with deluxe packaging, but from reviews I have read, the sound is actually
better on the original release. Hopefully someone can confirm this for me.
Diamond Head - Evil Live (Bronze) 1994
DISC ONE [Live]
1. "Am I Evil?" (7:00)
2. "Dust" (4:36)
3. "Truckin'" (3:09)
4. "To The Devil His Due" (6:14)
5. "Sucking My Love" (5:31)
6. "Run" (4:52)
7. "To Heaven From Hell" (5:53)
8. "Helpless" (3:05)
DISC TWO [Studio]
9. "Good Lovin' Gone Bad" (3:44)
10. "This Flight Tonight" (3:33)
11. "Rock The Nation" (2:58)
12. "Good Rockin' Tonight" (2:36)
13. "Sweet Silence" (4:46)
14. "Feels Good" (3:07)
15. "Kiss Of Fire" (2:58)
16. "Let Me Down Easy" (3:52)
An interesting release
in that disc one is a live CD while all of disc two is listed as "Evil Extras".
What these are, for the most case, are studio cover songs. Tracks 1 - 5 are
covers, while the last three tracks are demos recorded in 1990. "Good Lovin'
Gone Bad" is a Bad Company cover. "Rock the Nation" and "Good Rockin'
Tonight" are Montrose covers, both taken from the first Monstrose CD. "This Flight Tonight" was written by Joni Mitchell, although Diamond
Head's cover is more of a tribute to the Nazareth version. The main interest here, however, is the live tracks which were recorded
live at the National Bowl, Milton Keynes, June, 5th, 1993. These tracks are
given that extra aggression that only a live recording can seem to capture.
The standout tracks are the standard "Am I Evil", "Sucking My Love" and "Helpless."
However, all either tracks sound very good in this live setting. (thanks
Diamond Head - The Best of Diamond Head (Spectrum) 1999
1. "It's Electric"
2. "Shoot Out the Lights" (4:05)
3. "Helpless" (6:49)
4. "Sucking My Love" (9:31)
5. "In the Heat of the Night" (4:58)
6. "Call Me" (3:50)
7. "Lighting to the Nations" (4:09)
8. "Borrowed Time" (7:40)
9. "Am I Evil" (7:22)
10. "Makin' Music" (3:51)
11. "Out of Phase" (3:33)
12. "Ishmael" (4:00)
13. "To the Devil His Due" (5:56)
I am not a big fan of best-of collections, but this one is actually pretty solid. Right up front, I have one complaint about this CD. How can anyone release a 'best of Diamond Head collection and not include "The Prince"? Other than this slight flaw, this collection is well put together and quite enjoyable. Most of the material here is culled from the band's years with MCA Records in the U.S. Several of the band's early material was recorded more than one time. Several songs that are on "Lighting to the Nations" were later re-recorded for the "Borrowed Time" album. The majority of the early songs on this collection are taken from borrowed time "Borrowed Time". "Shot Out the Lights" is taken from the "Four Cuts" EP. The last four songs are taken from the sketchy "Canterbury" release. Whoever compiled this collection managed to pick out some of the better material from that album, making for an overall solid listen. This might be the only Diamond Head album a casual fan of the band might need. The only thing this compilation offers a longtime fan who already owns the Diamond Head catalog is proper mastering.
Diamond Head - What's in Your Head? (Cargo Records) 2007
1. Skin on Skin (4:07)
2. I Feel No Pain (4:50)
3. This Planet and Me (4:56)
4. Reign Supreme (4:58)
5. Killing Me (6:29)
6. Tonight (3:30)
7. Pray for Me (4:24)
8. What's in Your Head (4:12)
9. Nothing to Lose (4:31)
10. Calling Out (3:47)
11. Victim (3:57)
Diamond Head were once a prominent band in the NWOBHM scene, with their opus, Lightning to the Nations, considered an early metal classic by those who actually know about the band. They were one of the biggest hopefuls of the movement. It has been said that Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris said they were "the next Led Zeppelin". That be true or not, it never really happened for them. The band have split up multiple times and reformed once again, this time the only remaining member of the original band is Brian Tatler. Unfortunately Diamond Head's NWOBHM sound which influenced the Dave Mustaines and Lars Ulrichs of the world many years ago has also all but vanished. Not that anyone should expect Diamond Head 2007 to sound like Diamond Head 1982. After all it has been over 25 years and this isn't exactly the same band. Instead of heavy metal, or even the proto-thrash metal that Diamond Head helped inspire, what Tatler delivers is melodic, late 80's/early 90's, hard rock not too terribly dissimilar from "Canterbury". However, that album still had the Diamond Head sound and had a certain charisma.
One thing missing from the equation on "What's In Your Head" is original vocalist Sean Harris, who most certainly was part of the band's character. Filling his shoes is Nick Tart who has a similar style to Sean, but ultimately isn't quite the same. Imagine Def Leppard without Joe Elliott. I am sure the remaining members of Def Leppard could create a fine album, but Elliot is a big part of the band's sound and it would be missed. Well, the same is true for Harris and Diamond Head. However, if that had been the only thing missing, "What's In Your Head" still could have been a solid album. Unfortunately even the music lacks much identity, save for "Killing Me". For me, that song gave a glimpse into what could have been and also retained the Diamond Head identity. For the most part Diamond Head meanders around listlessly from song to song with very little to distinguish one song from the next. Even after listening to the album four times within four days, I still can't remember much from it. Where this style of melodic hard rock excelled for bands like The Scorpions, Def Leppard and even Saxon was that it was anthemic, inspirational and ultimately fun. That's really not the case here. Ultimately "What's In Your Head?" isn't a horrific album, but it certainly isn't a great album for a classic band like Diamond Head.