DIAMOND HEAD - Diamond Head
April 30, 2016, 3 years ago
This scribe's long-standing theory is that bands only self-title records when those albums are either stylistic rebirths or second-wind bouts of inspiration, and Diamond Head is strongly in the latter camp as Brian Tatler has written a new record that's self-aware, self-assured and, most importantly, authentic to itself and its NWOBHM starting point. Sure, the usual way to dismiss Diamond Head is the old 'we only know the band because of Lars Ulrich' argument, but while Lars has been an ally to Diamond Head both through deference and generosity (those Metallica covers generate royalties, no doubt), the real key to Diamond Head's success and longevity is much simpler: the songs. Lightning To The Nations is among the NWOBHM’s most astute moments, the record’s listenability coming from the smoothed-out jaggedness of its intelligent song-writing. And it’s no coincidence that this song-writing inspired, literally, legions (special hellos go out to “Helpless” and “It’s Electric”, two of rock’s most unheralded anthems).
So, yes, that song-writing is here, in full-form, on this self-titled album, Diamond Head’s seventh full-length. While the absurdly impressive energy of the Diamond Head live show doesn’t entirely translate here, the band has channeled much of the vitality that it’s still entirely capable of on stage and Diamond Head's enthusiasm for this latest entry into its career is palpable. The story within the story is the new guy here, Danish vocalist Rasmus Bom Andersen, who despite being in his early-30s was born to sing classic heavy metal, even if he wasn’t actually born when Lightning To The Nations was first released in 1980. Andersen fits in just fine, his many talents adding to Diamond Head’s shiny luster. Led by convincing and inspired highlights “Bones”, “Speed”, “Diamonds” and the unfortunately titled “Wizard Sleeve”, Diamond Head plays with conviction and forward momentum, this record a strong collection that finds that sweet middle ground between the bluesy hard rock that metal was founded on and the more caustic avenues it would later find during the NWOBHM. Man, much like Run Ragged, that Jaguar record that came out back in 2003, Diamond Head has managed to add to the band’s legacy without tearing strips from its credibility. In the process, Brian Tatler’s found the kind of creative success that will appeal to his band’s base as well as to those who come to this particular altar as tribute for all that it’s given to metal over the last 35+ years.