Worship Metal Album Of The Week – Diamond Head – Self Titled
Nuthin' but heavy metal diamonds....
Nine long years since the release of Diamond Head’s last album, What’s In Your Head?, and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal heroes are back with a new frontman leading the line. The good news is Rasmus Bom Andersen fits in perfectly, retaining a distinctive wail of his own but honouring Sean Harris’ style with a familiar but never derivative delivery; it would appear that Diamond Head, post 1983, have finally found their frontman!
The even better news is that first and foremost, Diamond Head is an outstanding modern melodic metal release. They needed to bounce back with something spectacular and spectacular is what they have delivered!
The root of their success has always stemmed from the nimble fingers of a certain Brian Tatler. We’re stating the bloody obvious here but King Tatler is a truly incredible riff writer, overflowing with ideas and Diamond Head finds him still conjuring masterstrokes that would have sounded at home on their genre-defining debut; as evidenced on the ironically youthful “Bones”. The many virtues of this great album don’t just begin and end with Diamond Head’s classic NWOBHM sound either! Doom riffs? Tatler’s got ’em licked (check out that neck-wrecking beginning of “Set My Soul On Fire”). Thrash riffs, shit….the man practically invented them (give “Shout At The Devil” a go). Unsurprisingly, each and every track on this beast is underpinned by a tectonic Tatler riff, taking center-stage and showcasing the seemingly endless talent behind one of metal’s most under appreciated bands.
There’s also a knowing cheekiness flowing through Diamond Head’s 7th album, an assurance and a confidence that nods to their past and their deserved position amongst metal’s most pioneering acts. Is that the iconic riff from “Am I Evil” nonchalantly tacked on to the end of the prescient “Our Time Is Now” Does Rasmus shriek “shout at the devil” in such a ‘familiar’ way to remind the world just who the real 80’s metal heroes actually were? You be the judge but it all adds up to a refreshingly nostalgic yet forward thinking experience nonetheless. The past is the past – and while Diamond Head know how paramount their debut was in forming the sound of heavy metal – it’s to the future that they now set their stare.
One last question needs to be posed. Is this self-titled release in the same league as the all-time NWOBHM classics Lightning To The Nations and Borrowed Time, hell, we’ll throw the severely underrated Canterbury in there as well? Not quite, but it’s close. Damn close. And the fact that Diamond Head, in 2016, can return with an album so full of ideas – and without losing sight of their core sound – is a triumph and Diamond Head is infinitely better than fans could ever have hoped for! 9/10
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