When lead guitarist Brian Tatler and drummer Duncan Scott formed Diamond Head together while still at school in June 1976, adding lead vocalist Sean Harris to the lineup the same year and completing the lineup with Colin Kimberley on bass guitar in 1978, I wonder if they realized what was to come in 1980 when they unleashed their debut album Lightning To The Nations. At that time they were unsigned so it was released via Happy Face Records with a plain sleeve, no title and no track listing. It was an early NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) classic!
Fast forward to September 22nd 2022 as Silver Lining Music released the ultimate version of the ultimate album Lightning To The Nations (The White Album) (Remastered 2021). It features the original album from the 1/4″ master tapes, five previously lost original mixes of the album and seven bonus tracks!
The album title track ‘Lightning To The Nations’ opens with crushing guitar chords and lung-busting “whoa oh oh’s” from Sean into air guitar inducing mayhem that grabs you from the off. Verses hit hard and heavy that contain fleet-fingered guitar work, pinned down by a formidable rhythm section and a breathtaking outro.
‘The Prince’ is all mid-paced thrash metal before that genre came to be such is the ferocity of its delivery and it doesn’t waver during its frantic six minutes.
‘Sucking My Love’ has more double entendres than a Carry-On movie due to the salacious rhythms and near-the-knuckle lyrics throughout its nine minutes duration that doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Now here comes the big hitter as ‘Am I Evil’ is a bonafide stone-cold anthem. I was fortunate to interview Brian a few years ago and he talked about how the song came to be from humble beginnings into the metal monster it turned into. Is there such a thing as the perfect song? If so then this is having a good go at it. If the one-minute instrumental intro of sledgehammer riffs doesn’t floor you then the resulting pounding and histrionic guitar work that includes THAT guitar solo surely will.
‘Sweet And Innocent’ is no frills NWOBHM that does exactly what it says on the tin as razor-sharp riffing, superhuman drumming and a stratospheric height-reaching vocal.
Warts and all delivery of ‘It’s Electric’ tears out of the starting blocks, and crosses the finish line first, leaving the stragglers out of breath from a speaker-rattling performance.
The final song of the album ‘Helpless’ is almost Motorhead with a gnarly, no-flannel delivery of one of their supersonic speed classics!
Next up is the Lightning To The Nations (Lost Original Mixes) as the title track shows early promise from Diamond Head for all to see. There is not much difference apart from a less-than-sharp mix but the backing vocals have more verve than the 1980 version.
‘The Prince’ has an extended intro, higher-pitched vocals and higher bass in the mix.
Prominent bass in ‘Sucking My Love’ is no bad thing, make for a more bombastic take. Guitar solos are edgier.
‘Am I Evil’ is as raw as it could possibly get with almost punk bravado and a slightly lower vocal register.
Lead and backing vocals are pushed high in ‘Sweet And Innocent’.
The first of the seven bonus tracks ‘Shoot Out The Lights’ is a welcome surprise as I’ve not heard it for quite some time as the main riff returns like an old friend. Luscious melodies enchant throughout the lead vocals.
An unrelenting delivery for ‘Streets Of Gold’ pulls no punches for a bout of ear-bruising jabs of the highest order.
‘Play it Loud’ lives up to its title as it’s cranked up to eleven for a seismic stomp of wrecking ball power riffs and fleet-fingered guitar solos.
The closest they get to a ballad comes from ‘Waited Too Long’ as Sean croons over acoustic and electric guitars but the spotlight is stolen by sugar-sweet choruses.
They tear it up in ‘Diamond Lights’, kicking out the jams with full force and touches of melody shine through joyous choruses.
Even heavier is ‘We Won’t Be Back’, a full-on turbocharger that doesn’t slow down for anything that dares to try and stop these riffs flow freely for four frantic minutes.
The final track ‘I Don’t Got’ is blues with balls no more, no less as Sean wails over steely-eyed riffs, full-blooded drum overload that kerrangs to a clattering climax!
Diamond Head band links are here :- https://www.facebook.com/DiamondHeadOfficial I http://diamondheadofficial.com I https://www.instagram.com/diamond_head_official/ Ihttps://twitter.com/DH_Diamond_Head I https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwL_QWQ3ILpZlwaEJHsjP9A I https://amazon.co.uk/Lightning-To-The-Nations-Diamond-Head/dp/B0B8F4WCKD/?tag=plane09-21
Album track listing:-
Lightning To The Nations.
Sucking My Love.
Am I Evil.
Sweet And Innocent.
Lightning To The Nations (Lost Original Mix).
The Prince (Lost Original Mix).
Sucking My Love (Lost Original Mix).
Am I Evil (Lost Original Mix).
Sweet And Innocent (Lost Original Mix).
Shoot Out The Lights (Bonus Track).
Streets Of Gold (Bonus Track).
Play It Loud (Bonus Track).
Waited Too Long (Bonus Track).
Diamond Lights (Bonus Track).
We Won’t Be Back (Bonus Track).
I Don’t Got (Bonus Track).
Diamond Head 1980 band personnel:-
Sean Harris-Lead Vocals.
Colin Kimberley-Bass Guitar.
Diamond Head present-day band personnel:-
Rasmus Bom Andersen-Lead Vocals.
Brian Tatler-Lead Guitar/Rhythm Guitar.
Andrew ‘ABBZ’ Abberley-Rhythm Guitar/Lead Guitar.
I would like to dedicate my review to Malcolm Dome R.I.P \m/ \m/