When one considers the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal
", the obvious thought is of Iron Maiden with Bruce Dickinson
screaming at the top of his vibrato laced tenor voice, backed by three guitarists and a stage-hand in a costume of their zombie mascot. However, the reality is that there were a lot of really decent bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal
who have been eclipsed by Iron Maiden's fame, and, were it not for certain American bands that shall remain nameless, would never have been recognized by any large audiences.
Such is the case with Diamond Head
. This four-piece metal band from Stourbridge has received negligible attention from the metal-community, though not out of any fault of their own. They're a decent, solid band, and this album is more than enough proof of that fact.
Say what you will that the title track of "Lightning to the Nations
" is good and all, my favorite has got to be "The Prince." It hits the ground running from the very first, doesn't relent until the very end, and the number of guitar solos - I lost count at three, I think - are a testament to Brian Tatler's as of yet unrealized guitar skill. Sean Harris (no relation to Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, I believe) has a good, unique-sounding voice, despite being a tenor, and this song really brings out the strength in his singing.
number four is perhaps the one track that everyone in the thrash metal scene has heard before. "Am I Evil
?", as recorded and played by Diamond Head
, is every bit as epic and head-banging-worthy as the covers have been. One drummer called this "the heaviest song that's ever been recorded", and while that may be debatable by some, its kick-ass and definitely a match for "Symptom
of the Universe
." Though that might be a bit unfair since Brian, unlike Tony, has the use of all his fingers. No offense to Black Sabbath
, of course.
Most of the songs from this album are either slow or ruthlessly fast, though there are two tracks that stick out as being very hard-rock-sounding and, dare I say, danceable. I speak, of course, about "Sweet and Innocent
" and the timeless "It's Electric
." The former happens to be the shortest track on this album, at three minutes and thirteen seconds. Kudos to the band for making so many long tracks. The only bad part is that it has no "Sweet and Innocent
" guitar solo to go along with it: its not like Brian Tatler can't shred with The Best of
them, he's obviously proved before that he can. Nevermind, it's still fun to listen to.
In contrast, what we see in "It's Electric
" is another short song, but packed with enjoyable riffs, more of Harris' impressive vocals, and plenty of guitar solos to make up for the lack of one in the previous track. It's timeless because, lyrically, it is the theme of every aspiring rocker and metal-head who has longed for the adrenaline and vibe of the metal stage.
With riffs ranging from the heavy to the enjoyably-rocking and shredding solos to match the greats, Lightning to the Nations
is the most underrated album of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal
. So what if it was co-produced by Sean Harris's mother: the posers who like this band out of spite to the ones who gave them recognition wouldn't like any other band that did similarly, so why the double-standard? Why
not love Diamond Head
for what it is: a classic piece of old school, hard and heavy kind of music that we all love and enjoy.