Band: Diamond Head
Album: Diamond Head
Label: Dissonance Productions
Release Date: April 22, 2016
Diamond Head is about to engage in one of the riskiest games in rock ‘n’ roll by releasing a brand new, eponymous album that could potentially disturb their fine legacy. Fraught with danger, this sort of thing is frequently regrettable if not outright disastrous for the band in question. So how does Diamond Head fare given the preceding?
Any metalhead with even a passing interest in the history of the metal genre will have heard of Diamond Head if for no other reason than Metallica’s cover of he classic, ‘Am I Evil’, from Diamond Head’s definitive ‘Borrowed Time’ album, on Metallica’s debut,”Kill ‘Em All” back in 1983. This fact along with their respected place in the early NWOBHM movement defines the aforementioned legacy.
When the band’s classic “Borrowed Time” was released I was a mere 20-year-old, still searching my way in a crass and cruel world. There are many aspects of that time that I would never want to live again but one thing that remains fondly remembered is the pure joy of finding bands like Diamond Head, Angel Witch and Grim Reaper in the import bins, buying them based on artwork alone (no internet/google/instant info in those days) then racing home to spin the vinyl on my buddy Bill’s awesome stereo.
When a band like Diamond Head releases something new after a long period of inactivity on the recording front, the anticipation for an old fan like myself can overwhelm the final result often ending in disappointment. There are very, very few occasions when a band can meet and exceed that level of expectation but here’s a news flash: this is one of them! I had hoped that the album would be decent and spun it up the first time with a sense of trepidation. I was then absolutely blown away by two things: the songwriting and the riffs!
Those initial impressions were positive right from the start of the album’s first track, ‘Bones‘ . They only increased as the album progressed, moving from one well-written, dynamically executed track to the next. Diamond Head have hit on that sweet spot between legacy and relevancy with an album that moves well beyond, “hey that’s cool, the old guys can still play” to, “wow, you have GOT to hear this album”.
Diamond Head is chock full of exceptionally tasty riffage. Right from the opener ‘Bones’ to the final track, ‘Silence’, the listener is treated to some of the best riffs and songs to be released this year. If I had to think back to an album that was this good from last year (2015) I’d have to go back to the Grammy winning ‘Meliora’ by Ghost.
Highlights (as hard as they are to pick out of an album this good) include the ultra-groovy, heavy and mid-tempo ‘Set My Soul On Fire‘ that’ll have you singing the chorus in your head hours later, the uptempo ‘Diamonds’ and the killer opening track already mentioned, ‘Bones’.
Truthfully you can’t go wrong with any track on the album as its lacking anything resembling filler. Special mention goes to the band’s latest vocalist Rasmus Bom Andersen whose range and style fit the vibe perfectly. I can hear him in my mind’s ear more than adequately handling the band’s classic material.
Diamond Head has managed to do something that even Black Sabbath failed to do with the release of the mediocre “13” three years ago. They made me feel 20 again in all the ways that matter, head banging and singing along to great guitar work and killer songs.
Reverend Rock’s Rating: 9/10
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