Diamond Head – Death and Progress

In my youth I was such a big Metallica fan that I bought into everything they said or put their name to in one way or another. So checking out one their main influences was kind of a given. I remember waiting for the new Diamond Head disc to arrive in the mail. I had heard the Metallica covers and had huge expectations for some high quality metal. What I got was this Death and Progress album. Not exactly what I had in mind.

At first I hated the popy sound of it. So polished, so clean and, oh, so safe. This was not what I wanted at all. I didn’t want “strangers in the night” topics or songs about love and mary-go-rounds, I wanted songs about occultism, war, evil and things that go bump in the night etc. like the ones I knew from the Metallica covers.

And there is absolutely a big difference between the nwobhm-band Diamond Head and the reunited Diamond Head of the 90’s. I now think it has something to do with maturity. This record was made by guys wanting to try for a second chance in the music business, not by young guys wanting to play and get drunk and laid.

“Truckin’” is more in wane of their earlier work and has sort of an edge to it. It’s definitely the finest tune on the record, great guitar riff and a fine vocal delivery. “I Can’t Help Myself” could have been a nice rocker, but the vocals kind of ruin it for me. Sean Harris does this mmmhhmm-sound, that just sounds too much like Chrash Test Dummies meets Joe Tempest of Europe. It’s just so radio friendly that hurts a little.

“Run” and “Damnation Street” are good AOR songs, with brilliant guitar playing and beautiful vocal melodies. “Starcrossed”, “Calling Your Name”, “Paradise” and “Home” are all ballads, of varying quality, “Home” is by far the best of the bunch.

Overall the album is quite good. The songwriting is good, it is not a metal album, not at all. It is however a nice little rock n roll album or AOR album, which will offend no one and is a nice alternative when you just need some music to relax to. When I’m in a mellow mood, I dig out this album and just chill out to well played, well written and well produced 90’s hard rock.

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