Diamond Head – Diamond Head (Dissonance Records 2016)

I wasn’t expecting any new music from Diamond Head. Mainman, Brian Tatler, has said many times that he didn’t want to go trough the hassle of releasing new music, when people only want to hear the old stuff anyway. But I guess some new inspiration and life came with new singer Rasmus Andersen.

The music is somewhat of a departure from the last release, What’s in your Head from 2007. This time around the sound is a bit darker and heavier than I expected. Rasmus’ voice is also grittier and has more of a rough edge than Nick Tartes did. Like all newer DH-releases this is quite a stretch away from the metal of the eighties, but this album is closer than the last two. And releasing a self titled record at this stage in their career is a bold move. The self titled album is supposed to be you finest hour, where you shine, when you are on top of game, during your fifteen seconds etc. I think it’s fair to say that Diamond Head is past their prime.

There is a lot of throwback moments on the record, an ending that is similar to the riff of Am I Evil? An intro that is reminiscent of Knight of the Swords. But the band seems inspired and some of the songs has proper metal riffing, even if they melt away in a sea of AOR-soundscape.

The drums sound is weak and tinny, and must be the weakest piece of the record. The bass sound on the other hand is to my liking, nice and rumbly. The guitartone is similar the one Tatler has used for the last fifteen pluss years, and I will tell you; it’s a nice tone.

Tatlers sense of melody is as good as ever and the leads and melodies are at times impeccable. I’m particularly fund of All the Reasons You Live because of the elegance of the guitarparts. Diamonds is in my opinion the strongest track of the record. It has a great riff, both for guitar and bass, and kick ass vocal line, and great hooky chorus.

Shout at the Devil is a nice rock n roll song and so is Our Time is Now. The most NWOBHM-ish song is Blood on MY Hands, I mean the riff should have been released sometime in the early 80s, it’s something about the sound and feel of it … it’s just got that NWOBHM thing going. It might have been a better fit on a Saxon record than an early Diamond Head record, interstingly enough.

I’ve got one more thing to mention before I leave off, every now again Rasmus sound like Chris Cornell from his Audioslave days, there … it’s said. But all in all, it’s a better and darker record than I had expected. The riffs are still there, so is the power and the melodies.

Rating: 4/5

Recommended tracks : Diamonds, Shout at the Devil, Bones




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.