Review Summary: What's going on in Brian Tatler's head?
I wonder what it's like to be a member of Diamond Head. One on hand, you're infamous for having a close association with Metallica, which is like free publicity in itself given the high abundance of Metallica fans. On the other hand, well…Metallica
. Kind of like a curse and a blessing, huh? In any case, Diamond Head were once a prominent band in the NWOBHM scene, with their opus, Lightning to the Nations, considered an early metal classic by those who actually know about the band. Today, not so much. Having split up and reformed twice already, the only remaining member of the original band is Brian Tatler. And the catchy, fun NWOBHM sound which influenced the Dave Mustaines and the Lars Ulrichs so long ago has also all but vanished.
However, this really isn't a bad thing, to be quite honest. The NWOBHM died a good twenty some years ago and replicating its dated sound today would seem more like a desperate bid to cash in on an old sound and hope fans are nostalgic enough to give it a listen. That said, the music style Diamond Head attempts on What's In Your Head isn't much better. Instead, the band subjects listeners to a brand of uninteresting hard rock that went out of style in 1990. Only, you know, with a heavier vibe and a more modern production. What's In Your Head suffers from a variety of different, yet related problems. The fifty minute record is as generic as they get, lifting tired riffs and vocal lines from virtually every faceless 80's hard rock band, especially in songs like the title track or album opener Skin on Skin. Thanks of the lack of identity, Diamond Head for the most part meanders around listlessly from song to song. Because of this, ten of the album's eleven tracks (Tonight is the exception, as it's the record's complimentary ballad-esque track and contains acoustic guitars!) sound extremely similar to one another, making for an extremely grating listen. Seriously, listen to This Planet and Me, Reign Supreme, and I Feel No Pain. They're each essentially exactly the same song in all but name only.
What's In Your Head is a foray into tedious hard rock by what was one of the more influential NWOBHM artists around. Considering their influence on the thrash scene of the late 80's, one wouldn't be faulted for expecting some sort of pedal to the metal proto-thrash ala Stained Class or Iron Fist. Instead, listeners are offered up a meek, outdated attempt at sounding like Saxon or Scorpions. And while it isn't my favourite genre, this isn't an attack on 80's hard rock as the genre can be decent when it's fun and anthematic. Unfortunately, Diamond Head's latest effort does not fit either bill, nor do they give the impression that they care. If you're feeling nostalgic and you're looking for a good throwback to a more 80's sound, check out Scorpions latest album. Brian Tatler and co just don't cut it, raising the real question: ...what's going on in Brian Tatler's head?