Review Summary: A great starter to heavy metal, and one of the best metal albums of all time.
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement has spawned some interesting and important bands. Judas Priest has designed the classic heavy metal clothing, while Motörhead incorporated more punk in their music, and Iron Maiden became one of the biggest metal bands ever.
However, there were also the highly influential bands who didn’t get much attention or lost their fame, like Venom and Diamond Head.
Diamond Head. How could a band with such a crappy name make one of the best metal records ever? Well, the name seems kind of crappy indeed, but it gives them their identity. An identity as one of the many “Head” bandnames, but also as a band that made a diamond of an album.
That album is called Lightning to the Nations.
The Lightning to the Nations LP was originally sold in a simple white sleeve, with not much info on it. I accually would never buy that, if I didn’t know what it would sound like. Fortunately, we live in a time of downloads now, so I can first listen what I’m about to buy.
When I found out about Diamond Head, I was reading something on Wikipedia about the NWoBHM, because of my interest in where thrash metal did come from. The name Diamond Head came along, and it kinda stuck into my head. I downloaded their discography, and I looked on Wikipedia to find their most positively acclaimed record.
Well of course, that was their famous debut album.
I listened this album during my paper round, and while I played a video game at school. It seemed to me that this album was so good, that it can almost never be possible to make a better thrash metal or heavy metal album.
The album consists of 7 songs, and 7 bonus tracks if you have the new cd version. The version of the album I downloaded had a lot of bonus tracks, because it was the cd version, of course. These bonus tracks were not that interesting, but the original songs were awesome.
The songs have a distinctive part relaxed, part active feel.
The band uses speed, but with a happy twist to it, and
this makes it a record that suits a lot of moods.
I think that, however everything is really good, the first 4 songs are the best.
These songs rely more on riffs than the other songs, and have a less “Motörhead-ish” feel to it. These a definitely the songs that make the less good parts disappear in awesomeness.
Some of the songs also have progressive elements to it, because of the length of the songs, and the many different riffs and chords. This reminds me of an old favorite band of mine: Rush. Compare Rush’s La Villa Strangiato with Diamond Head’s Sucking my Love for example.
As Rush did, Diamond Head uses long intros and many fills and alternate passages, and uses multiple bridges and solos. This kind of incorporating solos is also used often in thrash metal.
Diamond Head has definitely showed me how it’s really done,
the riffs were awesome, the sound was really old-school, the variation and the repetition were perfectly balanced, and the originality was great.
This album was a great influence on Metallica and Megadeth, and that is hearable. If you compare the intro of Am I Evil to Megadeth’s In My Darkest Hour, and The Prince to Metallica’s Hit the Lights, this is pretty obvious.
However, I think the Diamond Head songs are still better, and can never be topped by any heavy or thrash metal band.
Metallica now has gained a lot of fame, while being heavily influenced by Diamond Head. I think actually Diamond Head should have that fame.
Diamond Head set a huge standard for heavy and thrash metal bands with this record. Maybe the only things that were less good, were Sean Harris’ whiny singing and the bonus tracks. But as I said, these things were less good, not bad. And if we think about these little flaws, we can honestly say that these get blown away by the quality of this album overall.
This record does exactly what it should do, making a relaxed listening experience and still give more strength to the music.
Of course, we should not forget that the quality of the riffs is worth almost a 6 out of 5. All these things make this one of the best, and maybe the best overall, of all metal records.