Review Summary: It's still Diamond Head, but it's not... Diamond Head?
"After their masterful first album, Diamond Head were largely touted as the most promising stars of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The band soon turned into its own biggest disappointment, however, with the release of 1982's Borrowed Time: a textbook case of a misunderstanding record company tampering with a successful formula, and a band too naïve to know any better.
" - Allmusic Borrowed Time review
Being a Diamond Head fan, I would argue against the statement listed above, mostly due to the fact that Diamond Head still remains strong after many years, the statement "tampering with their own formula" is partly true. The highly successful Lightning to the Nations remains a hit for metal fans across the world, and these rockers still influence rockers time and time again. But they did abandon it. Gone are the heavy riffs that were present, gone is the haunting feel that "Am I Evil"" downright presented on a platter, and now more straightforward to a more progressive rock mix. Though it is still an enjoyable record, a previously ambitious one, that being said Borrowed Time didn't live up to expectations fully.
A good example would have to be the opener "In the Heat of the Night", which starts off with simple guitar noting and straightforward drum beats, the very word paining me to say it, could be easily mistaken for a typical hard rock song nowadays, for the lyrical topic is far too easy to overlook. The vocal performance of Sean Harris, where as it wailed next to perfectly, almost catchy, is killed off in tracks such as "Call Me" and "Don't You Ever Leave Me" prove to be even more awkward as they progress. And out of 7 tracks (reviewing the one-disc version), there are only 5 that are new. Lightning to the Nations and Am I Evil", though each being classic tracks, are taken from the band's famous debut, otherwise proving the lack of new material.
I once knew a girl like Borrowed Time: she was different, if not downright awkward. But I worked with her, and as time progressed, I grew to love her. I feel the same about this album: it takes a lot of time to accept the new sound, but it otherwise is still classic Diamond Head. The Sabbath-inspired guitar melodies and bass tempos come up in "To Heaven From Hell" and the 7-minute title track, both of which are the only standout tracks if you exclude the Lightning to the Nations tracks that are added in here.
If it wasn't for the new sound that completely abandoned the heaviness that rocketed through Lightning to the Nations, Borrowed Time is an otherwise excellent album, and maybe the last truly great one. Although I consider it a crime to abandon the sound that made you famous with the next album, which is a travesty, in numerous cases, Borrowed Time is an album that requires consistent listening to enjoy, but think of that girl while you're playing through this album.
Sean Harris - vocals
Brian Tatler - guitar
Colin Kimberley - bass
Duncan Scott - drums
Released in 1982 under MCA Records.
The Lightning to the Nation tracks
From Heaven to Hell
Check out the interview by Tommy Vance on the second release and Heat of the Night b-side, it's quite interesting.