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Diamond Head - Lightning To The Nations review

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Band: Diamond Head
Album: Lightning To The Nations
Release date: October 1980

01. Lightning To The Nations
02. The Prince
03. Sucking My Love
04. Am I Evil?
05. Sweet And Innocent
06. It's Electric
07. Helpless

Various re-release bonus tracks:
08. Streets Of Gold
09. Shoot Out The Lights
10. Waited Too Long
11. Play It Loud
12. Diamond Lights
13. We Won't Be Back
14. I Don't Got
15. It's Electric [remix] [1997 High Voltage bonus]

Omne, I hear you ask, don't 'cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?

Well, let me start by musing that sometimes bands just get it right at the first try, skipping the growing pains and the quest to perfect their craft with a debut release that hits the bullseye at the first attempt. Diamond Head are one of the lucky members of this exclusive club, with Lightning To The Nations being not only a NWOBHM stalwart, but an album any metalhead should be well acquainted with.

Lightning To The Nations is full of heavy metal standards, managing to strike the balance between sounding fresh even with frequent repeated listens and being an album for every occasion. Brian Tatler may not be a household name, but his guitar work is, even if you don't know it.

To get the obvious out of the way, "Am I Evil?" is likely to be the song you're acquainted with; either Diamond Head's or Metallica's version is likely to be familiar to you. There is however, much more to Lightning To The Nations than that, with "It's Electric", "Helpless" and "The Prince" being just as impactful. The key to these tracks is the band's knack for catchiness and progressiveness; songs immediately stamp themselves into your memory even though they are sprawling tangents in design. "Am I Evil?" and "Sucking My Love" epitomise this, two tracks clocking over seven minutes, yet each second is as memorable and impactful as the last.

Tatler combines the nascent NWOBHM style of guitar playing with 70s rock, a potent mix that powers tracks like the title track with a high-voltage charge. Harris may not be the most accomplished vocalist, but he finds that pocket between power and melody that fits the tone of this album like hand in glove, providing tracks like "The Prince" with some great vocals.

If there were any tweaks that I would make to the album then it would be to the production, for while everything is fine tonally, the album lacks in power (this would be rectified with Lightning To The Nations 2020), which is only a minor niggle in the grand scheme of things. Songs such as "It's Electric" beg to be turned up loud, just that extra bit of oomph to proceedings. Also, the lack of "Shoot Out The lights" on the original release of the album is a big missed opportunity.

If Iron Maiden were the breakout stars of the genre and Saxon the consistent warriors of the road, then Diamond Head were the ones with the masterpiece of NWOBHM.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 7

Written on 06.02.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 21 users
06.02.2023 - 22:26
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Best and most quatable part about nwobhm what we can take from thus review is endings.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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