Diamond Head – Diamond Head (Dissonance Records)

Diamond Head – Diamond Head (Dissonance Records)

A breathtaking return to form...

My word; If you thought – and you’d be forgiven for thinking it, too – that eighties almost weres Diamond Head were a busted flush, I’m afraid you are going to have to rearrange your brain and get rid of that unappealing little bit of ‘knowledge’. Because on the evidence of this self-titled album, there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet…
Sure, the band has limped on in one form or another since its calamitous mid-eighties crash and burn after the ill-fated Canterbury album. Founding guitarist Brian Tatler has kept the band’s flame alive through thick and thin, but even he was contemplating throwing the towel in as the band became increasingly cognisant of the law of diminishing returns, seemingly unable to get a firm toehold on the nostalgia bandwagon that sees even bands like the Tygers of Pan Tang turning a pretty penny in the live arena. The problem being, seemingly that Tatler could never rekindle the sort of feeling he had when working with the band’s quicksilver original vocalist Sean Harris, the sort of fire that inspired Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine take up the cudgels in the name of metal all those years ago, passions inflamed by the likes of It’s Electric and Am I Evil


Still, the royalties from all those Metallica covers must have helped Tatler stick to the task, and finally the wheel of fortune seems to have taken a turn in the man’s favour in the shape of new vocalist Rasmus Bom Anderson. Quite simply, this man is a revelation, the vocal find of 2016 to date and easily the finest vocalist to hold the Diamond Head mic since Harris gave the game away.

In style and feel this is Diamond Head somewhere between 1982’s Borrowed Time (right down to some cheeky quoting of Am I Evil on Our Time is Now) and 1983’s Canterbury (although the energetic Wizard Sleeve definitely has aheavier, White Album-feel to it), a rip roaring, largely blues-based romp through the fields of classic rock and metal, replete with the sort of riff and solo work Tatler became briefly – and rightly – famous for. I haven’t heard the man play with this much fire and conviction for years; ably backed by long-term rhythm section of Karl Wilcox (drums) and bassist Eddie Moohan and rhythm guitariat Andy Abberley tracks like the biting Set My Soul on Fire and See You Rise are musical tours de force, full of just the right amounts of muscle and melody and all featuring superb solos from Tatler. But really, it’s Anderson who is the star here, his gymnastic pipes – which do sound more than a little like Harris, if we’re being honest – lending everything a veneer of pure class that’s been missing from this band for a little while. All The Reasons You Live is a particular highlight for the young Dane, full of soulful vocalising over a late-period Zeppelin backdrop that does full justice to the man’s talent. The fact of this matter is stark; if Tatler has got the fire in his belly again there’s no reason why Diamond Head can’t have a successful ‘second’ career ahead of them for many years to come with comparative youngster Anderson at the vocal helm. And that’s a very fine prospect indeed.

Scott Adams
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