It’s always strange when a band with decades under their belt release a self-titled album, I’m almost surprised to find that Diamond Head – Diamond Head isn’t already a thing along with Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath. Yet here we are in 2016 and Diamond Head – Diamond Head is about to drop and from our quick listen, it’s worthy of the prestigious name.
It’s been a good while since we’ve last seen a new Diamond Head album, it’s almost ten years since 2007’s What’s in your Head? and in that time we’ve seen a new singer come into the fold. This is Rasmus Bon Anderson’s debut release as Diamond Head’s frontman and he doesn’t waste the opportunity. From his first notes in Bones, with its James Bond reminiscent main riff, you get the impression he could have been in the band for years.
This is the theme of the album. It is reminiscent of those early Diamond Head albums in sound, yet they aren’t entirely reliant on their own history to carry them forward. Not only do they have the new voice of the band, but the lyrics accompanying them are fitting in the current climate while the music itself draws some influence from modern (and not so modern) peers.
This isn’t to say it’s all brand spanking new. Shout at the Devil (not that Shout at the Devil, I was wondering as well), has a NWOBHM intro that will rocket older listeners back to their youth and younger listeners back to an era they just know from these classic riffs while All The Reasons You Live visits a grungier, Alice in Chains type world.
It’s hard to be a metal fan and not have Diamond Head appearing somewhere in your day to day life. From the thrash giants to the small power metal bands throwing out iterations of Mars: The Bringer of War/Am I Evil, the influence of that riff has spread through the genre. It makes brief appearances even in this album, Our Time Is Now has a brief flirtation with the riff while Brian Tatler’s now famous solo has echoes throughout the album. The solo section for Speed would comfortably fit into Lightning era recordings, as would the bouncy solo for Bones.
Despite the big key backing of the closing track, Silence, the overall recording is a very raw and stripped back sound. In a world of multi-multi-multi-track recordings, effects and orchestrations, there’s something refreshing about a straight ahead metal band. No sub-genres, no attempts to break the meaning of metal apart, just good old fashioned riffs. Riffs are one thing we’re not short of I should add. From the clean into distorted See You Rise through to the old school sound of Blood on my Hands, we’re fully encamped in riff territory.
Diamond Head – Diamond Head isn’t particularly breaking new ground for metal, but when you helped make the foundations you don’t have to worry about the rest (unless you’re a builder, then you sort of do). Yet for all that this is a classic Diamond Head sounding album, the evolution of sound is clear to hear from the start. This is an album that will appeal to both old and new Diamond Head fans, and with any luck, will help give them the recognition they fully deserve.
Diamond Head – Diamond Head will be out via Dissonance on April 22nd
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