Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations
And this time... "Lightning to the Nations", the debut album of "Diamond Head" which was released on October 3, 1980.
How does an album that was recorded, produced, and distributed with self-funding and without any help from the record companies, an album whose cover was white and did not include a title or even the band's name or list of songs, become such an influential album, a "classic"? All this in the following review:
So for those unfamiliar, "Diamond Head" is one of the bands that influenced the thrash metal genre, especially bands like "Metallica" and "Megadeth".
"Diamond Head" was founded in 1976 in the town of "Stourbridge" in England, by two high school students, leading guitarist Brian Tatler and drummer Duncan Scott. The two joined singer and rhythm guitarist Sean Harris and bassist Colin Kimberley and began performing in local pubs.
In 1979, the band managed to record a self-funded demo tape. The tape was sent to several record companies, but the band did not manage to sign a recording contract. Instead, they managed to attract the attention of a loyal audience that accompanied it, as it warmed up bands like "AC/DC" and "Iron Maiden".
In 1980, the band released their first single "Shoot Out the Lights", which was also self-funded, after no record company offered them a recording contract. It should be understood that at that time punk dominated the UK and record companies were not yet happy to sign new heavy metal bands, but that soon changed with the blossoming of the "New wave of British heavy metal".
It is interesting to note, that the second side to the same single was "Helpless", which 7 years later will receive a cover version of "Metallica" on the album "The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited". Watch "Diamond Head" perform the song in a rare recording from 1979:
Unfortunately, even the first single released did not help the band get a proper contract. But they didn't give up down and decided to record and produce their first album themselves. The person who helped finance the recordings at the time was Sean Harris' mother, Linda. Knowing the potential the band had, she believed that recording the self-funded album would make it easier for the band to get a contract with a major record company.
The album was released on October 3, 1980. It came out in a smooth white cover with the signatures of the four band members on it. No caption of the band name, no title, no songs list to help identify "what's inside the jar". This was because the band director Reg Fellows owned a ticket factory and could produce the cover at a very low price.
Initially, only 1,000 copies were produced and sold during the band's performances. In the absence of any title to the album, some fans called it "The White Album" and some others simply gave it the name of the first song from it - "Lightning to the Nations" and that's how the album actually got its name.
This album became a heavy metal classic as he rode the wave of "New wave of British heavy metal" and the new bands that followed. Although in real time the band failed to break out commercially as did their colleagues, including "Iron Maiden", the album became critically acclaimed, including that of Geoff Barton of "Sounds" magazine who hailed the album by noting that only one "Diamond Head" song has more fine riffs than the entire "Black Sabbath" first album.
Not only that critics praised the album, but it became a cult album, especially among the artists themselves, led by "Metallica" who performed no less than five songs out of the 10 songs on the album, and even recorded a large part of them: "The Prince", "Sucking My Love", "Am I Evil ?", "It's Electric" and "Helpless", so it undoubtedly influenced Metallica's sound and style.
The album featured classics of heavy metal and immortal riffs, from the melodic riffs of the theme song, through the galloping rhythm that "Iron Maiden" would embrace and perfect, from "The Prince" to the 10-minute epic "Sucking My Love", "Diamond Head" simply created an impactful history here with the revival of an entire genre.
But the highlight of the album is undoubtedly "Am I Evil?", Whos simply surpassed all others. An immortal and mesmerizing work that did not age a bit, so it is clear why it became a "Metallica" hit. Come and watch "Diamond Head" perform it here:
Interesting to note that over the years, the band released a significant number of B-sides, so this album's reissues include 14 tracks and not 10 that were in the original release.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the album, the band released an updated version of the album in which the songs were re-recorded with the band's new lineup. In addition, several cover versions were recorded for songs by "Led Zeppelin", "Deep Purple" and "Judas Priest", as well as for Metallica's "No Remorse", as a kind of gesture for the covers they made for "Diamond Head" songs.