Diamond Head’s “Lightning To The Nations” A NWOBHM Classic
by Jody Haskins for The Laguna Spectator
NWOBHM legends Diamond Head were formed in Stourbridge, England in 1976. If ever there was a Mecca for Heavy Metal it would have to be Stourbridge. Home to Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and just down the road from Birmingham, the home of Black Sabbath. Give one listen to “Lightning To The Nations” and it will become clear Diamond Head were heavily influenced by both bands.
Diamond Head are acknowledged as one of the originators of the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) sound. The musical genre that began around 1979 and gave the world such classic heavy metal bands as Metallica, Saxon, Anthrax, Def Leppard and many more. These bands were raised on the classic hard rock sounds of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and they were hard rock’s answer to disco and the talent less punk music of the late 70s.
While Sean Harris did not quite have the soaring vocal range of Robert Plant, he did have similar moves on stage. Sean Harris also has a way of singing certain lyrics where they sound like something other than what they really are. For example during the chorus of “Sucking My Love” he sings the word “tasty” over and over. I had to look up the lyrics because I couldn’t make out the words. It is sounds like he is singing the words “dance babe”. This particular song is my favorite because it has an infectious, rhythmic guitar riff reminiscent of early Black Sabbath. One might even call it a “tasty” riff. There is no denying that Brian Tatler possesses a guitar style similar to Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. This is also evidenced on their most famous song “Am I Evil”. Harris and Tatler are excellent songwriters and the production quality is top notch for a self produced album.
While fame and fortune eluded them, they did help build the musical bridge between the old school heavy metal of Black Sabbath and the NWOBHM bands such as Anthrax and Saxon.
Metallica openly acknowledge being influenced by Diamond Head and has even recorded three Diamond Head songs: “Sucking My Love”, “Am I Evil” and “The Prince”.
Diamond Head’s debut album “Lightning to the Nations” was released in 1980 through their own independent record label. This has become a highly sought after and valuable album for vinyl record collectors.
Get ready to experience one of the best albums of the NWOBHM movement. The songs are well constructed and heavy sounding. They are also more melodic and textured than some of the NWOBHM bands they influenced. My personal favorite songs are “Sucking My Love” and “Am I Evil”.