Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations 2020
Silver Lining Music
11 songs (60' 59")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Andy

The revitalized Diamond Head, now finally with a vocalist who is able to approach the power that the White Album's Sean Harris was capable of, has finally taken on a more ambitious task than writing some new albums that bring back some of the old sound. The re-recording of their classic album would be an easy thing to ruin, but though I still prefer the older style, the new lineup performs their rendition well and even gives some of the classic songs a new dimension to enjoy.

Let's first talk about the sound. It's more modern, like the last two albums, with more sonic tricks than were available to the band in 1980: The band is happy to use them. A few critics have complained that it sounds like they're covering the Metallica versions of their own songs, but I'm pretty sure that what they're really hearing is just a Brian Tatler who's 40 years older and a vocalist half his age who almost certainly heard the Garage Inc. version of the songs before he heard the original. Given that, it comes as a surprise (though it shouldn't if you've heard the last two albums) how capable Andersen's muscular voice is in taking on Harris's role, rolling effortlessly all over the vocal range. His vocals aren't a copy of Harris's and the differences are more apparent on this album; they're a lot more like Chris Cornell's than like James Hetfield's. And they fit, mostly. The one that turned me off the most is It's Electric, in which the band seems less certain and smooth than they do on the other tracks; Andersen does his usual job of bailing out the others with a heavier delivery, but with the 1980 version in mind his efforts fall flat this time. That's a one-off, though; the versions of Sucking My Love and Am I Evil?, for example, are smooth and ferocious.

The album somehow seems a little slower and less staccato than the 1980 version, with a fuller sound. Tatler's playing is front and center, beautifully produced, but the rest of the band is also top-notch. Their distortion style is definitely more modern, too, but they fit right in with this interpretation of the album. The drums are heavier and there's more emphasis on the double-kick on the fast NWOBHM choruses.

The other reason I picked this up was to hear the covers. They've got four covers, two of their predecessors (Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin), one of a contemporary (Judas Priest), and the band they may have influenced most (Metallica). Surprisingly, the last is their worst: No Remorse, which is way too gritty for the band to pull off, is ruined by their lack of experience with thrash metal. They might have done better with Jump in the Fire, which a very young Metallica actually tried to make into a Diamond Head-style song on their early demo tapes. Immigrant Song and Rat Bat Blue are still not as good as the originals, but the band has a better feel for these 70s hard rock tunes than they did for No Remorse. The one they really nail is Sinner; the band's style is a good match for the driving NWOBHM song and Andersen can take on the Halford shrieks without even breaking a sweat.

It's near-impossible to recapture the level of excitement of such a classic album, and Lightning to the Nations 2020 shouldn't get evaluated as such, but the band does an excellent job with it. As an interesting take on the classic by the new lineup, it succeeds, and that's probably as good as they were going to get.

Killing Songs :
The Prince, Sucking My Love, and Am I Evil? are my favorites
Andy quoted no quote
Other albums by Diamond Head that we have reviewed:
Diamond Head - The Coffin Train reviewed by Andy and quoted 87 / 100
Diamond Head - Diamond Head reviewed by Andy and quoted 84 / 100
Diamond Head - All Will Be Revealed reviewed by Mike and quoted 70 / 100
Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations reviewed by Mike and quoted CLASSIC
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