Does the world really need a new Diamond Head album in 2016? Don’t get me wrong, their early 80’s contributions to the NWOBHM cannon are classics—particularly their 1980 debut, Lightning to the Nations—but this is hardly the same band. Guitarist Brian Tatler is the only original member, and while we chastise the likes of Black Sabbath and AC/DC for some of their replacement choices, it’s worth noting that Diamond Head brought in its current singer in 2014. So, this isn’t like Satan, a similar British outfit, who reunited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their iconic album—and came out with a cracking comeback record, to boot. Instead, this self-titled record, 35 years after the fact, does little to cement Diamond Head’s legacy.
Don’t get me wrong, this is some pretty decent traditional metal, but it lacks the electricity of the band’s earlier work. They’re hardly breaking new ground here—there’s even a song called “Shout at the Devil,” for Beelzebub’s sake! But Tatler’s riffs still capture that early NWOBHM feeling, crunching and soaring in all the right places. And the new guy can sing, even if he’s no Sean Harris (that would be the original frontman, hardly a household name).
I guess this does have a place amongst the retro metal revivalists. And hey, if it gives ‘em the chance to bust out “Helpless” or “Am I Evil?” on a stage somewhere, that isn’t a bad thing. But I would definitely listen to the early stuff before giving this one a spin—it’s really not the same outfit.