DIAMOND HEAD - Lightning to the Nations

Lightning to the Nations FORMAT: CD
REALEASE DATE: 03.10.1980
USERS RATING: 17 votes

Top 1980: #9
Diamond Head more
Nick Tart - voce
Brian Tatler - chitara
Colin Kimberly - bas
Duncan Scott - tobe

01. Lightning to the Nations02. The Prince03. Sucking My Love04. Am I Evil?05. Sweet and Innocent06. It's Electric07. Helpless

Lightning to the Nations is an album you know very well, even if you never listened to it. And I say this because 4 of its 7 songs were covered by Metallica on various singles and EPs, all finally released as Garage, Inc. (1998): Am I Evil?, The Prince, It's Electric and Helpless.


To understand the true importance of the debut album of Diamond Head, one must see the songs in their original version and the original context. So let’s do an exercise in imagination: forget Metallica’s cover versions (not because they’re bad) and imagine you’re in England in 1980. From the beginning of the year you’ve had the new albums AC/DC - Back in Black, Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell, Motorhead - Ace of Spades, Angel Witch - Angel Witch, Whitesnake - Ready an' Willing, Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz, Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden, Saxon -Wheels of Steel and Judas Priest - British Steel. It has been indeed a very good year for rock but you still haven’t seen it all. One evening, a friend returns from a show and brings you a record wrapped in a simple cardboard cover, without any graphics or title. You play it on the turntable, and as soon as you hear the chords of the first song, you realize that you’ve found the connection between the great bands of the last decades and what the press calls “New Wave of British Heavy Metal”.


The music of Lightning to the Nations is extremely complex, with tens of riffs and rhythm changes, but is also direct and aggressive. It contains an almost perfect dosage of melody and force, in a way in which Metallica and Megadeth would excel in a few years. In their original versions, The Prince contains Hammond parts and sounds as if played by a demented relative of Deep Purple, Am I Evil proves to be a true suite in 4 parts and one of the best heavy metal pieces, It’s Electric sounds like American hard rock, and Helpless sounds ferocious. The other, less-known 3 tracks are as good; for instance, Metallica did not bother to cover Sucking My Love but they simply took it and turned it into Seek & Destroy.


It is almost incredible how the debut of a few young men that had just came out of their teens (to be honest they did have a few years of exercise playing in clubs) has such quality and maturity. In the “do it yourself” spirit of the time, the album was independently released, by their own record label, with minimum costs, in only about 1,000 copies, distributed at shows or by mail. A few copies were sent to musical magazines, and people were enthusiastic. A famous remark by Geoff Barton – editor at Sounds Magazine, the one who coined the term NWOBHM and would later found Kerrang! magazine – has remained famous: any Diamond Head has more good riffs than the first four Black Sabbath albums taken together; similarly, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden saw in them the future Led Zeppelin.


Unfortunately, Diamond Head did not manage to continue what they started with their debut album and disappeared after only 2 years. They resurfaced in the early 90s, resurrected by their Metallica disciples, and still exist today, albeit with a much changed lineup.

What we are left with is an exceptional album and the regret for what might have been.

Gedi more Nota: 10

Posted at 12:04 |  30 Noiembrie 2010  | 2 Comments  | 5890 Views

Comment on: Lightning to the Nations

  • Metallica a facut cover si dupa piesa Sucking My Love, aparut pe Ron McGovney's '82 Garage Demo

    1. Posted by Ishmael | 07 Decembrie 2010 10:14
  • niste magari

    2. Posted by Geralt de Rivia | 07 Decembrie 2010 19:14

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