Diamond Head - Lightning The Nations [HNE Recordings/ Cherry Red - 2016]Lightning The Nations is one of the cornerstone releases of the NWOBHM scene, a great & near perfect début album, and one of the classic metal albums of 1980’s. Here we have a late 2016 double CD reissue of the album; taking-in the albums original seven tracks on disc one, and on disc two a selection of singles from time.
Diamond Head formed in 1976 in Stourbridge, a large town in the west midlands. Bringing together guitarist Brian Tatler & drummer Duncan Scott, with the line-up finished with fellow school friend Sean Harris on vocals, and bassist Colin Kimberley. The bands sound blended together classic heavy meta/ rock( ala Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin), with more pacey & punchy NWOBHM, and a great ear for classy riff-craft & memorable metal song writting. Thorough-out the late 70’s the band distilled their craft in the live setting, and unlike many up & coming bands they mostly played their own material- which clearly shows both the bands guts, prowess, and ability as great metal songwriters
Lightning The Nations appeared in 1980, on the bands own label Happy Face Records- due to interest, though lack of commitment from major labels. The album brought together seven of the bands own compositions, with the whole album recorded in just a week at The Old Smythy Studio in Worcester in 1979. There’s a few startling things about the album- firstly how confident, fully formed & distinct the band sound. Secondly how ahead-of -it’s-time it sounded- hinting at early trash( both Metallica and Megadeth where big fans), and other later metal sub-genre styles. And lastly the general quality of both the musicianship, great & dramatic metal composition, and memorable- yet never- safe or bland song craft.
Each of the seven tracks is a perfect blend of primal & meaty riff making of Black Sabbath, with the tighter/ no-nonsense song structure of Judas Priest. Adding the more grand & classy elements of Led Zeppelin. Topped off with the punchy, sometimes speed-bound & punky edges of Motorhead & early Iron Maiden. Yet for all their clear nods to past metal bands & their peers of the time, the four piece managed to very much emboss the whole thing with their own sound, power, and flare.
The second disc here takes in another seven tracks, and these feature a selection of single tracks that where released between the years 1980 & 1981. And once again they are all of good quality, though I guess they often feel a little more a blend of the influences, instead of the statement of individuality that Lightning The Nations was. But I guess this maybe be part down to the feeling that the disc is a collection of tracks, instead of a properly sequenced & balanced album
The two discs come in six panel digpak, and this features sixteen page booklet. And this features a eight page write-up about the album & the band. Along with press cuttings, poster, photos, etc. All in all in this is really the definitive CD reissue of this classic, and is really something you must have if you call yourself a metal fan.