Being a young metal fan growing up in South Wales in the early 80s, we had an abundance of places to to search for music: HMV, independent record shops like Musiquarium, Roxcene Records and Spillers to name a few, we were spoilt for choice. Even our local Woolworths had a fantastic array of rock music at cheap, silly prices and it became a frequent haunt on a Saturday afternoon.
It was in Woolies whilst searching that I came across an album cover that instantly caught my attention by a band I had read of in Kerrang! (when it was a proper rock/metal magazine). That album was Borrowed Time, I took a chance because of that cassette cover, and for the next three to four years that album became a daily favourite in my Walkman.
34 Years later and I am seeing Diamond Head live for the first time at a bikers rock club in the heart of the South Wales valleys. A rather compact venue to say the least but The Patriot has had some fantastic bands over the years and continues to keep rock/metal alive in these parts by only charging £7 to see one of the founders of the NWOBHM, no wonder it is sold out at that price.
Opening tonight’s onslaught was a three pronged attack of older songs ‘Play It Loud”, ‘Borrowed Time’ sandwiching new number ‘Shout at the Devil’, with current vocalist Rasmus Bom Andersen wasting no time in getting the crowd singing the chorus of Borrowed Time.
Brian Tatler, with his trademark Les Paul, reeled off riff after riff of classic songs, jolting me into remembering just how many great songs Diamond Head have actually written, with Tatler also not being given the recognition he deserves as a guitarist.
All too often Diamond Head are remembered for Metallica covering their song and not being given the credit they deserve for the likes of ‘Shoot Out The Lights’, ‘It’s Electric’, ‘To Heaven From Hell’, ‘Lighting To The Nations.’… they were all played tonight in a set that lasted well over an hour and a half.
The band seem to have found a great frontman in Rasmus with a very likeable personality and a very strong voice, though at times it was lost in the mix. He looked like he was loving every minute of being onstage, almost too much when chest jumping into bassist Eddie Moohan.
The strength of the new material has to be mentioned. The aforementioned ‘Shout At The Devil’, ‘Bones’ and ‘All The Reason To Live’ sit well amongst the classics which are the highlight of the set. ‘Set My Soul On Fire’ with the heavy creeping opening riff from Brian and Abbz building throughout the song, in time with Rasmus soaring vocals, is a song every bit as good as anything off their early albums.
‘In The Heat Of The Night’ and ‘The Prince’ followed before they briefly left the stage to a rousing call from the crowd for more. That song…otherwise known as ‘Am I Evil’ is still as good as it was all those years ago with Karl beating out that dark regimental beat while Brian teased us with that dark foreboding intro sending all the denim cut-off wearers in the crowd into a frenzy of headbanging while shouting back the chorus.
My only little gripe was that Rasmus was sounding more like Hetfield singing it rather in his own voice which I think would have suited it more than the original version. Am I Evil should be spoken in the same breath as Maiden’s ‘Number Of The Beast’ as it is a bonafide classic metal song.
Diamond Head should be playing to bigger crowds and on bigger stages than tonight, and on this evidence I have no doubt that they soon will be.
While they will always be known as one of the frontrunners in the NWOBHM, tonight they showed they still have a relevance in todays metal/rock circuit with a new album that stacks up well against any of their classic releases. Diamond Head proved they are still a bonafide metal band.
Play It Loud /Shout At The Devil /Borrowed Time / Bones /Shoot Out The Lights / It’s Electric / All The Reasons You Live / To The Devil His Due / In The Heat Of The Night / To Heaven From Hell /Set My Soul On Fire / Lightning To The Nations / The Prince / Am I Evil / Helpless / Streets Of Gold
Review and photos by Darren Griffiths
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WARM RAIN Here Comes The Rain Again (Rain Recordings)
DARWIN Cosmic Rays (indie)
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12:00-13:00 WHITESNAKE Flesh & Blood (Frontiers)
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