Seemingly dogged by bad luck throughout Diamond Head remain one of the truly seminal bands of the NWOBHM influencing many later day bands like Metallica and Megadeth.
This value for money collection contains their two MCA albums, rare cuts and a further disc of life performances from 1982.
I was fortunate to experience the band live on numerous occasions throughout the early eighties as they travelled up and down the country in support of a clutch of exceptional singles and their magnificent debut album.
The band struggled to get signed to a major label despite rave reviews in the music press and an ever growing fan base before finally getting their big break with a contract with MCA.
Let us start at the beginning or rather their second album and major label debut "Borrowed Time".
Featuring two tracks re-recorded from their independently released first album "Lightning to the Nations" the album suffers heavily from a dreadful production at the hands of Mike Hedges who in seemingly trying to tart up the bands sound for a more commercial audience manages instead to suck the life blood out of the songs (which are still top drawer mind) by dint of an anaemic drum and bass sound.
Reading the liner notes I find that MCA spent more money on the gate-fold sleeve producution than they did on the music which in fairness I think we'd all plump for ,after all you don't want anyone to listen to the bloody thing do you?
Luckily three of the albums tracks feature immediately afterwards included from a Radio 1 session where they obviously got somebody in who had seen a guitar before to produce it and the results are excellent, why, you can actually hear the bass and drums and they sound all thumpy and everything.
If I'm being unkind it's just that I'm reliving a personal nightmare of dissapointment from back in the days when I had hair and could see my feet when I looked down I felt sorry for the band then and I still do now.
The songs to reiterate are exemplary and the album sold quite well so that was nice.
The first cd also features three of the tracks from the "Four Cuts" EP amongst which is one of my personal favorites "Dead Reckoning" wonderful stuff!
Their second MCA album is up next and I think it's fair to say certainly amongst my gang of head banging mates it certainly polarised opinion.
"Canterbury" is an album pulling in two different directions , one being the commercial pop-metal side of "Makin Music" and "I need your Love" and the swords and Sorcery style epics like "To the Devil his due" (a live favorite) and "Knight of the swords" at the time of its release I was sorely dissapointed but the years have been kind to the album and I like it a lot more now.
However this being Diamond Head nothing seemed to run smoothly and both Drummer Duncan Scott and Bass player/ Human whirlwind Colin Kimberley were ejected/left the band during this period.
One thing I must make clear to the faint hearted amongst you is that sadly this album features keyboards, I know what you're thinking "what's wrong with Keyboards" and normally i'd agree with you, visions of banks of keyboards wreathed in dry ice with a Don Airey or the like would have been fine , added a bit of depth to the sound perhaps.
Unfortunately the sounds within are again wishy washy and anaemic sounding and conjure up instead visions of a red coated pill box hat wearing simian dancing and holding a tin mug or in turn a particularly hung over Elton John Impersonator in a Skegness wine bar.Truly horrid.
And don't get me started on the 12" remix of "Makin Music" enclosed which can still bring me to tears today.
And not tears of joy either.
I saw the band on tour promoting the album again and was horrified to witness a bass player with short hair PLAYING SLAP BASS! Plus a keyboard player with his sleeves rolled to half mast like Miami Vice and for all the world looking like the precurser of John Shuttleworth as he stood proudly before his massed banks of one keyboard.
They couldn't have gone downhill faster if Franz Klammer had been managing the band.
I Blame the management which in all fairness is also aluded to in the liner notes.
The last cd is a collection of live performances from 1982 and again my favorite NWOBHM ever do not dissapoint.
Three Cd's of tip top music from a band who truly deserved to be up there with Maiden,Zepplin and Leppard for a tenner is bargain of the century of you ask me and if it sells well and can help patch up the differences between Vocalist Sean Harris and Brilliant guitarist Brian Tatler then great.
on 24 February 2010
This is a comprehensive anthology of all the MCA stuff including the excellent 4 cuts ep.I was surprised at
how good this sounds,a youthful nieve vigour mixed with mature songwriting,no one was quite like Diamond Head!
Duncan scotts drumming on the borrowed time album has been critised but when the songs are top draw you
dont really notice,and in my humble opinion,adds a little charm to the recording.Canterbury was radically different
from the 1st album but they are both equally as good though the bonus stuff on this disc is average.The live disc
is a Treat.I wasn't expecting too much but the sound quality and performances are very good.So,overall, for the
money,this is an absolute steal! For those who have never heard the band,they started off as metal and ended up
a soft rock band with a penchant for musical experimention and upsetting people.They should have been bigger but
didn't play the game.Maybe that should be admired.seen them in 1982.Impressive.Buy!
on 7 January 2010
This band should have been HUGE and are my all time favourite band!
I was at the Reading Festival in 82 where the first part of CD disc 3 is taken from and I thought they were the highlight of the festival and they were not even on the original bill!.
Best tracks on CD 1 track 2 To Heaven From Hell and Track 4 Lightning To The Nations.
CD 2 may not be everyones favourite Diamond Head album and record label tried to force the 'commercial' hits from it but you still won't find too many better songs than One More Night,To The Devil His Due and Knight Of The Swords.
The only problem for me with this fabulous band is the song, sucking my love, great guitar naff lyrics!!
on 21 January 2010
I don't know that I can add much to what's been said here before to be honest, except to underline that this band ruled, they really did, and to re-emphasise that this is about as good a value purchase as you could ever make.