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Diamond Head – The Coffin Train Award winner

Diamond Head
The Coffin Train
by Rachel Montgomery at 16 July 2019, 8:12 PM

DIAMOND HEAD needs no introduction for many metal fans; one of the forerunners of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWBHM) and a major influence on Thrash Metal bands such as MEGADETH and especially METALLICA (who famously covered DIAMOND HEAD’s most well-known song “Am I Evil”), they have been a mainstay in the Metal world for decades. However, with the exception of guitarist Brian Tatler, their current lineup has changed over the years, with their newer members coming on in the 2000's.

After all these years, do they still have it? Short answer: yes, and then some. DIAMOND HEAD incorporates their original style with more contemporary choices, keeping their music fresh and amazing while staying true to who they are. From their first track, they show off their classic side. I got a distinct MOTÖRHEAD vibe from their opening riffs. The vocalist is clean and has great control of his upper register. Even in their early days, the clear quality their singer had is rare for a band like this; there’s no raspy voice, no pitchy high range, just clear, quality singing, and like Dio and Bruce Dickinson, they set the bar for vocals in the Power Metal genre.

I absolutely love the riff on “The Messenger.” The change into the main melody is a really nice touch with a rocking song and a roaring chorus. I also enjoy the good mix of the songs overall; no two songs sound the same right after each other. The first few tracks go from traditional 80s Metal to Thrash to anthemic to an almost 90s Grunge sound on “Shades of Black.” The vocalist’s lower register reminded me of Chris Cornell. I also enjoyed the pacing of the song; it starts off slower, but quickens and heightens as the song goes on.

I’m not sure why they split “The Sleeper” into two different tracks; it would be a good split on a vinyl record, as the prelude would be the end of Side A, and would create a cliffhanger for Side B. It’s still one of my favorite tracks on the album, as it utilizes some creative key and melody changes with some nice, broken chords, making a hard, melodic sound which is wonderful. They follow it up with a simpler, fist-pumping number, “Death by Design”, and then a slower song that marries a 90's Grunge sound to an 80's aesthetic in a unique way. For that reason, “Serrated Love” is another one of my favorite songs on the album since it shows the innovative way the band blends styles.

Overall, DIAMOND HEAD was a pioneer in Metal: a wonderful band then, and a wonderful band today.

Songwriting: 10
Production: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Belly of the Beast
2. The Messenger
3. The Coffin Train
4. Shades of Black
5. The Sleeper (Prelude)
6. The Sleeper
7. Death by Design
8. Serrated Love
9. The Phoenix
10. Until We Burn
Brian Tatler – Guitars
Rasmus Bom Andersen – Vocals
Karl Wilcox – Drums
Dean Ashton – Bass
Andy “Abbz” Abberley – Guitars
Record Label: Silver Lining Music


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Edited 05 December 2019

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