Ah, good old Diamond Head. Without a doubt, a band whose career should have been so much more than it turned out. If you’ve read Brian Tatler’s autobiography, you’ll know how their early career was dogged by a series of poor business decisions that saw the band take more wrong turns than a Polish trucker following his Sat Nav in West Wales, which culminated in their demise for several years with Tatler reduced to playing in a Thin Lizzy cover band to make ends meet.
Thankfully, today Diamond Head are probably as well regarded as they ever have been, although the days of headlining Hammersmith Odeon are well gone. If you’ve seen the band live in recent times, you’ll know that the current line-up is sleek, professional, and incredibly enjoyable to watch.
Diamond Head – Lightning To The Nations (The White Album) [Remastered 2021]
Release Date: 30 September 2022
Words: Paul Hutchings
Originally released in 1980, Lightning To The Nations was an impressive debut. The line-up of Tatler, Sean Harris, Duncan Scott and Colin Kimberley produced a seven-track album that contained songs that remain pivotal to their live set today. It was re-recorded with the current line-up in 2020 and released in 2021.
This latest version is dubbed “the ultimate version” and features the original album remastered by current vocalist Rasmus Bom Anderson and the lost original mixes, drawn from ¼ inch master tapes, which are reputed to have been retrieved by Tatler with the assistance of Lars Ulrich back in 1990 when the Metallica drummer was working with journalist Geoff Barton to compile a tenth-anniversary NWOBHM release.
In addition, the package features a selection of bonus tracks along with liner notes penned by Tatler.
Call me a cynic if you want, but there seems to be little to get excited about with this release. There have already been several versions of Lightning To The Nations made available over the past couple of decades, including the precursor to this release way back in 2011. The songs are well known and familiar even to those who don’t purport to be fans of the band. I know many people who’d rather stick needles in their ears than listen to Am I Evil? ever again. I’m not quite as sick of their most famous song, but I can see their point of view.
The Lost original mixes that are the main draw here are okay, but they plod in comparison to the remastered versions’ power and pace. The title track lacks the punch of the remaster, although you can hear the quality that Harris possessed back then. The production is unsurprisingly muffled.
The bonus version of Shoot Out The Lights illustrates the spark that the band had generated in 1980, but ultimately, it’s all a bit pedestrian and dated. Does the bonus selection bring anything extra to the table? I find it hard to believe that they do and although this may be badged as the ultimate version, apart from the lost mixes, there is nothing here that hasn’t already been released.
Streets of Gold, Play It Loud and the other bonus songs featured here showed a decline in the quality of writing, with nothing really challenging the tracks on Lighting To The Nations.
With the current line-up having released the fabulous Coffin Train in 2019, one can’t help wondering why instead of relying on the promotion of another version of songs that are now over four decades old, Diamond Head cannot instead invest their time and energy into delivering more new music.
That would certainly help this old cynic, who, despite the sourness here, will still be ready for them when they step out this November in support of the mighty Saxon on their Seize The Day tour.
Lightning To The Nations (The White Album) [Remastered 2021] will be released as a double CD, a deluxe 180 gms gatefold triple-vinyl edition containing the original album remastered, the lost mixes and the bonus tracks.
There will also be a single vinyl edition of just the remastered album, also on 180 gms. The complete recordings will also be available to stream and download.
2 October – FRANCE – Paris, Trianon
3 October – NETHERLANDS – Tilburg, 013
4 October – GERMANY – Hannover, Capitol
6 October – GERMANY – Berlin, Admiralspalast
7 October – GERMANY – Munich, Muffathalle
8 October – GERMANY – Offenbach, Capitol
10 October – ITALY – Milan, Alcatraz
11 October – SWITZERLAND – Pratteln Z7
12 October – BELGIUM – Antwerp, Trix
13 October – NETHERLANDS – Haarlem, Patronaat
15 October – DENMARK – Aarhus, Train
17 October – SWEDEN – Gothenburg, Pustervik
18 October – NORWAY – Oslo, Rockefeller
19 October – DENMARK – Copenhagen, Amager Bio
21 October – NETHERLANDS – Zwolle, Hedon
22 October – FRANCE – Metz, La Bam
23 October – SWITZERLAND – Lausanne, Les Docks