DIAMOND HEAD
"What's In Your Head?"

(Livewire/Cargo)

01. Skin On Skin
02. I Feel No Pain
03. This Planet and Me
04. Reign Supreme
05. Killing Me
06. Tonight
07. Pray For Me
08. What's In Your Head?
09. Nothing To Lose
10. Calling Out
11. Victim

RATING: 4/10

Do you suppose guitarist and DIAMOND HEAD founder Brian Tatler still has Lars Ulrich and Dave Mustaine's phone numbers, and calls them to "you know, just chat, and see if you've got the new CD I sent ya?" Or does he has to go through their managers, who conveniently lose all his messages? I'd hate to be one of the guys whose association has kept the DIAMOND HEAD name marginally marketable after all these years, and have to smile and nod through a conversation about this new snooze-fest of a record, and how the band is coming back "any day now."

New singer Nick Tart's pipes (on their second album with the band) are more AOR than heavy metal, coming off like a Mike Reno or maybe — maybe — a Joey Belladonna. That fits the music here, generic hard rock crunch straight out of the soundtrack to a direct-to-video action flick. Any lean and hungry New Wave of British Heavy Metal tendencies have long since been replaced by staid, formulaic middle-of-the-road riffing, bland production and plodding rhythms. "Killing Me" generates a feeble spark of interest with its prog-lite opening and driving chorus, but it's the best of a bad lot, calling to mind forgettable Glenn Tipton solo work or the worst Tony Martin-era SABBATH. There's nothing overtly wrong with "What's In Your Head?", nothing that sticks out and really stinks up the joint – you almost wish there would be, because it'd be a respite from the unrelenting tap-water sub-DEF LEPPARD dullness of it all.

DIAMOND HEAD are playing the kind of amiably shitty journeyman's rock that fills the record collection of a dwindling number of completists around the globe, music made by dudes who barely even saw the brass ring, but who are trundling through middle age still sucking in beer guts and facing a daily battle with the fact that they have no other life skills to fall back on. It doesn't have to be like this — DEEP PURPLE and SAXON alone prove that you can be old and British and still rock without embarrassing yourself. But DIAMOND HEAD are just out to lunch here, and it's impossible to care. Are you evil? No, no you're not.

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