When DIAMOND HEAD first released "Lightning To The Nations" four decades ago in 1980, few could have predicted the importance it would carry with regards to heavy metal's new wave and sound. Stacked and packed with riffs, "Lightning To The Nations" would be one of the prime catalysts for a movement known as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM).
Reimagined, rerecorded, and reborn in 2020, DIAMOND HEAD's forthcoming 40-year celebration of their genre-defining debut album is a scintillating shot of fresh metal energy. With "Lightning To The Nations 2020" nearing release, listeners will soon experience not only the rare phenomenon of crisp, fresh, and new sounding songs with very little of the obvious original elements altered, they will also be treated to four supreme cover tracks, including songs from LED ZEPPELIN, JUDAS PRIEST, DEEP PURPLE... And in prime position stands METALLICA's "No Remorse".
With DIAMOND HEAD having featured so heavily in METALLICA's early career, the cover of "No Remorse" seems especially appropriate. Accompanying the release of this monumental track, DIAMOND HEAD also unveil their thought-provoking animated video, created and directed by Costin Chioreanu.
"I wanted to cover a song from METALLICA's debut album, 'Kill 'Em All'," explains founding member Brian Tatler, "partly because METALLICA covered songs from DIAMOND HEAD's debut album 'Lightning To The Nations' and it felt like things have come full circle to me. None of the band members knew how to play any of the songs from 'Kill 'Em All', and I eventually decided we should all learn 'No Remorse'. Then when we got into the rehearsal room, we played 'No Remorse' and immediately it just sounded great; it was very 'DIAMOND HEAD' and it really suited us as a band. Of the four covers we ended up doing, 'No Remorse' sounded the best straight away. I've seen METALLICA live over twenty times and they don't play 'No Remorse' very often, but it's always great when they do!"
"Of all the four covers, we almost didn't have to work on 'No Remorse'," furthers singer and producer Rasmus Bom Andersen. "We all had to learn the parts, and it's very difficult to play, but in rehearsal it did sound fantastic and we thought: 'yeah, yeah, it's gonna be mega.' It was almost surreal when we did it because it just felt incredibly familiar."
"Lightning To The Nations 2020" is being released today (Friday, November 20) via Silver Lining Music in CD digipak, double gatefold vinyl, and digital formats as well as special D2C bundles.
As the fortieth anniversary loomed, "Lightning To The Nations"' resonance and importance are since long-established, which meant a celebration was in order and Tatler, alongside Andersen, knew exactly what they wanted to do. "We thought it'd be great to re-record the debut album with this lineup and the modern technology available," says Tatler. "The original album was recorded and mixed in a week, and we were very young; still 19-20 years old when it was recorded, so there's a lot of that youthful energy. But we didn't have the technique, time, or craftsmanship to record it with the sort of power that we could now. So that was a real thing to savor: the opportunity to go in the studio and record these songs fresh and vibrant."
"Lightning To The Nations 2020" is an achievement along those lines and then some. It is, quite simply, a scintillating shot of fresh metal energy, with DIAMOND HEAD utilizing all their skill, experience, and revitalized energy to breathe so much new life into these freshly recorded takes that it feels like experiencing the earth shaking all over again.
Recorded over several sessions between various locations from France to band member home studios, "Lightning To The Nations 2020"'s central hub was Andersen's Raw Sound Studios in London. It's where Tatler and Andrew "Abbz" Abberley did the guitars in February and March of this year. With the COVID-19 chaos striking, Andersen worked on the album between April and July, with Tatler's watchful ear inspecting final mixes and tweaks in early August before sending off to mastering at Metropolis Studios. It is, however, fair to say that the crunch, scream, and crackle of the production is yet another feather in Andersen's producer hat.
"Lightning To The Nations" 2020 track listing:
01. Lightning To The Nations
02. The Prince
03. Sucking My Love
04. Am I Evil?
05. Sweet And Innocent
06. It's Electric
08. No Remorse
09. Immigrant Song
11. Rat Bat Blue
DIAMOND HEAD is:
Brian Tatler - lead, rhythm guitars
Rasmus Bom Andersen - vocals, orchestration, additional guitars
Karl Wilcox - drums
Andrew "Abbz" Abberley - rhythm, lead guitars
Dean Ashton - bass, organ
Photo credit: Nic Gaunt