Review by Sonny for Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations (1980) Review by Sonny for Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations (1980)

Sonny Sonny / December 23, 2018 / 0

Lightning to the Nations is a classic of British heavy metal and one of the best albums born of the NWOBHM. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, despite the album's legendary status Diamond Head were never really able to build upon it and make the leap to the majors like some of their (arguably less talented) contemporaries. The album's stock rose even further after being cited by Metallica as one of their main influences and the inclusion of four covers of tracks from it on the thrash giant's 1998 Garage Inc. album.

For me, this may actually be one of the most influential UK metal albums ever. What it does better than virtually any other is bridge the gap between the seventies rock giants like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and the young, energetic metal bands fighting their ways out of the various UK council estates they were founded on and in the process laying the groundwork for the future path of metal, be it thrash or power metal.

Every track on this album is a classic (OK, I'll concede that Sweet and Innocent ain't that great) the riffs are exceedingly memorable and infectious and in Sean Harris they had a fantastic vocalist whose reedy, yet quite soulful delivery is right up my street. His vocals on Sucking My Love add a fantastic Zeppelin-esque angle to a great metal track with his Robert Plant-like yeah, yeahs and Brian Tatler's soloing has more than a passing resemblance to Jimmy Page on this track. Elsewhere Tatler exhibits a great affinity for Ritchie Blackmore-style riffing, such as on It's Electric and The Prince kicks off like a track from Purple's legendary Made in Japan live set, something like Highway Star I'm thinking.

And well, I can't ignore it any longer, the absolute beast of a track that is Am I Evil? has got to be one of metal's greatest ever songs and here in 1980 you can already hear the blueprint for thrash metal some two or three years later being set down by these lads from Stourbridge. Although Metallica have almost made the track their own, the impact of the track on offer on Lightning to the Nations cannot be understated back in 1980.

The sheer confidence and competence exhibited on LttN, the marriage of youthful energy and consumate professionalism made for an album that stands proud in the annals of metal history. For my money, literally one of the most important albums in metal.

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