Diamond Head’s importance to heavy metal culture is undeniable, when they formed in 1976 and released their self-financed demos just in time for the NWOBHM in 1979, they were just four lads from Stourbridge with a passion and a chemistry that resulted in some of metals most revered anthems. When they originally released the debut album Lightning to the Nations in 1980, it was through independent label Happy Face Records. There were 1000 copies pressed in a plain white sleeve with no title or track listings.  250 copies sported signatures of the band. The album features the classic line up of Sean Harris: Vocals, Brian Tatler: Guitar, Duncan Scott:Drums, & Colin Kimberly: Bass.

There have been earlier attempts to put out a definitive version of Lightning including Metal Blade’s 1993 CD release, this, however, was not the original version, it was a pretty ropey remix with poor mastering. After Metallica’s Lars Ulrich got involved in getting the original quarter inch master tapes back to guitarist Brian Tatler in the early 90s, Tatler has guarded them with his life. They were thought lost in Germany until Ulrich flexed some Q Prime shaped biceps. This 2022 release features the entire album remastered from those tapes as well as alternative mixes of The Prince, Lightning to the Nations, Sucking my Love, Am I Evil?, and Sweet and Innocent.

The tapes have been painstakingly restored by being baked, yes baked, before current Diamond Head frontman Rasmus ‘Ras’ Bom Andersen took on the remastering process. There are also bonus tracks that were recorded in the 80s. There are also detailed liner notes from Tatler. It really is a lovely package of a much-loved album which thoroughly deserves this level of detail.

We all know how much this album influenced the next generation of metal bands, most notably Metallica and Megadeth. Metallica famously covered and recorded tracks from Lightning and Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine guested on Diamond Head’s 1993 album Death and Progress. This album also featured a guest spot from Sabbath’s Tony Iommi. This latest version of Lightning really feels like the album that Diamond Head wanted to release 42 years ago. It is a must have for all fans of the band, and it features some fantastic new artwork which is based on an idea from Tatler to show a character referred to as ‘The Lightning God’.

The album is available on double CD, a deluxe 180g triple vinyl, a single 180g vinyl containing just the remastered album, and of course it will be available on all streaming platforms.

I was lucky enough to catch the latest incarnation of Diamond Head at the Steelhouse Festival in the summer and they were fantastic. They actually shook the ground! They are out on tour with Saxon throughout Europe and the UK in October and November. I hope to see them again soon. They really are a heavy metal institution; long may they continue to delight audiences around the world.

Buy Here

Author: Kenny Kendrick

11 November – Ipswich, Regent Theatre
12 November – Southampton O2 Guildhall
13 November – Bexhill, De La Warr Pavilion
14 November – Cardiff, St. David’s Hall
15 November – Bath, Forum
16 November – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
18 November – Newcastle, O2 City Hall
19 November – Blackburn, King George’s Hall
20 November – Aberdeen, Music Hall
21 November – Glasgow, Barrowland
22 November – Hull, City Hall
23 November – York, Barbican
25 November – Leicester, De Montfort Hall
26 November – London, Roundhouse

For UK tickets visit: https://myticket.co.uk/artists/saxon