Diamond Head – Lightning to the Nations

ARTIST: Diamond Head 

TITLE: Lightning to the Nations (The White Album)

YEAR RELEASED: 1980

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: Sweet and Innocent (#39 UK Indie)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The Prince, Am I Evil?, It’s Electric, Helpless

LINEUP: Sean Harris, Brian Tatler, Colin Kimberly, Duncan Scott

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: An album from a small band in the UK inspired many cover versions due to tape trading.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Diamon Head was part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, but unlike some bands they struggled to find a record company that would sign them. So they recorded their best songs, pressed them on their own label, and sold them at their shows.

The record got them noticed, and people traded tapes of the album and sent them all around the world. That’s how Metallica heard them and recorded some of their tracks as B-sides. This got them noticed, and soon enough they were signed.

The record definitely is worth the underground hype, and then some. The seven tracks feature riffs a plenty, fast tempos, intricate solos, and the swagger and heft that metal needs. 

One can hear how this record, little known at first and heard only on tapes made from tapes, inspired metal heads in the US to go faster and more intricate. It should be on any music fans list of records that inspired 80’s metal.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: At first, 100 copies were pressed, then another 1,000. The cover was blank because their manager could print blank sleeves at no cost. The first pressing didn’t have song titles on the cover either, and Lightning for the Nations was chosen as the title by others since it was the first track.

The tapes were sent to Germany for a pressing, but never came back. Some faulty remixes were released on CD before they finally found the tapes again and that’s what’s streaming now. They also re-did the album in 2020 but you don’t need that.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with a B-side and their singles that bridged to their second album. Those show why their career derailed quickly, as they tried to get more commercial, slicker and less metal. They also re-recorded songs from this record. Sigh.

GRADE: A: It fit right in there with Iron Maiden, and is still a classic of the NWOBHM.

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