Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Diamond Head, Diamond State: Metal greats play Mojo 13

Remember Anvil? Remember how the Canadian metal band's story emerged out of nowhere as something important back in 2008, and how the "rockumentary" "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" - which somehow captured every dramatic and important moment on the band's comeback tour - came out and was on VH1 Classic practically every day?

Clearly, there's video and testimonials to support the fact that Anvil did indeed play a big festival with Metallica back in the early 1980s. But there's little else - the music and crude lyrics were seemingly more of an influence on Nickelback than any future metal band. Something about the whole deal just didn't seem right - did Anvil really still have a following today and that justified the movie, or did the hype of the movie make it so that Anvil had a following?

Anvil: I didn't buy this stupid shit for a second. You?
(Also, are you like me? Did you feel like this was basically a stab at a quote-unquote real-life version of "This is Spinal Tap," only not funny or cool? Just wondering.)

You don't have any of that shit with Diamond Head, a band that emerged from Stourbridge, England in the late 1970s and turned segments of the music world on their asses with a mysterious untitled album in 1980 that merged Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest. Musically, it set the template for bands like Metallica and Megadeth, who both cite them as influences.

But unlike Anvil, these dudes are legit, and the proof is out there. Go ahead and YouTube "Lightning To The Nations," which fans and writers went on to name that first album, and you will be blown away by what you hear if you are into stuff like Sabbath, Led Zep or early metal. Brian Tatler tears it up with wicked solos and razor-like riffs, and singer Sean Harris could pass for Robert Plant in a Zeppelin tribute band. 
Is this good or bad? I can't tell.
The chugging "Sucking My Love" is, appropriately enough, 10 minutes of awesome, the title track bangs away like Judas Priests' best cock-rock moments, only with black metal subbing in for some of Priests' more schlocky moments, and there's a reason why Metallica and others later covered the dastardly "Am I Evil?"

And we know Metallica was heavily influenced by them, because drummer Lars Ulrich has said he patterned the band's sound after Diamond Head, and the setlists to their early shows were stuffed with Diamond Head tunes.

Sadly, the band couldn't cash in, and it all fell apart when they signed with MCA, either because they took all kinds of bad advice, couldn't write or record any more decent songs or their contract with the devil ran out. 
Better have a lawyer present.
The band will be at Mojo 13, 1706 Philadelphia Pike, in Holly Oak, on Thursday (April 11).

Coffin Dust, Skeleton Hands, and 9 Crown Monarch open up starting at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 day of show. Go here to buy them now or get them at the door.

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