Archive for Diamond Head

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Saxon- Power and the Glory

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-powerglorysaxon

For a young American living in the sticks of Southern New Jersey in 1983, Diamond Head was probably the best kept secret of the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM). I only was fortunate to know their existence because I happened to see them live in England that summer. However, if that is truly the case, then Saxon was the best NWOBHM band not to fully get the respect in the US they truly deserved. Their 1983 album “Power and the Glory” is a solid piece of evidence as to why.

It would be a very difficult task for any Saxon album to knock off “Denim and Leather” as my favourite album of theirs, so “Power and the Glory” will have to settle for number two. It is every much the killer as its 1981 predecessor! I have to admit, I’m pretty much impressed with all eight of the tracks on here. Maybe that’s why it’s only number two because “Denim and Leather” has nine.

“Power and the Glory” opens with the title track which is a good song to catch your attention. However, compared to the other tracks on the album, it’s the weakest, not that in any way it’s not a good track, it is. But the others that follow are mind blowing. Some really cool guitar solos from Oliver and Quinn on the tracks “Nightmare” and “This Town Rocks.” On the latter, I am wondering which town they are singing about because back in the mid 1980s, I lived in a town that didn’t. Some might say that about the town I live in now in the UK but those who rock aren’t visible. They just come out whenever a cool band like Hells Bells comes to town. Here I go digressing again. Great songs all here!

Impressing me further is the intro to “Midas Touch.” While Saxon has historically had many songs whose introduction has been a great hook, the one on this track takes the top spot for the album. And like so many Saxon songs, “Midas Touch” isn’t a song with a great intro that descends into mediocrity as the song progresses.

If my favourite Saxon album didn’t have such a killer closing track, then I would probably be gushing over the closer on “Power and the Glory.” I have to put “Denim and Leather” totally out of my mind so I can sing the praises of “The Eagle Has Landed.” It works in so many ways, as a closer and as a song in itself, great song. I have to say that I think Biff and the boys were on top form when they made “Power and the Glory.”

Track Listing:

  1. Power and the Glory
  2. Redline
  3. Warrior
  4. Nightmare
  5. This Town Rocks
  6. Watching the Sky
  7. Midas Touch
  8. The Eagle Has Landed
Saxon

Saxon

Biff Byford- vocals

Graham Oliver- guitar

Paul Quinn- guitar

Steve Dawson -bass

Nigel Glockler- drums

Some might argue that with all the great metal, especially (NWOBHM) albums that were out in 1983, it’s easy to see why Saxon’s “Power and the Glory” might have been overlooked in the US. No excuse I say and I wish it didn’t take me another two years before I started listening to Saxon in earnest. This album deserves to stand with all the other ones that were around in that year.

Next post: Y&T- Mean Streak

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Diamond Head- Canterbury

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2016 by 80smetalman

diamond_head_canterbury_cover

It is quite possible that my mind is well and truly going. My memories from when I saw Diamond Head at the 1983 Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park in England, I thought that this band played some really hard metal. However, when I listen to their 1983 “Canterbury” album, which was released two months before their Donington appearance, I find myself asking, “Is this the same band?” The “Canterbury” album isn’t that straight forward in your face metal I remember from when I saw them all those years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a cool album and there are a couple of hard tracks on it, however, the album takes a more progressive rock, artsy direction.

The first two tracks are definitely in the progressive vein but still decent tracks. For some reason, the opener, “Makin’ Music” reminds me a little of the opening track from Pat Travers’ live album. Things go gradually harder with the tracks that follow. The first metal track in the sense of the word for me is “One More Night.” That song does knock your socks off. I could say the same thing for the next track as well but the vocals remind me too much of early U2. I don’t want to insult lead singer Sean Harris but he does sound like Bono a little on it. One could say that this track might be what U2 would sound like if they went metal, as if. Then again, maybe I think too damn much.

Thoughts of U2  don’t disappear immediately on the very next track. They linger for the first half of “Knight of the Swords” but they do go away when Brian Tatler lays down his best guitar solo on the album. For me, that alone makes it the best track on the album. You know all this thinking about U2, I have to remember that back in 1983, they were good in my eyes and ears as they were with many others. So, the comparisons shouldn’t be seen as a harsh criticism. After “Knight of the Swords,” things go more melodic hard rock with “Ishmael.” It’s an okay song but I don’t find it anything to get too excited about. With “I Need Your Love,” Diamond Head goes kind of new wave/metal. It is a good track to bop your head along to and it hosts the second best guitar solo on it, so pluses all around. The title track closes the album and this is definitely an artsy progressive rock tune. It begins with a piano to which Harris sings a ballad like tune for the first two and a half minutes. While the song doesn’t go crazy power metal after, it does pick up the tempo. There is some fine musicianship on it and it turns out to be a good way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Makin’ Music
  2. Out of Phase
  3. The Kingmaker
  4. One More Night
  5. To the Devil His Due
  6. Knight of the Swords
  7. Ishmael
  8. I Need Your Love
  9. Cantebury
Sean Harris and  Brian Tatler who made up Diamond Head

Sean Harris and Brian Tatler who made up Diamond Head

Sean Harris- vocals

Brian Tatler- guitars

Additional Musicians:

Colin Kimberly- bass

Mervyn Goldsworthy- bass

Duncan Scott- drums

Robbie France- drums

Jamie Lane- drums

Chris Heaton- keyboards

Back in the early 1980s, Diamond were the best kept secret of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, (NWOBHM). While Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon to name some had established themselves as big names in the US, most Americans never heard of Diamond Head. One such person, when reading my Donington t-shirt thought that because the name Diamond Head was on it, the concert had taken place in Hawaii. I put him right on that one. “Canterbury” might not have been the metal album one would expect from Diamond Head, but it’s still good album nevertheless.

Next post: Saxon- Power and Glory

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Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1983- Triumphs and Tragedies

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2016 by 80smetalman
The Alamo

The Alamo

The only tragedy I remember from 1983 actually happened the year before. Due to my military service, I didn’t find out about it until 83 when I read about all the fallout from it. I’m talking about when Ozzy Osbourne pissed on the Alamo. He claims he was drunk as a skunk, (I’ve never seen a drunk skunk so I have nothing to compare it to.) Ozzy also said he didn’t know it was such a national shrine, well it is in Texas. The result of his action got him banned from the city of San Antonio for ten years, although that was lifted a few years later when he made a large donation to the Alamo charity.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy was already getting himself a reputation outside the heavy metal world for the wrong reasons. His infamous biting the head off a bat was making its rounds. Of course, the religious element in America embellished things further. There were rumours he blew up goats on stage and at one show, he supposedly threw a puppy into the crowd and said he wouldn’t sing anymore until the audience killed the puppy. While this was all untrue hype, it didn’t help Ozzy when he actually did something for real. So for Ozzy and somewhat in the metal world, this was a bit of a tragedy because it overshadowed the two albums he released in the year. I’ll be covering those soon enough.

Now for the triumphs. It seems that 1983 was a cool year for festivals. I got to go to two of them. The first one, I mentioned when I posted about the Nantucket and Doc Holliday albums a few months ago. Those two bands topped the bill at the Mayfair Festival at Jacksonville, North Carolina. The other five bands remain pretty much unheard of with the bottom three being cover bands. So, I thought I’d include them in this little piece of history. They were Skeet Kelly, Roxy, Avalanche- who did a great cover of Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal,” Peer Pressure- who did a reasonably decent cover of John Cougar’s “Hurt So Good” and Eraxle- who closed their set with a fantastic cover of Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man.” I consumed loads of alcohol and there were some interesting events between the bands like a wet t-shirt and a men’s ugly legs competition. A fine day from what I remember.

Nantucket

Nantucket

Military commitments kept me from attending this festival but my sister went. I tried to pick her brains but she didn’t remember much. In the June, Journey headlined in Philadelphia and with them were John Cougar, Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. From what she can remember, my sister says that Journey sounded great and had a fantastic light show. John Cougar and Bryan Adams were both very good as was Sammy Hagar despite his red spandex. Unfortunately, The Tubes weren’t up to the rest of those who played that day. If this line up played in more cities than Philly, I would love to hear your account of the day.

Journey Live

Journey Live

It didn’t matter that I was in the military for this one, I couldn’t have gone to the US Festival because it was 3000 miles away in California. The US Festival was a three day festival where the first day consisted of new wave bands, the second day’s line up was heavy metal and the third day’s was a rock line up. From what I heard, all three days were fantastic although I do recall an interview with a local sheriff saying that he was going to try to ban such events following the festival. I didn’t think about it then, but that was the first salvo fired at music in the 1980s. I think the best thing to do is just to let you look at the line up for the three days and I’m sure you will be just as awestruck as I was.

Us Festival Showbill

Us Festival Showbill

I did get to the final festival in 1983. This was my first Donington Festival as I happened to be in England at the time. From my memory, I can recall that Diamond Head were all right and Dio were very good. I didn’t twig on who the lead singer was until they played “Heaven and Hell” but that was okay. They were brilliant. Then came Twisted Sister. I can still remember Dee Snider’s quip: “We’re not Culture Club or any of those gay boys or Duran Duran nor any of those other wimps. We’re Twisted Sister and we play heavy metal rock and roll!” Of course I knew there must of been something about them when they were introduced as Twisted Fuckin’ Sister. Their music was great too.

For me, ZZ Top took the concert. They played a magnificent combination of old and new material during their time on stage. Of course it helped that they played my two favourite ZZ Top tunes, “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and “La Grange.” They also played quite a few songs off their new “Eliminator” album so they basically rocked. The big let down after ZZ Top was Meatloaf. I was not impressed, he just sounded terrible that day. Worse, my friend’s English girlfriend didn’t realize that they ran a special train after the concert so out of fear of getting stuck, we left early and missed headliners, Whitesnake. I remain gutted but overall, Donington 1983 was a kick ass day and proved that Great Britain could rock.

donfest83

 

That was 1983 in a nutshell. The only real tragedy was Ozzy pissing on a national shrine but all the great concert festivals more than compensated for it. Just posting about it has me psyched for Bloodstock in two weeks. It was no wonder I was super excited when I got out of the marines that year.

Next post: Great Soundtracks

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Great Metal Albums of 1982: Diamond Head- Borrowed Time

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Borrowed_Time_By_Diamond_Head

“Borrowed Time” by Diamond Head another album that passed me by in 1982 but then again, I had never heard of the band until a year later when I came to Britain and happened to see them at Donnington in 1983. While I thought they were okay, I still never got around to buying any of their albums. When I came to Britain to stay in 1986, it was only then I got to experience them because two of my new friends were heavily into them. In fact, one was nicknamed Diamond Head Andy because of his love for the band. Although the character based on him in “Rock and Roll Children” is called Diamond Head Martin. Even then, I can’t say that I really listened to them. That is why, like a good number of the albums of 1982, I am only listening “Borrowed Time” for the first time before making this post.

What is my impression of Diamond Head? Well listening to “Borrowed Time,” my first reaction is Led Zeppelin. It is very obvious that Diamond Head draw a major influence from the great Zep, not that I can blame them for that. Lead singer Sean Harris sounds quite a lot like Robert Plant on most of the tracks and guitarist Brian Tatler has a style very similar to Jimmy Page. The tracks which prove the point the most are “Borrowed Time” and “Don’t You Ever Leave Me.” However, there is a little of the Zeppelin influence in the other tracks too and that includes the closer, “Am I Evil” which any metalhead knows was covered by Metallica. But calling Diamond Head Led Zeppelin clones would be grossly unfair and inaccurate. Sure the Zep influence is definitely there but they aren’t clones. Take “Am I Evil” for an example. There is some good power metal riffs in that song that I can see why one of the most famous thrash bands in the world would cover it. The same can be said for “Lightning to the Nations.” That is another song where Diamond Head put their own stamp on it. Comparisons and contrasts aside, I found “Borrowed Time to be a great album to sit back and bang your head to and I have to give credit to Tatler as a guitarist, he can cook.

Track Listing:

  1. In the Heat of the Night
  2. To Heave from Hell
  3. Call Me
  4. Lightning to the Nations
  5. Borrowed Time
  6. Don’t You Ever Leave Me
  7. Am I Evil
Diamond Head

                         Diamond Head

Sean Harris- vocals

Brian Tatler- guitars

Colin Kimberly- bass

Duncan Scott- drums

My trip through 1982 has been full of pleasant surprises for me. Because so many albums passed me by that year due to my military commitments, (though I can’t use that excuse here), I have had the pleasurable experience of having to catch up on them. So far, every one of them has been a good experience but I have to say that Diamond Head’s “Borrowed Time” has been the best surprise thus far.

Next post: UFO- Mechanix

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishingroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London