Brian Tatler from "Diamond Head" joins The Zach Moonshine Show to talk about the new album 'Lightning to the Nations 2020'! We play tracks from the new record as well as new music from ETERNAL CHAMPION, Vessel of Light, Possessed Steel, Sorcerer, Curse of Eibon, VHÄLDEMAR, Hell Riders, Nihilum, Hell-Born, TEREN, and Kriegsgott! Also by request we play some classics from Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Chris Holmes, Cirith Ungol, Acid Bath, Deadboy & The Elephantmen, Type O Negative, Alice In Chains, and Darkthrone!
1 - A Face in the Glare/Ravening Iron/Skullseeker - ETERNAL CHAMPION
2 - The Zach Moonshine Intro
3 - Foxy Lady/Last Ride/Torture King - Vessel of Light
4 - Spelllblade/Frost Lich/Free at Last - Possessed Steel
5 - The Hammer of Witches - Sorcerer
6 - Diamond Head - Interview featuring Am I Evil/No Remorse/It's Electric
7 - Running Free - Iron Maiden
8 - Victim Of Changes - Judas Priest
9 - Dagon - Curse of Eibon
10 - GHOST DANCE/CAUSES - Gravehuffer
11 - Death to the Wizard - VHÄLDEMAR
12 - Soldier of Steel - Hell Riders
13 - Sunless Death - Nihilum
14 - Blakk Metal - Hell-Born
15 - Mara - TEREN
16 - H8 4All - Kriegsgott
17 - Let It Roar - Chris Holmes
18 - Show You All - Cirith Ungol
19 - Bleed Me An Ocean - Acid Bath
20 - Graves Beyond Windows - Deadboy & The Elephantmen
21 - Xero Tolerance/We Hate Everyone - Type O Negative
22 - Black Gives Way To Blue - Alice In Chains
23 - The Church Of Real Metal - Darkthrone
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Vital, venerated, and vintage, when DIAMOND HEAD first released Lightning To The Nations in 1980, few could have predicted the importance it would carry -- and establish -- with regards to heavy metal’s new wave and sound. Stacked and packed with riffs, Lightning To The Nations would be one of the prime catalysts for a movement known as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). It would also prove the premier template for a band who would become the biggest rock band on the planet, Metallica. But back then, in their humble Stourbridge, UK home, DIAMOND HEAD had no real idea that the seven songs they had recorded for that debut album would have such a reverberation.
As the fortieth anniversary loomed, a celebration was surely in order and founding member, lead guitarist/songsmith Brian Tatler, alongside vocalist and producer Rasmus Bom Andersen, knew exactly what they wanted to do. “We thought it’d be great to re-record the debut album with this lineup and the modern technology available,” says Tatler. “The original album was recorded and mixed in a week, and we were very young; still 19-20 years old when it was recorded, so there’s a lot of that youthful energy. But we didn’t have the technique, time, or craftsmanship to record it with the sort of power that we could now. So that was a real thing to savor: the opportunity to go in the studio and record these songs fresh and vibrant.”
Lightning To The Nations 2020 is an achievement along those lines and then some. It is, quite simply, a scintillating shot of fresh metal energy, with DIAMOND HEAD utilising all their skill, experience, and revitalized energy to breathe so much new life into these freshly recorded takes that it feels like experiencing the earth shaking all over again.
Recorded over several sessions between various locations from France to band member home studios, Lightning To The Nations 2020’s central hub was Andersen’s Raw Sound Studios in London. It’s where Tatler and Andrew “Abbz” Abberley did the guitars in February and March of this year. With the COVID-19 chaos striking, Andersen worked on the album between April and July, with Tatler’s watchful ear inspecting final mixes and tweaks in early August before sending off to mastering at Metropolis Studios. It is, however, fair to say that the crunch, scream, and crackle of the production is yet another feather in Andersen’s producer hat.
As if these carefully shaped recordings weren’t enough, there are four supreme cover versions rounding out the release, with DIAMOND HEAD spreading their wings and creating the heaviest of homages to Led Zeppelin ("Immigrant Song), Judas Priest ("Sinner"), Deep Purple ("Rat Bat Blue"), and… Metallica ("No Remorse").
The first single/video to be released, “It’s Electric,” shows levels of fresh energy and the potency of timeless riffage that will blow the doors and socks off all who hear it. Tatler comments: “It was written on the 15th of June 1978; it was the forty-fifth song DIAMOND HEAD ever wrote. It was kind of our version of an AC/DC song. I had noticed that AC/DC had gaps in their riffs so I thought I would do one in that vein and out came ‘It’s Electric.’ It was fast and exciting and soon found its way into our live set. We had the pleasure of opening for AC/DC in January 1980 and performed ‘It’s Electric’ in the set. I looked over to my left and noticed we were being watched by Bon Scott!”
“It’s Electric” was the first DIAMOND HEAD song that Lars Ulrich ever heard on the 1980 MCA compilation album Brute Force. “It seemed so right, it seemed so fresh, it seemed so effortless and above all, it seemed so fucking special. Three and a half minutes after the needle hit the record on ‘It’s Electric’ by DIAMOND HEAD I was hooked.”
“Metallica covered this song on their 1998 album Garage, Inc.,” Tatler contonues, “Sean [Harris] and I wrote ‘It’s Electric’ in the key of G but Metallica transposed it to F# to make it easier to play. I have played it their way ever since. “
Of the album’s second single, Tatler reminisces, “‘Am I Evil?’ is one of the songs that Metallica covered. I got a call from Lars Ulrich on September 20th,1986 to say that Metallica were playing that evening as part of the Master Of Puppets tour, at the Birmingham Odeon which was the best venue in the Midlands to see bands. Lars invited me along, so I caught the number nine bus, picked up my backstage pass, and was shown into Metallica’s dressing room. I was then introduced to James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, and Cliff Burton. Lars suggested that I get up and play ‘Am I Evil?’ on stage with them in the encore. I, of course, agreed and, after watching their amazing set for an hour, I went backstage again where the guitar techs strapped James’ white Flying V onto me. Then Lars ran to the center-vocal mic and introduced me as, ‘the guy who wrote this next song!’ The five of us played ‘Am I Evil?’ up to the fast section then Metallica went into ‘Damage, Inc.’ and I scarpered off stage. It was a brilliant experience!”
With DIAMOND HEAD having featured so heavily in Metallica’s early career, the cover of “No Remorse” seems especially appropriate.
“I wanted to cover a song from Metallica’s debut album, Kill ‘Em All,” explains founding member Brian Tatler, “partly because Metallica covered songs from DIAMOND HEAD’s debut album Lightning To The Nations and it felt like things have come full-circle to me. None of the band members knew how to play any of the songs from Kill ‘Em All and I eventually decided we should all learn ‘No Remorse.’ Then when we got into the rehearsal room, we played ‘No Remorse’ and immediately it just sounded great; it was very ‘DIAMOND HEAD’ and it really suited us as a band. Of the four covers we ended up doing, ‘No Remorse’ sounded the best straight away. I’ve seen Metallica live over twenty times and they don’t play ‘No Remorse’ very often, but it’s always great when they do!”
“Of all the four covers, we almost didn’t have to work on ‘No Remorse’,” furthers singer and producer Rasmus Bom Andersen. “We all had to learn the parts, and it’s very difficult to play, but in rehearsal it did sound fantastic and we thought: ‘yeah, yeah, it’s gonna be mega.’ It was almost surreal when we did it because it just felt incredibly familiar.”
Lightning To The Nations 2020 will be released on November 27th, 2020, via Silver Lining Music in CD digipak, double gatefold vinyl, and digital formats as well as special D2C bundles. For preorders, go to THIS LOCATION.
Brian Tatler – lead, rhythm guitars
Rasmus Bom Andersen – vocals, orchestration, additional guitars
Karl Wilcox – drums
Andrew “Abbz” Abberley – rhythm, lead guitars
Dean Ashton – bass, organ
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