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I know "Greatest hits" albums don't tend to get great ratings on the metal archives, and rightly so in some cases, but I would highly recommend: The Best Of Diamond Head. They have made such a great choice of tracks on this one, and some of them are not blindingly obvious numbers, which is a relief because Diamond Head do have a diverse catalogue. I would recommend this for people who are probably new to Diamond Head, or never cared to dabble in their discography. Why? Because after hearing this, I gurantee within a week you'll be purchasing: "Lightning to the nations", "Borrowed time", and "Canterbury". The songs here are that consistent, and I enjoy the way they have been laid out, which allows the album to maintain the attention span of even the most sceptical fans. Diamond Head are fellow countrymen of mine, and back in the day the press were calling Diamond Head the natural successors to Led Zeppelin, but unfortunately the masses just weren't in the mood for Led Zeppelin's heavier, swankier more down to earth little brother. But even if the legendary legacy never did plan out, this listener feels they achieved levels of metal/rock mastery in it's most pure and organic form, and dare I say it these guys may not have been as commercial as Led Zeppelin, but they probably had more of a influence...how many riffs can you count on this album, which have been ripped off and re-moulded by thrash bands worldwide? If you think Venom and Motörhead were the only proto-thrash pioneers, then your entire life has been a lie.
"It's electric" and "Shoot out the lights" do a great job opening this compilation album, not only because they're extremely catchy songs, but this is the sound of N.W.O.B.H.M in it's prime, when it was the most superior metal scene in the enitre world, and I do not mean any disrespect to habitants outside the U.K, but you're metal scene past and present owe bands like Diamond Head a huge debt. I don't care if you listen to Metallica or Morbid Angel, but those bands just wouldn't have existed, plain and simple. "Sucking my love" is epic with some of the best and most interesting guitar work, I have ever heard committed to a metal song. Sean Harris goes a bit nuts on this one, letting out orgasmic moans and groans, but you know what? It damn well works! "Call me" is quite a interesting little number, it has a very somber feel but not in a nostalgic staring at the bottom of your beer, type of somber. It is more uplifting and toward the end, the listener is issued hope. Of course there is "Am I evil?" which despite achieving legendary status when Metallica covered it, I can quite honestly say I prefer the original. Honestly, I'm not trying to sound pure but the original is better, and I feel Metallica lost a lot of the vibe on this track, giving it an evil Venom sound. "Making music" sounds like a radio friendly rock number, but I'm not ashamed to admit liking this because it is good and it is catchy, but at the same time it is still very Diamond Head. "To the devil his due" is just epic, Sean Harris displays a great vocal performance, but then again he does on every single track on here. The only thing this album is missing is "The prince" but like I stated at the beginning of my review, I'm actually glad they did not pick the obvious numbers too much. You need this album in your life, you obviously need their original discography more, but even if you own all of their albums, this is worthy of purchasing so you can listen to some great Diamond Head tunes in the car without changing discs and risking a car accident. I do know what else to say other than this is value for money.
This is the only Greatest Hits album that I will ever give this unbelievably high a rating to. Man, when I first got this (1999 or so), it didn't leave the frequent rotation for a YEAR AND A HALF, at least. One of my favourite albums ever, and it's commonly found, and it is damn well worth it.
First off, the sound quality. Fully remastered... forget the Metal Blade bullshit pressings of Lightning to the Nations, Behold the Beginning, et al... if you don't want to hunt down the old vinyls (which you do, but that is a different story), THIS is the only compilation of old material you need to get. This is the production that definitely does these songs justice.
And what of the songs? Spectacular fucking tracklist... my only complaint is no 'The Prince', but otherwise, man they picked a bunch of winners. The songwriting runs through a variety of styles, ranging from the bludgeoning power-metal classics like Am I Evil (the "Mister Guitar" version, incidentally... not the original Lightning to the Nations version, but rather the one off of Borrowed Time - no matter, both are equally good) and Lightning to the Nations - again from Borrowed Time, the vox are a bit more accented than in the original, but the guitarwork is definitely there.
Two of the more accessible tracks from Lightning are here too: It's Electric and Helpless - both very cool - I'm glad they left off the horrible Sweet and Innocent. Good choice, guys.
Shoot Out the Lights - a classic from their random mishmash of singles, and then also Sucking my Love is here... all 9 minutes and 48 seconds of epic fucking guitar work and Sean Tatler making an ass of himself. When the dust settles, this is a masterpiece.
In the Heat of the Night - WICKED FUCKING SOLO!!!!! Well, more like three fucking wicked solos - this is a masterpiece of melodic heavy fucking metal. Then, Call Me is also from Borrowed Time... a little catchy 80s-glammish number, but still fucking enjoyable. Then, a bit later, another wicked number from Borrowed Time, namely the title track. This and In the Heat of the Night are two of the greatest tracks DH ever made - fucking masterpieces. DH are best remembered for Lightning to the Nations, but the rest of their material is no slouch either. A bit softer, and sometimes more inconsistent, but here they really chose some of the highlights of their early-80s career. "I have learned, at what cost..." - this one goes through a billion moods, from the acoustic opener, to the exploding riffs and the soaring vocals. Power metal at its finest.
We also have four tracks from Canterbury to close the album. The best four, I must add... I've heard the whole album, it's kind of inconsistent, but these four are all winners. Not all of them are heavy fucking metal - Makin' Music is just a little rock and roll number, but ya know what, I like it, so fuck you. Same with Out of Phase, which is the most irresistibly catchy number since the songs they made you sing in the 1st grade.
Then, Ishmael... a strange, strange number with some odd vocals (is that a SHEEP??), but it fucking works too. Finally, the closer - To the Devil His Due is another midpaced atmospheric number, and a complete winner. It's got great use of acoustic guitars, nice fucking vocals, and the final build-up to end all final build-ups.
Recommended? Oh fuck yeah!!! This really is the Best Of (well, except for the Prince, but hey, you're forgiven). Also, the songs manage to go together well, despite their being from several eras of the band... from the early bludgeoning speed metal power, to the more progressive numbers of the next few years.
This is the only Greatest Hits album I ever would endorse... I don't just endorse, I force you to get this!! Right now!