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Like getting drunk and taking pictures - 90%

Caleb9000, April 28th, 2016

There are albums out there that are extremely boring and therefore have nothing to remember. Then there are albums that are absolutely fantastic and extremely memorable. But what about albums that are fantastic, but not memorable, despite your thoughts otherwise while listening to it. This is one of those albums. Diamond Head's self-titled 2016 album has just now finally been released... again. I was wondering if it would ever even come out at all. It could have ended up like Wintersun's upcoming "Time II", or everything that Guns N' Roses is doing in recent times. But it finally settled on a date. I had listened to the first four tracks of the album when it was first released, then plans got in the way and it was too late. When I listened to those four songs a second time, I liked them a lot more than I did initially. The rest of the songs were a blast for me as well. I remember having some thoughts that it would be one of the most memorable things that I would hear in 2016. However, I found myself struggling to remember my personal favorite moments of the albums. I remembered it a lot better the second time, loving practically every moment of it. It was as if I had partied too hard the night before and then had flashbacks when looking at the photography that I had taken.

I guess that the least memorable tracks are the first four, as much as I love them. This is most likely due to the fact that they have very similar riffing structures. It was repetitive, but it was still enjoyable. However, the rest of the music was much better. This is music that is pretty much what you would want from Diamond Head. Rather than the horrendous experimentation that they have been working with for the last two decades, this is an album filled with energy, rawness, as well as tons of power. The vocals are going back to their original charismatic wailing bluesy ways, which is what I have always wanted. He may not have the widest range, but it could not fit the music more. The power that he displays on the opening track of the album, "On The Edge", or the gritty wailing of "Wizard Sleeve" has not yet ceased to amaze. While not every second of every song is all that captivating, it never gets bad.

Although the bulk of this album is nostalgic, the band has tried some new things. For example, "All the Reasons You Live" is still a hard-rocking track in its own right, but it seems to have a lot of sincerity placed within it, rather than the fun that we all know and love about this band. Nevertheless, it still showcases the dirty energy that the band is known for. This keeps the album from having a lopsided identity, something that is often possessed from bands who attempt this. This is also showcased in the final track of the album, though not quite as enjoyable. Quite the opposite is shown on "Wizard Sleeve", which is another highlight of mine. The lyrics are pretty self-explanatory when you read them out loud. It is nothing new for Diamond Head, as they have done pretty much the same type of song (lyrically) on Lightning to the Nations, with "Sucking My Love". It fits the music, although it isn't really anything that will really spark up all that much controversy. On the other hand, this album gets very melodic and uplifting on the track, "Diamonds", which is nothing that has never been heard in the metal scene, but it is still quite enjoyable, mainly the anthemic chorus.

The guitar work is definitely something that sounds good on this album, but it doesn't really stand out among the rest of the music, as it's done on their debut. But as simplistic as it is, it really holds the music together without sounding lackluster, due to a bad tone or simply subpar playing. What I love about the presence of the guitar work is how it sounds pretty much perfect with the vocals. Every vocal melody laid out completely soars over the rhythm work, until the leads come in, which sound completely energetic and epic. Everything to do with it is done without any big issues contained. Quite an achievement for an album sounding as old-school as this. Most of them just sound devoid of passion and completely boring.

This is an album that will get stuck in your head, once you have listened to it a few times. The classic rock-inspired riffs and the insanely charismatic vocal performance are guaranteed to appeal to those who enjoy the earlier work from this band. It blew my expectations up in front of my face, as well as those few who have also reviewed it. Some have given it a perfect 5/5 stars on certain sites. While I do not believe this to be a perfect album, I will admit that it is nothing short of exceptional. I am hoping that their upcoming tour will go well for them. After releasing a record that is this great, they deserve absolutely nothing less. While this isn't quite as amazing as the masterpiece that is Lightning to the Nations, it is still an amazing album. Do not be fooled by the albums that have come before it, this is a massive step over them. Do yourself a favor and do listen to this album. You will enjoy it... I promise.