Diamond Head – The Coffin Train (Silver Lining Music)
It seems entirely fitting, as the legendary NWOBHM movement celebrates its 40thanniversary this month, that Midlands metallers Diamond Head have readied another gem of an album just in time to join the party.
And if The Coffin Train is hardly old school – its polished production and commercial edge is more Shinedown than Saxon – then riffmeister general Brian Tatler has retained enough of the Head’s trademark raw energy to appeal to the band’s loyal die-hards.
Lead single and album opener Belly Of The Beast is a ferocious earworm or a track that affords frontman Rasmus Bom Andersen the perfect opportunity to let rip and lay his cards on the table. It’s the singer’s unique tone – high pitched and hard hitting in the same breath – that has reimagined Stourbridge’s finest as serious players on the contemporary metal scene.
Shades Of Black evokes memories of early Queensrÿche mixed with classic Sabbath but it’s hardly heavy metal. Diamond Head 2.0 are cannier, more expansive and more intriguing than that. It’s what makes The Coffin Train the only contender for Rushonrock Record Of The Week.
Serrated Love (what a song title) is six-plus minutes of controlled fury with Andersen channelling his inner Glenn Hughes on an epic blues rock grower. And here’s the thing: don’t imagine Diamond Head’s latest long player to sound anything like your image of late 70s NWOBHM. It’s nowhere near.
But The Coffin Train takes fans on a rollercoaster ride of style and substance – Tatler successfully exploring the full gamut of rock and metal guitar techniques to dizzying effect.