Our top 10 Diamond Head songs list presents the music of an iconic band that rose to prominence during the mid-‘70s new wave of British heavy metal movement. Formed in 1976, the band still stands strong despite its plentiful breakups and changes in the lineup. Co-founder Brian Tatler remains the biggest pillar of the band, sticking to Diamond Head since its inauguration. While still a student, Tatler teamed up with frontman Sean Harris, drummer Duncan Scott, and bass guitarist Colin Kimberley (joined some while later) to form Diamond Head’s original lineup.
The teenagers started making their own songs, playing them in multiple gigs across the UK. Even before Diamond Head received critical acclaim, it opened for other successful acts, including Iron Maiden and AC/DC. In 1980, the band officially released its debut single, “Shoot Out the Lights.” The single was closely followed by the band’s debut album, Lightning to the Nations.
Initially, Lightning to the Nations failed to secure the band a record label, marking a poor start for the band. Eventually, Charlie Eyre helped Diamond Head achieve a recording contract with MCA Records in early 1982. The self-financed and recorded album Lightning to the Nations was a commercial flop, to say the least.
However, Lightning to the Nations remains the band’s most influential heavy metal classic. The album has inspired/influenced huge acts like Metallica and Megadeth. Lightning to the Nations’ legacy is the ingenious guitar riffs that make it one of the greatest metal albums of all time. Some of the biggest songs by Diamond Head from the album include “Am I Evil?” “Helpless,” “Sucking My Love,” and “The Prince.”
Diamond Head’s Album Releases over the Years
After signing to MCA Records, the band released its first major-label album, Borrowed Time. The success of the band’s sophomore album came as a result of the momentum Diamond Head built from its groundbreaking (though a commercial flop) album. Borrowed Time featured notable classics, including “In the Heat of the Night” and “Don’t You Ever Leave Me.” The album peaked at number twenty-four on the UK Albums chart.
Despite Borrowed Time rising high on the charts, it failed to achieve the projected sales. Diamond Head went on to release its third studio album, Canterbury, in 1983. Canterbury saw the band depart from its usual heavy metal sound to some progressive rock-oriented sonic influences. The shift from the band’s heavier sound was cited to be MCA’s Records attempt at making a commercially successful record with Diamond Head. While the album received poor reception, songs like “Out of Phase,” “Knight of the Swords,” and “Ishmael” still stand out.
The commercial failure of Canterbury saw the band breakup, only to make a return to the music scene in the early ‘90s. Death and Progress marked the band’s fourth LP and the first since its reunion. The album was issued through Castle Music Ltd. This ten-track album saw the band return to its heavy metal roots. However, its clean approach still failed to impress the band’s fans. “Truckin’” is one of the biggest songs by Diamond Head from the album. Unfortunately, the poor performance at National Bowl in 1993 while opening for Megadeth and Metallica was followed by yet another breakup.
The band reunited in 2000, releasing several EPs, including the 2002 extended play, Acoustic First Cuts. Diamond Head later issued its fifth studio album, All Will Be Revealed, in 2005. This heavy metal-oriented album was issued through Cargo Records. Some of the best Diamond Head songs featured on this album include “Mine All Mine.” However, the album failed to create the much-needed buzz to catapult Diamond Head back to mainstream success in the heavy metal scene.
In 2007, Diamond Head released its sixth studio album, What’s In Your Head? The album was the band’s second album issued through Cargo Records. What’s in Your Head? was produced by Dave Nicholls, who had worked with other successful acts, including Stone Sour and Slipknot. “Skin on Skin” is among the most popular songs by Diamond Head from the album.
Diamond Head received its big break in 2016 following the release of its eponymous seventh studio album. The band was back in the spotlight as one of the most influential heavy metal acts, with the album peaking at number fifteen on the UK Rock & Metal Albums chart. Diamond Head is home to musical gems, including “All the Reasons You Live” and “Diamonds.”
Three years later, the band released its eighth and most recent studio album, The Coffin Train. The Coffee Train managed to catapult the band to new levels, peaking at number five on the UK Rock & Metal Albums chart. “Belly of the Beast,” “The Messenger,” and “The Coffin Train” are some of the most popular songs by Diamond Head from the album.
Diamond Head’s Accolades and Legacy
Diamond Head doesn’t have much to show in terms of accolades won for its musical excellence. The band has also failed to put its best foot forward when it comes to commercial success. Nevertheless, these two factors haven’t prevented Diamond Head from taking some legacy home. Diamond Head remains one of the most influential bands of the new wave of the British heavy metal movement. The band has gone ahead to influence other bands, including Metallica and Megadeth. Here we present the ten of the Diamond Head’s fan-favorite hits of all time.
#10 – To the Devil His Due
Ushering us to the top 10 Diamond Head songs list is the exquisite hit “To the Devil His Due.” The song is featured on the band’s 1983 third studio album, Canterbury. “To the Devil His Due” is one of the most admirable works by vocalist Sean Harris who left the band in 1994. Sean Harris delivers a soulful voice which is purely the catchiest thing about the song. “To the Devil His Due” takes a slight departure from the band’s heavy sonic influences to a more melodic heavy metal sound.
#9 – Shoot Out the Lights
“Shoot Out the Lights” brings us to the band’s initial heavy metal-oriented sound. The song was issued in 1980, marking the band’s first single. “Shoot Out the Lights” would later be featured on Diamond Head’s extended version of Lightning to the Nations, the band’s debut album. “Shoot Out the Lights” brings out Brian Tatler’s brilliance on the guitar to light, thanks to his innovative guitar riffs. The song was the first song by Diamond Head to make it to the charts, peaking at number fourteen on the UK Indie Chart.
#8 – No Remorse
Coming in strong at number eight of our top 10 Diamond Head songs is the electrifying hit “No Remorse.” As earlier noted, Diamond Head is among the heavy metal acts that had an influence on Metallica’s career. Diamond Head wouldn’t hide its admiration for Metallica also, releasing a cover of “No Remorse,” a song initially released by Metallica.
“No Remorse” has its lyrics alluding to soldiers being sent to the battlefield, slaying the enemies with no remorse. Diamond Head featured this cover hit on the 2020 re-recorded version of the band’s debut album. Cannibal Corpse covered “No Remorse” in 2003, featuring the rendition on the EP Worm Infested.
#7 – The Coffin Train
“The Coffin Train” is among the musical gems featured on the band’s 2019 album of the same name. Diamond Head trail to return to its signature heavy metal sound hasn’t been an easy journey. However, The Coffin Train is by far the best attempt by the band to revive the lost heavy metal vibes noted with Lightning to the Nations. The song starts a little calm but soon blasts into some powerful heavy metal as the chorus approaches. Thanks to Brian Tatler’s heavy guitar riffs, the song evokes the band’s successful days.
#6 – All the Reasons You Live
Number six on our top 10 Diamond Head songs list is the excellent hit “All the Reasons You Live.” The song is among the band’s classics from its eponymous album. “All the Reasons You Live” brings out the individual brilliance of the Rasmus Bom Andersen, who took on the band’s lead vocalist role in 2014. The Danish-born singer brings an extra spark and renewed energy to the band, thanks to his alluring vocal delivery. Amazingly, the band’s album releases since his entry have made it to the charts.
#5 – Belly of the Beast
“Belly of the Beast” is among the twenty-first century darker classic ballads reminiscent of the band’s heavy metal beginnings. The song is featured on the band’s most recent album release, The Coffin Trail. “Belly of the Beast” serves as the lead track to the album. This head-banging release brings out the intense heavy metal sound of the band, thanks to its powerful guitar riffs.
Rasmus’ ferocious vocals complement the song’s heavy instrumentation. The vocalist revealed that “Belly of the Beast” alludes to personal demons/inner battles, quoting that we all have them. “Belly of the Beast” also finds delivering a fantastic vocal range that compliments the song’s crunchy yet catchy guitar riffs by Brian Tatler.
#4 – Helpless
“Helpless” is one of the band’s stunning hits from its debut album, Lightning to the Nation. The song was penned by Sean Harris and Brian Tatler. “Helpless” is a fast-paced heavy metal that showcases the band’s audacious songwriting style. While most of the songs by the band highlight Brian Tatler’s brilliance on the guitar, “Helpless” brings features one of the most alluring Colin Kimberley bass lines. “Helpless” was covered by the legendary heavy metal band Metallica.
#3 – In the Heat of the Night
At the third spot of our ten best Diamond Head songs is the hit “In the Heat of the Night.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore album, Borrowed Time. “In the Heat of the Night” has its success enshrined in the band’s musicianship. Notable performances in the song are Sean Harris’ magnificent vocals delivery, and Brian Tatler’s inspirational guitar solo as the song approaches the end.
#2 – The Prince
“The Prince” brings us to yet another heavy metal classic by Diamond Head. The song is featured on the band’s debut album, Lightning to the Nations. Its lyrics were penned by Sean Harris and guitarist Brian. Guitarist Brian Tatler also provides some supercharged riffs to this heart racing masterpiece. “The Prince” is yet another hard-edged metal ballad covered by Metallica.
#1 – Am I Evil?
Number one on our top 10 Diamond Head songs list is the epic hit “Am I Evil?” The song is the most popular song by Diamond Head. It is featured on the band’s debut album, Lightning to the Nations. Guitarist Brian and vocalist Sean Harris teamed up to write the lyrics to this hit inspired by Black Sabbath’s song “Symptoms of the Universe.”
A re-recorded version of the song is featured on the band’s sophomore album, Borrowed Time. “Am I Evil?” featured some of the best guitar riffs by Brian Tatler. The song has been paid homage to by Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer.
Feature Photo: Selbymay, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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