To be honest, I never gave DIAMOND HEAD much thought until a few years ago. Yeah, yeah I know they had a huge impact on bands like METALLICA and are known far and wide as one of the NWOBHM pioneers. So what? What the fuck does that have to do with the price of eggs in China, hmmm? So I’m supposed to fall in line and blindly worship some band just because? Miss me with that shit, okay? Now before any of you think I’m here to trash the band, think again. Their new album The Coffin Train is out now via Silver Lining Music and quite frankly it is fucking AWESOME!! 2016’S self-titled release was solid, but this one leaves it in the rearview.
Opener “Belly of the Beast” finds lead guitarist Brian Tatler riffing his ass off alongside fellow six-stringer Andy “Abbz” Abberley as the whole band takes off at a gallop. Drummer Karl Wilcox leads the charge as bassist Dean Ashton goes stride for stride with him. But the real hero on this and every other song is vocalist Rasmus Bom Andersen. Holy Mother of Fuck, can this guy SING!! Honestly, I can’t imagine a more perfect pairing than this music and his voice. “The Messenger” takes the ball from there and runs it into the end zone, and will have heads banging from here to Timbuktu.
Title track “The Coffin Train” is one of the album’s best, and Andersen and Co. take us on a journey over the course of six minutes. The riff machine is operating at full throttle for “Death By Design” and the whole group is locked in on their target, and that target is YOU. This was one of my favorites right away, and I’m pretty sure it will be the same for some of you. Meanwhile “The Sleeper” comes in on a much more subtle note at first before the whole band steamrolls you like an armored tank division. Once again Andersen shines like a lighthouse here, and his delivery on these vocals is flawless.
“Serrated Love” is another standout track on an album full of standout tracks. This thing is meatier than a New York strip steak, and heartier than anything Chunky Soup could ever dream up. And that is unassailable fact. P.S this is my absolute favorite song on the album! Goddamn, I am so in love with Andersen’s voice that he is very close to joining Ralf Scheepers, Johnny Gioeli, and Urban Breed atop my Mount Rushmore of modern metal vocalists. Closer “Until We Burn” has a very understated feel to it, but at the same time it’s a pretty powerful song, and another choice cut on this record.
Look, I don’t pretend to be the know-it-all on the subject of Heavy Metal. I just know what I like. And honestly, I think this new DIAMOND HEAD album is one for the fucking ages. The Coffin Train is outstanding work, and the boys in the band should be proud-no, fuck that. They should get up every morning and be like, “BITCH!! THIS is one of the best records of 2019!! You better recognize!!” I know they would never say something like that because they’re nice and super-humble guys. So I’m saying it for them: “BITCH!! THIS is one of the best records of 2019!! You better recognize!!” Now go and buy a copy of The Coffin Train, okay? Good.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM