Diamond Head, The Coffin Train - album review

One of the loudest sounds to come out of the Black Country are back.

The post-apocalyptic album artwork for The Coffin Train
The post-apocalyptic album artwork for The Coffin Train

Diamond Head, the Stourbridge 'new wave of British heavy metal' icons cited by Megadeth and Metallica as huge influences, have released their eighth studio album.

Released via Silver Linings Music, it is both refreshingly new yet loyally true to the sound that made Diamond Head pioneers of their genre in their earlier years.

There is something of a rock-opera sound throughout - the kind of music that would make a gripping stage show about a broken anti-hero finding redemption through one final kind act that leads to their heartbreaking death.

Diamond Head

This is most prevalent in the expansive intro to The Messenger as the layers pile on top of each other building to a crescendo that erupts into one of those air guitar-shredding riffs that makes these bands so popular.

The haunting prelude to The Sleeper could also be lifted straight from a show. That agitated undercurrent and feeling of impending doom brought on by the horns and megaphone screeching will make great entrance music for their stage shows.

The Sleeper itself is more of a ballad with harmonised vocals that show off the talents of Rasmus Bom Andersen perfectly. The joint assault throughout by guitarists Brian Tatler, the Stourbridge lad still going strong in the current line-up, and Andy 'Abbz' Abberley is masterful as orchestral string elements fill in the blanks and make it more uplifting.

These two are allowed to run riot on Serrated Love. Coupled with the thumping percussion of Karl Wilcox it creates a face-melting wall of napalm metal that erupts into another stage show chorus of soaring vocals.

This constant wobble between euphoria and anger makes for a compelling record. Their flirting with various influences and styles mixes together nicely thanks to the experience of a band who, through Tatler, have been going for more than 40 years on and off.

And their crème de la crème moments come when they let the shackles off for a good old fashioned head banger like opener Belly Of The Beast. Dean Ashton's bass licks ferociously at the musical belly of the track giving it an added and violent oomph.

A fine return!

Rating: 8/10

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