Diamond Head, Lightning To The Nations 2020 review (Silver Lining Music 2020)

For the 40th anniversary of the seminal album Lightning To The Nations, Diamond Head has re-recorded it in its entirety.

It is hard to overstate the impact of Diamond Head on heavy music. The album in question came out in 1980 on the vanguard of the New Wave OF British Heavy Metal, inspiring many bands, including, famously, Metallica. They released three full length albums in the 1980s, had a short resurrection in the 1990s, and since 2005 have been producing new music regularly, including last year’s The Coffin Train. Founding member Brian Tatler (guitar) is joined by Rasmus Bom Andersen (vocals), Karl Wilcox (drums), Andrew “Abbz” Abberley (guitar), and Dean Ashton (bass, organ) for the new recording.

Lightning To The Nations 2020 sounds amazing, and comparing it to the original is challenging unless you grabbed and held onto one of those early LPs. There was a remastered version of this album released in 2011 and it is on Spotify, so you can track-by-track those two, if you like. There are noticeable differences, but all my money is on this year’s release as it is crisp and deep, and it is the newest incarnation of the music presented the way Brian Tatler wants it to be. The two songs that get most of the attention are “Am I Evil” and “It’s Electric” – deservedly so because they are outstanding. Still, there are big riffs and fantastic lead work throughout the entirety of the recording, so don’t skip the others.

Besides revitalizing the seven original songs, there are also four covers: “No Remorse” (Metallica), “Immigrant Song” (Led Zepplin), “Sinner” (Judas Priest), and “Rat Bat Blue” (Deep Purple). My favorite is the Deep Purple cover. If I had been asked which Deep Purple song Diamond Head would cover having such a rich catalog to choose from, “Rat Bat Blue” would not have been very high on my list, but it is absolutely fantastic. Guitars stand in for the crazy keyboards of the original, and this new one cracks.

Additional info and links below. If you are a fan of this classic music, it is time to start debating which version you like best. If you are hearing it all for the first time, just sit back and enjoy. Recommended.

Band photo by Nic Gaunt.

Links.

Wesbite, http://www.diamondheadofficial.com

Band Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/DiamondHeadOfficial/

Silver Lining Music, http://sl-music.net

SLM Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/Silver.Lining.Music.Ltd

Diamond Head, Lightning To The Nations 2020 review (Silver Lining Music 2020)

Dokken, The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 (Silver Lining Music 2020)

Directly from Don Dokken’s vaults to you, the earliest recordings that lead to the internationally famous Glam Rock band Dokken have come to light.

The bands that followed after the early heavy music pioneers like Black Sabbath are typically referred to as Hard Rock – think Judas Priest, early Scorpions, and so on. Glam Rock (or Hair Metal of Glam Metal) came a bit later, in the early eighties, with bands like Mötley Crüe, Vandenberg, Hanoi Rocks, and, of course Dokken. {I am leaving Alice Cooper out on purpose because he was his own thing.} The difference between what I am calling Hard Rock and Glam Metal is that the latter was known for guitar-driven music with heavy riffs but with a pop music radio-play sensibility Hard Rock did not have. Glam Rock is also known for stadium anthem-ballads. Glam Metal was a major musical driving force through the 1980s into the 1990s, and Dokken was there at the beginning.

Dokken’s first album was Breaking The Chains in 1981 so the music on the new release was what lead up to this debut. The story is that Don Dokken recorded these early songs at Media Arts Studio in Redondo Beach in the late seventies then took them with him to Hamburg, Germany where fate and hard work eventually conspired to bring together producer Michael Wagener and Dokken. They hit upon a sound based on these demos and Dokken went on to extraordinary success selling millions of records. These earliest songs have not seen the light of day until now.

You can hear elements from the pieces on The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 on Dokken albums that came later and occasionally, the principal song itself, like “Felony” which made its way onto Breaking The Chains (1983) and “Prisoner” which showed up on Back For The Attack (1987), both in dramatically different forms. Songs like “Hit and Run,” “Step Into The Light,” and “No Answer” to me show that Dokken’s unique hallmark sound was there at the very beginning. The music developed, matured, and became more polished over the years but the early inspiration stayed with Don Dokken all the way through. Listening to this collection is nostalgic, sure, but it is also fascinating to discover how hard wired the Dokken sound was from the start. If you are a fan of Dokken or any of the 1980s Glam Metal bands, you are going to be excited to hear this album. Recommended.

The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 comes out this Friday, August 28th. You can get the music by itself or a merch bundle at the Dokken Store link below.

Links.

https://dokken.stors.co/

https://www.dokken.net/

https://www.facebook.com/DokkenOfficial

http://sl-music.net/en/

https://www.facebook.com/Silver.Lining.Music.Ltd/

Dokken, The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 (Silver Lining Music 2020)

Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins, Whore of Babylon review (Silver Lining Music 2020)

Back for the attack, Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins have a follow-up album to their 2018 earth-shaker.

Mike LePond is best known as the bass player for Symphony X. In 2014 he released an album titled Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins, and many thought it was a solo album. It wasn’t, though, not really. It was a new band. Four years later, they released their second album, Pawn and Prophecy. Now we have a new set from the band, Whore of Babylon, and it is another big metal album with all the heavy bells and whistles.

LePond has employed an army of musicians for this album, including Alan Tecchio, Lance Barnewold, Rod Rivera, Sarah Teets, Michael Romeo, and Michael Pinnella – and he is playing the bass, of course, both 4- and 8-string varieties plus acoustic and rhythm guitar and some background vocals in there too. The music has the feeling of bands like Savatage and Dio and Deep Purple, with roaring guitars and blistering leads.

If you glance through the track list at the titles of the songs, you get a quick feel for what is about to happen. “Dracul’s Son,” “Ides of March,” “Lady Bathory” … a lot of fantasy elements and tales of blood in there. The monster bass lines from LePond first stand out BIG on “Tell Tale Heart,” with its pummeling frontend groundwork. Most of the songs are fast an loud. The music does slow and quiet down in the middle for a 13 minute pair, “The Night of Long Knives” and “Champion,” and the title track, too, is eerie and understated. The closer is “Avalon,” an eight minute capstone to the set with gargantuan bass work and a firm nod to the stylings of Ritchie Blackmore. It is an excellent way to wrap up the album and put a seal on this metal artifact.

Available now from Silver Lining Music and pickupable at the links below. Recommended.

Band photo by Jatzi Nieto.

Links.

http://www.facebook.com/mikelepondssilentassassins

https://mikelepondssilentassassins.com/

http://sl-music.net

http://www.facebook.com/Silver.Lining.Music.Ltd

Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins, Whore of Babylon review (Silver Lining Music 2020)