Lightning to the Nations is the debut album by heavy metal band Diamond Head. The album was recorded in 1979 (after the 1977 and 1979 demos) and released in 1980 through their own label Happy Face Records, due to lack of interest from major labels and the band feeling that they needed to get the ball rolling as other bands from the same era, such as Iron Maiden andDef Leppard, were already becoming big names. Metal Blade Records re-released it on Compact Disc in 1992. In 2001, it was re-issued in its original "White Album" form by Sanctuary Records, featuring seven bonus tracks that were featured on singles and EPs from this era.
Diamond Head's unique sound and quality of song writing gained enough attention to tour as support with AC/DC and Iron Maiden. Although a clutch of record companies fought to sign the band, none were willing to fully commit. The fact that the band was at the time managed by Sean Harris' mother (Linda Harris) did not help the band's commercial momentum. So, while otherNew Wave of British Heavy Metal bands were signed to major labels and were headlining their own tours, Diamond Head were growing increasingly impatient and decided that they would release their material through their own label, Happy Face Records.
The album was recorded within seven days at The Old Smythy Studio in Worcester, which the band described as 'dead'. This album came in a plain sleeve with no title, having on it only a signature of one of the band members and no track listings. The reason for this was that the band's manager, Reg Fellows, owned a cardboard factory and could produce blank sleeves at a low cost. Also, the reason for recording this album was an attempt to lay down some tracks so they could send it to a record company who would be more willing to release it, as the recording costs had already been covered; this idea came from Fellows and Linda Harris (Sean's mother and tour manager). There were originally only 1000 copies pressed of the album, which were only available at their concerts or through mail-order at a price of £3.50. In fact the only mail-order advertisement appeared in British music magazine 'Sounds' and ran for four weeks. However, the band did not pay for the ad and ended up being sued.
This album has become one of the most sought-after items from the time for record collectors. Later, 1000 more copies were pressed, which contained the track listings. Unfortunately, the only original one-and-a-quarter-inch master tapes were lost after the band sent them to the German record company Woolfe Records, and they were never returned. Although Woolfe Records did release the album, which is the version with a picture of the world burning on the front cover. However, in 2001 Sanctuary Records released the album along with bonus tracks containing all the B-sides of the early Diamond Head singles.
The album catapulted Diamond Head to the forefront of the NWOBHM scene and was a big influence to many later metal bands, including Metallica and Megadeth. The former have covered songs such as "The Prince," "Sucking My Love," "Am I Evil?," "It's Electric," and "Helpless" all throughout their career and recorded most of them. Versions from various periods were compiled on Metallica's album Garage Inc.. As a result, Diamond Head became relatively well-known to Metallica fans and enjoyed exposure to a broader public than similar NWOBHM bands from the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In 2008, the Japanese metal magazine Burrn! rated this album as the third best riff album of all time, behind Black Sabbath's Master of Reality and Slayer's Reign in Blood. Also, theGuitarists' Book of Heavy Metal ranked the track "Am I Evil?" as the 5th best riff behind Iron Maiden's "The Number of the Beast".
All songs written and composed by Sean Harris and Brian Tatler.
|1.||"Lightning to the Nations"||4:15|
|3.||"Sucking My Love"||9:35|
|4.||"Am I Evil?"||7:39|
|5.||"Sweet and Innocent"||3:13|
|CD reissue bonus tracks (Castle Music)|
|8.||"Shoot Out the Lights" (originally released as a single)||4:17|
|9.||"Streets of Gold" (originally released as a B-side for the "Sweet and Innocent" single)||3:34|
|10.||"Waited Too Long" (originally released on the double A-side single "Waited Too Long"/"Play It Loud")||3:53|
|11.||"Play It Loud" (originally released on the double A-side single "Waited Too Long"/"Play It Loud")||3:31|
|12.||"Diamond Lights" (originally released on the Diamond Lights EP)||3:31|
|13.||"We Won't Be Back" (originally released on the Diamond Lights EP)||4:18|
|14.||"I Don't Got" (originally released on the Diamond Lights EP)||4:20|
- Diamond Head
- Sean Harris – vocals
- Brian Tatler – guitar
- Colin Kimberley – bass
- Duncan Scott – drums
- Produced by Reg Fellows and Diamond Head, except:
- "Streets of Gold" produced by Robin George and Diamond Head
- "Waited Too Long"/"Play It Loud" produced by Tony Wilson
- "Diamond Lights"/"We Won't Be Back"/"I Don't Got" produced by Diamond Head and engineered by Leslie Penning