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Am I Evil

Diamond Head

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Album Review

New Wave of British Heavy Metal heavyweights (and mainstream metal failures) Diamond Head were long overdue for a best-of anthology, and chances are Sanctuary's two-disc Am I Evil?: Anthology, although not exactly perfect, is about as good as anyone could have hoped for. Except the unusually poppy single "Sweet and Innocent," all of Diamond Head's first and finest, nameless album (commonly referred to as Lightning to the Nations) and its essential B-sides ("Shoot Out the Lights," "Play It Loud," etc.) are paraded before the court here — to the continued wonderment of all who may hear them. And for all of their inherent faults, the far less satisfying songs chosen from sophomore disaster Borrowed Time ("In the Heat of the Night," the title track, etc.) manage to acquit themselves ever so slightly in retrospect's benevolent glare. Not so the desperately unsalvageable submissions (and too many of them, let it be said) culled from confused third opus Canterbury, which remain as indefensible today as they did then — with the only possible exception being the somewhat classy "Knight of the Swords." A surprisingly large number of cuts are also chosen from Diamond Head's belated, but not completely forgettable, comeback Death & Progress, and the final trio of classics capture live in concert are interesting enough. Inevitably, however, a few tragic oversights were bound to occur, and it's really a shame to find masterful numbers like energetic first album outtake "Streets of Gold" or Death & Progress' haunting opener "Starcrossed (Lovers of the Night)" omitted from this anthology's final selection. All a matter of opinion, I suppose, and of course many would argue that it's a waste of time even going beyond that be-all, end-all of a first album to sample a career which afterwards only headed south. But, for the more curious listener looking to sample both the good and the not so good, or to supplant their weathered copy of the horribly and senselessly remixed Behold the Beginning, this is a fine investment.


Formed: 1976

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s

Diamond Head's history is certainly among the most peculiar in all of rock. One of the most remarkable talents to arise out of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the band's career never fulfilled its early promise, yet their legacy still ranks among the most influential of the genre. Sounds metal editor Geoff Barton (the man who coined the phrase N.W.O.B.H.M. in the first place) once remarked that "there are more good riffs in your average single Diamond Head song than there are in the first four...
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Am I Evil, Diamond Head
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