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Diamond Head, Slims, San Francsico
2nd November 2016

tony conley
Tony Conley

diamond head

"Without Diamond Head, none of this would have existed." ~ Lars Ulrich, Metallica

Diamond Head kicked off the first night of their American tour last week in San Francisco, and they were marvelous. Reinvigorated by vocalist Rasmus Bom Andersen (Ras), and lead by the unflaggingly brilliant guitar work of founder Brian Tatler, the band gave a performance that got them a enthusiastic welcome back to the States by a pleased as punch audience.

Brian Tatler has always been incredibly scrupulous about the way Diamond Head has presented itself. While he's managed to keep the band's standards very high, it has perhaps come at the price of being acclaimed as one of the most influential acts to come out of the NWOBHM scene in the early 80s, but also an act that has been absent as often as it's been on the boards. The good news is that this iteration of Diamond Head is as mighty as any that has come before it, and having a relatively new frontman who owes nothing to the past while giving it great respect results in a band that can play old and new songs that seamlessly live together in the new set.

As with many bands of a certain vintage, Diamond Head now sport a combination of players who run the gamut from being present at the creation (Tatler) to a brand new bassist (Dean Ashton). Then there is the brilliant man behind the drums, Karl Wilcox, who has been with the band for nearly twenty of the last twenty-five years. I've said it many times in the past, but a great drummer is an essential element in rock'n'roll, and Wilcox is a very underrated sticksman. Musical, powerful, and visual - these are the elements that every kid who picks up a set of sticks should learn.
Rounding things out you have Andy (Abbz) Abberley on second guitar (2006), and the aforementioned Ras out front. They are a very cohesive unit, and a great blend onstage. Again, a testament to Tatler's unswerving demand for the best he can present for his brand and band.

diamond head

The setlist was made up of certified Diamond Head classics, four songs off their very impressive new self-titled album, and a couple of deep tracks for the hardcore fans. The great thing is that you cannot identify the old versus the new, unless you know their histories.

The new album opener, 'Bones', is a fantastic example that has Tatler riffing in his easily identifiable style, and Ras singing in both a style that suggests that he has certainly done his back catalogue homework, but melodically he's very much his own man, and a very compelling writer - when this number segues from aggressive riffing into a very smooth and melodic B section, he handles it with the aplomb of a younger Phil Mogg, but with the very accurate vocal gymnastics of a Halford or Dickinson. I use these names as identifiable benchmarks only, Ras sounds like Ras, and he's one of the best hard rock/Metal vocalists to emerge in this century.

I had a chance to speak briefly with both Tatler and Ras before the band hit the stage, and it's great to see a lead guitarist and a singer who are both obviously enamored with one another's talents, and their creative partnership. That this new album is their first as a working unit, it certainly bodes well for the future of this classic British outfit.

Onstage you can actually watch them being musically inspired by one another, and to see the sparks it creates is most impressive as Tatler digs into the chords with even more determination after a particularly powerful line from Ras, and Ras gives it right back after Tatler has torn off a particularly hot lead or riff, and there are many, many moments of great guitar work from one of England's most underrated players.

Tatler reminds me of a riffier Pete Townshend, in that he's always about the song, and never relying on his instrument for just flash, or to show his goods.

diamond head

This gig came to me at the last moment - a sudden realization that Diamond Head was going to be just two-and-a-half hours away, and given the added attraction of it being the first night of a tour, I had to make it happen, and I'm stoked that it did, as it turned out to be one of the best gigs I've seen in a year that has literally been an embarrassment of riches in terms of great shows.

Anybody that wants to tell you that rock is dead should be directed to see a Diamond Head show to get their mind right. Rock ain't near dead, and God bless a band that keeps making itself not just the best it can be, but as good as it's ever been, and I tip my hat to these guys for being not just a buzz, but an inspiration.

Diamond Head are still going strong across the US, and if they are anywhere near you, get out to the show, you'll be greatly pleased, this much I can promise you.

Todd Owens of Capital Chaos TV interviewed Brian Tatler and Karl Wilcox on their influence on Metallica, new Diamond Head, touring North America versus touring Europe and more at Slims.


Diamond Head Live Set Tweaked For US Tour: Twelve Extra Songs Added To Repertoire
Diamond Head Frontman Reveals His Secret Weapon On Eve Of Tour
Diamond Head Arrive In San Francisco Ready For Tonight
It's Electric In San Francisco For Diamond Head
Diamond Head Going Strong Across The USA
It's All Go-Go In LA For Diamond Head
Diamond Head Set Their Souls On Fire In Las Vegas
Diamond Head Strike Gold In San Diego
Diamond Head Wild On The Streets Of New Mexico
Arizona Welcomes Diamond Head: "Thanks For Getting Me Through My Prison Years"
To The Devil His Due And The Diamond Head Rockbox Promoter Too
Diamond Head Start Big Sixteen In Memphis
No Time To Borrow For Diamond Head In Pennsylvania
New York, New York, So Good Diamond Head Play It Twice
Diamond Head Makin' Music In Detroit Rock City
Diamond Lights And Medals In Canada
The Final Instalment


Diamond Head Leave Edinburgh Audience Helpless In The Heat Of The Night
Diamond Head At Bloodstock 2016
Diamond Head Play It Loud In Southampton, Nuneaton And Milton Keynes
MetalTalk Gig Of The Week: Diamond Head, April 2016
Diamond Head: 'Diamond Head' - The album review by Ian Sutherland

Diamond Head are:
Brian Tatler - lead guitar, rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Rasmus Bom Andersen – lead vocals
Karl Wilcox – drums
Andy 'Abbz' Abberley – rhythm guitar
Dean Ashton - bass guitar, backing vocals

diamond head




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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