DIAMOND HEAD – The Coffin Train

DIAMOND HEAD - The Coffin Train
  • 8/10
    DIAMOND HEAD - The Coffin Train - 8/10


Label: Silver Lining Music
Release date: May 24, 2019

User Review
7.75/10 (2 votes)

Cited by Metallica and Megadeth as a formative influence, Stourbridge 5-piece Diamond Head have endured a topsy-turvy career. Their Lightning to the Nations album showcased the sound of a band who, while aware of the legacy of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, were determined to carve out their own niche in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Alas, the left-hand path to metal greatness is not always an easy one: by 1985 founding members Sean Harris and Brian Tatler had parted company and the band was in hiatus.

Spin forward to 2019 and they’re back with a new set of songs that reference former glories without indulging them. Erstwhile vocalist Harris left the scene some time back, but his replacement, Rasmus Bom Andersen, displays a pleasing range of theatrical flourishes on tub-thumping opener “The Belly of the Beast.” The impassioned conflation of Chris Cornell and Paul Di’anno is particularly effective here, and the band gamely offers a supporting wall of classic metal riffage.

Elsewhere the tone varies from the delayed, palm muted guitar lines of “The Messenger” (a technique that recalls the changes in mood and texture heard on Diamond Head’s most famous calling card, “Am I Evil?”), to the brooding, angular choruses that dominate “The Sleeper.” However, it’s on the title track that Tatler and co. comprehensively display their ability to combine progressive sensibilities with a metallic attack. After a relatively mellow beginning, a sludgy section that might be a distant relative of early Cathedral ushers in some Tatler lead guitar work that teeters on the thin line between lyricism and madness.

As befits a band with a foot in the classic rock camp, songs such as “Shades of Black” and “The Phoenix” drip with the kind of exotic scales found in Rainbow’s more adventurous moments, and despite a lack of real innovation, the energy and execution of Karl Wilcox (drums) and Dean Ashton (bass guitar) save both tracks from sounding laboured.

It’s only towards the end of the album that the pace begins to flag. “Death by Design” and “Serrated Love” drift past without any real hooks, and the minimal appearance of anything other than standard rock instrumentation makes for rapid ear fatigue.

That said, there’s enough here to keep fans of this type of classic heavy metal interested. With a healthy dose of marketing, The Coffin Train could be the album that brings Diamond Head the wider audience they deserve.

The Coffin Train is out now on Silver Lining Music
For more information about Diamond Head, visit their official site


  • Dan Whittle

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been a music fan since his mother introduced him to the piano at the age of 5. That she introduced him is no real guide to whether he could play it, "as anyone who had the misfortune to hear my hamfisted plonking would readily testify," says Dan. Abandoning his nascent career as a pianist, he turned, instead, to listening to as many albums as he could lay his hands on. The first, halting steps, were of the novelty record variety; but gradually he found his niche. After a brief, abortive flirtation with indie, he heard Clutching at Straws by Marillion and that was it. These days his tastes are on the catholic side, but whiling away a few hours listening to ambitious guitar music (especially of the progressive variety) is still amongst his favorite activities.   Oh, and if anyone's wondering, he did learn the piano and the guitar in the end...

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.