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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Diamond Head - 1983 Canterbury
Diamond Head - 1983 Canterbury

ARTIST: Diamond Head
ALBUM: Canterbury
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1992, MCA, MCAD30731 * 2007, Metal Mind, MASS CD 1079 DG (bonus tracks, remastered, gold disc)


LINEUP: Sean Harris - vocals * Brian Tatler - guitars * Colin Kimberley, Merv Goldsworthy - bass * Duncan Scott, Robbie France, Jamie Lane - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Makin' Music * 02 Out Of Phase * 03 The Kingmaker * 04 One More Night * 05 To The Devil His Due * 06 Knight Of The Sword * 07 Ishmael * 08 I Need Your Love * 09 Canterbury


Another much loved band from the NWOBHM movement, though their actual sound was far less metal than their categorisation warranted. If one looks back at DH's early discography, and navigates through all of the material, you'll find it doesn't equate to the power generated by the their peers from the same era - coming off as hard-edged rock mostly. However, what stands this band apart is the quality of their songs, and the unique (at the time) combination of the two main parties Sean Harris and Brian Tatler. It is no secret that DH remained a firm favourite among the press and fans, with big things expected of them. Particularly after the release of their 1979 independent album 'Lightning To The Nations', revered as a classic to this day. It contained of course, the seminal 'Am I Evil', so lovingly resurrected by Metallica some years later, who were/are huge DH fans, particularly drummer Lars Ulrich.

The Songs
1981 saw the band sign to MCA Records, with the eventual release of 'Borrowed Time', containing two of the tracks from 'LTTN'. Perhaps not the album to set the public's imagination alight. Even less so was the concept album 'Canterbury'. Despite the lukewarm reception, this album remains a firm favourite among many DH fans, the sound atmospheric in places, almost progressive in parts. At this point, the nucleus of the band was intact (Harris and Tatler), though the rhythm section was proving to be a problem. Three drummers and two bass players appear on the album, perhaps highlighting the inconsistency and frustration starting to develop with the threat of non-success just around the corner. For me, there is some wonderful material onboard: 'To The Devil His Due' and 'Knight Of The Swords' - both taking on that 'epic' stance, cavalier like, similar to Saxon's 'Crusader' album the same year. The atmospheric 'Ishmael' evoking images of windswept deserts and far off exotic Arab locations. Even when the band get commercial with the likes of 'Out Of Phase' and 'I Need Your Love', the results are a standout. Such stylistically simple songs given the Diamond Head seal of excellence.

In Summary
Two years later and with no doorways opening, the band called it a day. They did reform briefly in 1993 for the 'Death And Progress' album, then prompted folded again, only to reform again. Harris is no longer in the band, replaced by Nick Tart, with Eddie Moohan and Karl Wilcox holding up the back-end rhythm section. A good band, with many CD compilations out there for you to experiment with.

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#1 | Eric on February 08 2008 01:58:15
Some comparisons to 'Queen II' that didn't go amiss on the British press and was not lost on this listener. A monument to British rock that has never received a proper reissue that I am aware of (?). Why is this?helpless
#2 | gdazegod on February 08 2008 02:20:43
A great album.. without doubt. clap
#3 | reyno-roxx on July 15 2008 12:33:15
Metallica TOTALLY ripped Diamond Head off. The original line-up remains for me the best live band I've ever seen.
Sadly, this album was seen to be a bit of a career suicide move for them. It's a good album in retrospect, but it just wasn't seen to be a record that reflected what Diamond Head represented to their fans at the time. Getting the MCA deal was the worst thing that ever happened to this band.
#4 | Nick C on August 23 2008 12:09:41
Following Lightening to the Nations which sparked with pure electricity with Borrowed Time was in my mind a huge step backwards. Borrowed Time being too ponderous and polite by far, the re-recorded version of Am I Evil not a patch on the original...all a bit too boxed in.

But Canterbury is a revelation in comparison, the song writing is excellent and the brooding title track for me is a tour de force.
As Dave mentioned at the time of it's release the band were seen as throwing their fans a curve ball somewhat and they were slated for straying too far from their roots, plus apparently a pressing problem at the plant resulted in loads of the original copies being recalled (having said that mine was fine and a I bought it the day of release) which can't have helped the band any either.

But I like this album a lot, maybe not as much a Lightning but definitely more than Borrowed Time
#5 | sabace on July 24 2012 12:43:06
the white lp is the CLASSIC! kinda like ufo on steroids . How metallica made it and these boys did'nt is up there with the Higs boson mystery!
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