Diamond Head - The Coffin Train
Silver Lining Music
NWOBHM / Hard Rock
10 songs (50' 5")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Andy

Diamond Head's second album with Rasmus Bom Anderson proves that bringing him into the band was a move in the right direction. The self-titled album was good, certainly the best from the band since the classic Lightning to the Nations; The Coffin Train cements this winning streak with more NWOBHM riffs, which have been sorely missed.

It was entirely possibly that the band would just opt for safety at all costs and, finding Diamond Head to be a success, would cling tightly to songs of its type: Lightning to the Nations-style NWOBHM songs without a huge amount of memorability, powered by a younger and stronger voice. And to hear Belly of the Beast, one could be forgiven for thinking that was exactly what they had done; it sounds good, but we've heard it before on both Lightning and the self-titled album. Better than this one is The Messenger, which starts with some great riffs (the press release insinuates that founding guitarist Brian Tatler has a "collection" of riffs stashed away for song construction, which is rather easy to believe) and moves to a quick-marching blues beat with Anderson's vocals propelling the song. Overall, the number of fast songs is way down; they're still present, and they're still good, but this is a darker, more epic album, as The Sleeper and the title track shows. The riffs are just as good as the previous album, but a lot more brooding, and the symphonic synths that were so weird on All the Reasons You Live are smoothed out on The Sleeper.

These tracks also show how good a vocalist Diamond Head has picked up. Rasmus periodically channeled Soundgarden's Chris Cornell on a few of the last album's songs, but he has really come into his own here now that the songs have greater atmosphere, especially on the title track. There he sings with the pipes of a Cornell to riffs that are still unmistakably Diamond Head, but a darker, grimmer one with more Black Sabbath influence. But it's doubtful that Cornell could have performed the vocal contortions Anderson does on Serrated Love, certainly not after the 90s; I'm not even sure (heresy!) that Sean Harris could have. Tatler backs this performance up with even better soloing than on the self-titled album.

I must confess I thought Diamond Head might be a flash in the pan, due to the band's ever-changing musical interests. But The Coffin Train makes it pretty safe to say they've got their mojo back. They will probably never top Lightning to the Nations, but this new material is very good.

Killing Songs :
The Coffin Train, The Sleeper, Serrated Love
Andy quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Diamond Head that we have reviewed:
Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations 2020 reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Diamond Head - Diamond Head reviewed by Andy and quoted 84 / 100
Diamond Head - All Will Be Revealed reviewed by Mike and quoted 70 / 100
Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations reviewed by Mike and quoted CLASSIC
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