Diamond Head - LIVE: Islington Academy 2, London 2017

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UK Tour
October 1 (21:25 - 22:45)
Capacity 250

In a last push for 2016's self-titled return to form, Diamond Head made one more headlining run through the UK, playing the penultimate show of the tour in London, before they release their next album early in 2018.

Playing as a four-piece in the absence of rhythm guitarist Andy "Abbz" Abberley, the band compensated for any potential lack of depth by being incredibly loud. In the tight confines of the Islington Academy 2, Brian Tatler's riffs were deafening, and somehow still didn't drown out powerhouse new vocalist Rasmus Anderson, now a fully embedded part of the band, and a real showman.

The latest set now boasts a good number of tracks from the excellent new album, which drop in seamlessly alongside the classics, and Anderson handles it all perfectly. If anyone in the band really felt the restrictions of the Academy 2's small stage, it was him, constantly wanting to run and jump around, and somehow still managing a few impressive leaps without causing any damage. Newest member Dean Ashton on bass seems to have already formed an impressively tight partnership with long-time drummer Karl Wilcox - who delivered an impassioned speach at the end of the show thanking the fans for supporting them.

It isn't unfair to suggest that Diamond Head are in by far their finest post-Sean Harris form to date, and that shows in how welcomed the new songs are by the crowds. Particularly the ultra-heavy groover Set My Soul On Fire, and Diamonds (a song Anderson admitted was almost dropped from the album, but is surprisingly a fan favourite) received strong support from the packed room, but there's no getting away from the popularity of some of the classics. Lightning To The Nations, It's Electric, Helpless, and even In The Heat of The Night were sung loudly, and in full by almost everyone in the place, and the band are aware of that, which is why the set comes entirely from the first two albums and the new one.

With any luck, one or two songs from the overlooked Canterbury might return to the set in the future, but at the moment the band are playing the hell out of these ones. Their reputation as live act is continuing to grow, and deservedly so, as there's no fat on their sets. They're lean, full of only the best songs, with minimal interruptions, and played at a breathless intensity. The next album will hopefully continue to build on the last year or two's momentum, and by the time they come back around, maybe there'll be where they deserve to be, in the main Academy room instead of the smaller one.

Setlist: Shout At The Devil / Borrowed Time / Bones / Lightning To The Nations / The Prince / In The Heat of The Night / Set My Soul On Fire / Shoot Out The Lights / Sweet And Innocent / Diamonds / It's Electric / Helpless / Am I Evil? // Sucking My Love

Written by Andy Lye
More: Gigs, Heavy Metal,

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