Diamond Head have re-recorded the classic Am I Evil? and it's a monster

Diamond Head 2020
(Image credit: Nic Gaunt / Silver Lining Music)

NWOBHM legends Diamond Head have released a new version of their classic Am I Evil?. It's taken from a completely re-recorded version of their 1980 album Lightning To The Nations, which will be released later this month.

"Am I Evil? Is one of the songs that Metallica covered," says Diamond Head guitarist Brian Tatler. "I got a call from Lars Ulrich on 20th September 1986 to say that Metallica were playing that evening as part of the Master of Puppets Tour, at the Birmingham Odeon which was the best venue in the Midlands to see bands. 

"Lars invited me along, so I caught the number 9 bus and picked up my backstage pass and was shown into Metallica’s dressing room. I was then introduced to James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Cliff Burton. Lars suggested that I get up and play Am I Evil? on stage with them in the encore, and I of course agreed. 

"After watching their amazing set for an hour I went backstage again where the guitar techs strapped James’s white Flying-V onto me. Then Lars ran to the centre-vocal mike and introduced me as 'the guy who wrote this next song!'. The five of us played Am I Evil? up to the fast section then Metallica went into Damage Inc. and I scarpered off stage. It was a brilliant experience!

“It's also been a really great experience to re-visit and re-record Am I Evil? and the Lightning To The Nations album for 2020. It’s also about time that Diamond Head’s biggest song finally has a video!"

The new version of Lightning To The Nations will also feature four cover versions: Diamond Head’s takes on Judas Priest’s SinnerLed Zeppelin’s Immigrant SongDeep Purple’s Rat Bat Blue and, in a nod to the band who re-introduced their music to a new generation of rock fans, Metallica’s No Remorse.

“The original album was recorded and mixed in a week," says Tatler, "and we were very young, still 19/20 years old when it was recorded, so there’s a lot of that youthful energy. But we didn’t have the technique, time or craftsmanship to record it with the sort of power that we could now. So that was a real thing to savour: the opportunity to go in the studio and record these songs fresh and vibrant."

Last month Diamond Head released the re-recorded It's Electric from the album, which was also covered by Metallica, on their 1998 album Garage Inc.

Lighting For The Nations 2020 is released on November 27 and can be pre-ordered now

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.