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Random Number | Diamond Head’s The Prince

Crank up this classic NWOBHM anthem — and the more famous Metallica cover.

I was a teenager from the mid-’70s to the early ’80s. I worked in record stores. And I played in my share of shitty metal bands. So I consider myself reasonably familiar with the best of NWOBHM — or the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, in case you’re someone who hasn’t wasted most of their life the same way I have. But recently I came across a compilation titled Winds Of Time: The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal 1979 – 1985. The first song in the set is The Prince by Diamond Head. Like most Metallica fans, I was familiar with their version — the thrashmasters covered it as the B-side of One back in the ’80s. (It was also a bonus track on the Japanese version of …And Justice For All, and later included on the 1998 compilation Garage Inc.) And much as I dig Metallica‘s stripped-down, pedal-to-the-metal take, I think there’s something to be said for the epic six-minute original, which first appeared on Diamond Head’s 1980 debut Lightning to the Nations. It’s basically a relentless juggernaut anthem of fiery guitar riffs, tempo shifts, harmonized solos and satanic lyrics — topped with swirling Deep Purple-style organ to boot. And for some reason, a classic headbanger seems like a good way to help you get up to speed for your working week. Here’s the original, followed by the Metallica rendition. Crank them up and enjoy.