3.5 out of 5 Stars!
The generally exciting “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” era in the U.K. produced a slew of bands that, whether they fit the genre label or not, somehow got lumped into this category. Many bands (Iron Maiden, Saxon, Angel Witch, Tygers of Pan Tang, etc.) were appropriately categorized, whereas a handful of others (such as Nightwing or Girlschool, for example) seemed sadly mislabeled.
When it came to Diamond Head, another one of the “NWOBHM” groups heavily promoted by magazines such as Kerrang! and Metal Hammer at the time, most of the tracks on Borrowed Time easily fit this category (although a few tracks, such as “Don’t You Ever Leave Me”—mainly a Blues-Rock excursion—and “Call Me”—a Hard Rock, almost AOR, attempt at generating a hit single—didn’t quite). And certainly once Diamond Head released its follow-up album, Canterbury, and the majority of the “metalness” had disappeared, the genre label seemed horribly inappropriate.
But as I stated, Borrowed Time did indeed include some actual Heavy Metal that offered great promise for the band’s future (sadly unfulfilled), especially when it came to the songs “Lightning to the Nations,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Borrowed Time,” “To Heaven From Hell,” and the utterly outstanding “Am I Evil?” (later covered by Metallica, and quite commendably, I admit).
So to me, Borrowed Time (Diamond Head’s first “official” major label release) is probably its finest album (not counting the band’s previous 1980 “demo”). The musicianship is generally commendable, with guitarist Brian Tatler displaying great potential, while bassist Colin Kimberly and drummer Duncan Scott do a commendable job with the material. But also note: although on many tracks I rather enjoy Sean Harris’s voice when it comes to his range and timbre, his delivery style did take some getting used to—his tendency to ad lib melody lines where he often ended up all over the map, and his inclination to be too forceful at unexpected moments, occasionally proved frustrating and downright annoying, so “potential listeners/buyers beware.”