In the year 1981 Diamond Head were at their peak. The sonic wave of Lightning To The Nations was still sweeping everything away, the self-confidence of the band members was sky high, while the contract with MCA seemed to work as a guarantee for larger audiences for the band from the unknown Stourbridge. What the hell could go wrong on the way to the top? This state of euphoria was imprinted in the studio with an experimental intention that was making the songs longer and longer in the sense of ‘we are having such a good time in the recordings that it’s not so easy to let the instruments go from our hands’. You know there are bands destined to fill up fields with raging youth that look like football fans singing the choruses and destroying their throats next to plastic bottles filled with urine, while others create such songs that work better in the warm and restricted environment of a small venue or a pub with easy access to the bar.
And the songs from Borrowed Time fall in the second category. Their uplifting beat in combination with alcohol makes you move your ass looking for the right company to exchange liquids. The stretched duration of the songs doesn’t matter so much anymore, since its heady aura just prolongs the musical part of the game, unless in some totally unsexy way we have been transferred to a musical school with metronomes and loveless teachers… Yet the metal audience of the time was complaining, because they wanted shorter and tighter songs. The reason why Diamond Head did not become huge with that album was another one though. It is the same one why many others bands of the NWOBHM movement never made it big. Too many singles and 7΄΄ inches and countless collections were confusing the fans that wisely preferred to buy complete studio albums. Moreover, the choice of two songs from Lighting… to complete Borrowed Time’s tracklisting was an unnecessary redundancy and actually undermined the new material of the album itself. The five new compositions are written with the same formula creating a concrete sound with character and personality. The two older ones are implemented seamlessly in the whole as well and especially someone who wasn’t there at the time being upset with the band’s or the company’s choice to squeeze them in, would notice no difference – saying that safely with a forty year old hindsight. What outlines the approach of Head as far as composition goes is simplicity in the rhythm guitars, the fact that melody has the main role and a Dionysian performance by the singer (with the sometimes mysterious rhythm having no significant changes). The album as a whole is excellent, even though one has to give special attention to the trippy opener ‘In The Heat Of The Night’, to the indolent and bluesy title track, to the playful ‘Call Me’ (released as a 7’’ on May 1982) and to the Zeppelinesque ‘Don’t You Ever Leave Me’ that steal the show. Whoever thinks that the production and the sound are dated, let me remind you that Time is for every piece of Art – therefore for a vinyl that contains music as well – a veil that clads its aura. It weights on the shoulder of every creation in inverse proportion to its value and it determines whether this record belongs to oblivion or immortality. In this case this veils makes ‘Borrowed Time’ shine for the last 36 years and its legacy is painted with golden colours in the book of Heavy Metal. It was released on the 12th of March 1982 from MCA Records, produced by Mike Hedges.