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Metallica Covers Diamond Head’s ‘Am I Evil?’ With That Band’s Brian Tatler: Watch

Diamond Head guitarist Brian Tatler joined the group onstage in Oslo to perform the song he co-wrote in the late Seventies.

Metallica perform on the second night of their 40th Anniversary Concert at the Chase Center on December 19, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

Chris Tuite for Rolling Stone

Going back to Metallica‘s first show in 1982, Diamond Head’s eight-minute New Wave of British Heavy Metal crusher “Am I Evil?” has been a staple of their set lists. They’ve teamed up with members of the band a few times over the years to perform it live, and the planets aligned again on Wednesday when Metallica stopped through Oslo for the Tons of Rock festival. Diamond Head guitarist Brian Tatler joined the group onstage to perform the song he co-wrote in the late Seventies.

After bulldozing through the jagged opening chords, Tatler steps to the forefront early to play the iconic triplets that signal the main riff, and everyone settles into an easy groove. James Hetfield sang the lyrics, written by former Diamond Head frontman Sean Harris, with extra oomph. The real highlight, though, is watching Tatler play the solos at the end as Hetfield, bassist Robert Trujillo, and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett (who plays rhythm guitar for a change on the song) flank him on either side. As Tatler reaches the lead’s denouement, Hammett smiles broadly and headbangs while playing the riff.

In 2017, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich picked his 15 favorite metal and hard rock albums for Rolling Stone, and one of them was Diamond Head’s Lightning to the Nations. While discussing the album, the drummer recalled how the band was called out for its Diamond Head ardor early on. “At our first concert, I think we played four Diamond Head songs,” he said. “We started out as a cover band and we sort of were in that grey area. We just went up and played the songs. We didn’t tell anybody that they were cover songs – but we also didn’t tell anybody that they were our songs. We just played the songs. I think it was the second or third show we played where we got a gig opening for Saxon, and their sound guy, Paul, came up and asked if we’d ever heard of a band called Diamond Head. I went, ‘Of course, we cover four of their songs.’”

When Rolling Stone ranked the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Songs of All Time last year, Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?” ranked Number 26. “The song remains a masterclass in heavy metal dynamics, from its doomy, militaristic intro to its rising-and-falling central riff,” the magazine said. “For all the occult fun in the lyrics, ‘Am I Evil?’ showed how storytelling could be reflected more vividly with a dramatic instrumental arrangement.”