Like probably a lot of metalheads, I discovered this song through Metallica. I later found that this piece is one of the earliest thrash metal recordings there is. I know that many would argue that Black Sabbath are the pioneers of metal and this is quite true. However, Diamond Head played an important role in influencing the genre as well and taking it in a different direction i.e. thrash metal. The proof lies in the fact that bands whom many would regard as the greatest thrash metal bands (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax) all have played versions of the song. In fact, Metallica have frequently added “Am I Evil?” to their sets during shows.
This song really is the first “evil” metal song with the fast riffs and violent lyrics describing a young man who goes on a killing spree after the death of his mother. While I am put off by the lyrics, I am drawn in by the pleasantly harsh intermarriage of the guitars and drums.