Friday 15 December 2017

Album Review: WARRIOR SOUL – Back On The Lash

Warrior Soul - Back On The Lash

01. American Idol
02. I Get Fucked Up
03. Back On The Lash
04. Thrill Seeker
05. Goin’ Broke Gettin’ High
06. Black Out
07. I’ve Got The Rock
08. Further Decay
09. That’s How We Roll

I wasn't expecting much from Back On The Lash, if I'm completely honest. When I first got into Warrior Soul, it was when the Space Age Playboys album came out in 1994. That was a truly incredible album, musically, lyrically, and production wise, and was packed full of songs that I've played countless times. There wasn't a weak moment on there. I was lucky enough to catch them on that tour too! Sadly, the band broke up at the tail end of 1995.

When Kory brought Warrior Soul back a few years ago, I noticed how drastically his voice had changed. It sounded like he'd been gargling razor blades for the last ten years. He still sounded cool in his own way, but his voice was raspy as fuck, to the point where he sounded like a worn-out version of his former self.

I saw Warrior Soul at Camden Rocks in June 2016, and they weren't very good at all. Kory sounded awful, to the point where some of the songs were barely recognisable. I'm not sure whether it was his voice giving up on him, or he'd had too much to drink or something. Considering how many amazing bands I saw that day who were all slick, hungry, and on top of their game, it made watching Warrior Soul all the more painful. They were the only band who hit the stage late, so didn't play for long at all, and watching Kory flail around, croaking into the microphone, ensured that they were easily the worst band of the day.

And that is why I wasn't expecting much from this new record. Regardless, I felt the need to check it out for old times' sake.

Opener American Idol is more like an intro than a song, clocking in at less than two minutes. It's basically a cool riff repeated, with Kory ranting over the top, culminating in him shouting "Fuck You, I'm The American Idol" a few times.

I Get Fucked Up is an AC/DC style, mid-paced Hard Rock number, and this sets the tone for the overall sound of this record. Well, think AC/DC mixed up with some Buckcherry with a raw (or cheap?) production, and that's pretty much a template for what's on offer throughout the whole album. Take away the vocals, and you'd be left with some very generic Hard Rock that's been done countless times before, and done way better than on here.

Thrill Seeker features some cool lead guitar work that reminds me of Phil Campbell during some of Motorhead's finest moments, but the song as a whole isn't massively impressive.

Goin’ Broke Gettin’ High for me is the first song worthy of the Warrior Soul name, with it's swagger and caustic lyrics. Black Out is pretty catchy, and possibly my favourite track on the record. I've Got The Rock sounds like early Motorhead, and is a 'no frills' Rock 'n' Roll track. Nothing on here is bad, but nothing is mind-blowing either. That contemporary vibe the band was known for has been replaced by something way too vanilla, and the  'Acid Punk' has morphed into Classic Rock.

Back On The Lash is certainly better than their disappointing previous album, Stiff Middle Finger, and is definitely an enjoyable listen. Kory's voice still sounds reasonably cool, like a worn-out leather jacket that's grown in character with every debauched night out. However, if I told you he sounds anywhere near as good as he did in the Space Age Playboys days, I'd be lying to you. This is a classic example of someone's past greatly outshining their present, as this new album doesn't come anywhere close to their early material in terms of song writing, production, or delivery. To put things into perspective, if I was putting together a Warrior Soul 'Greatest Hits' album, not a single one of these new songs would make the cut. Sad but true.

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