The Almighty: Blood Fire And Love (expanded reissue)
Back in 1989 the Scottish/Northern Irish hybrid The Almighty were being touted for greatness, with even talk of the UK's answer to Guns n' Roses being bandied around. In truth this raucous four piece were always a little rougher and tougher than GnR, aggression, especially in the early days, one of the band's calling cards. The first in a series of remasterd reissues from Spinefarm/Universal encapsulates that era of the band perfectly, three discs brought together in one smart package with a classy booklet featuring interviews with band members and other important players in the creation of what is presented here.
Disc one is the debut album itself, Blood Fire And Love standing up extremely well to fresh scrutiny, an admittedly loose production adding to a sense of danger as the chant along of "Wild And Wonderful" hits home eagerly – its Doors-like mid section still a surprise. The band's early calling card, "Full Force Lovin' Machine", is still an adrenalin rush of gritty hard rock that really set the stall for a band who seemed to straddle the mid ground between New Model Army and Motorhead which such ease. While the album's title track actually sounds better with the passage of time, the Bond theme meets War of The World string arrangements not as out of place as remembered, as "Destroyed", well, destroys through a foot to the floor whack of melody and anger. Hearing this album again, it's no wonder hopes were high that The Almighty were destined for greatness.
However it was always on stage where this lot truly thrived, disc two presenting what was a quick fire follow up to the debut, the aptly titled Blood Fire And Live. It's an almighty (ahem) statement, seven album tracks romped through in magnificent style; brooding, threatening, yet precise and all the more powerful for being so. Singer (and guitarist) Ricky Warwick sounds better here than he does on the echo enhanced studio effort, while guitarist Tantrum and bassist Floyd London lay it all down loud and proud. Add in the explosive drumming of Stump Monroe and BF&Live genuinely captures what it was like to witness this band way back then. The closing cover of the Bachman Turner Overdrive staple "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" is still more cheese than more please, yet I'll bet you'll sing along just as I did!
That doesn't mean however that the final disc of b sides, demos and a Friday Rock Show session isn't worth checking out, the demos of "Destroyed", "Lay Down The Law" and "Full Force Lovin' Machine" containing an urgency the album versions arguably lack. B sides "Love Me To Death", "Thunderbird" and "Good God Almighty" all stand up well, if in a similar to, but not as good as what made the album, sort of way, while the live version of "Power" is the equal of what made the actual live album. Admittedly things can get repetitive, four versions of "Power" verging on overkill (especially the barely bearable taken direct from vinyl, "Dub Mix"), while "Destroyed" also appears in three guises. However with the last coming from the excellent Friday Rock Show sessions, it's easy to forgive these songs overstaying their welcome.
Blood Fire And Love really was an impressive way to introduce The Almighty to the world, however the real revelation here is the superb Blood Fire And Live. Add in a collection of collectors delights and the only thing to dislike about this release is the horrible sticker Universal needlessly insist on slapping round all of their deluxe editions. Otherwise I can't recommend this collection highly enough to any lover of gritty, hard hitting rock n roll.
BLOOD, FIRE & LOVE
1 Resurrection Mutha
3 Wild & Wonderful
4 Blood, Fire & Love
6 You've Gone Wild
7 Lay Down The Law
9 Full Force Lovin' Machine
11 New Love Sensation
BLOOD, FIRE & LIVE
1 Full Force Lovin' Machine
2 You've Gone Wild
3 Lay Down The Law
4 Blood, Fire & Love
6 Wild & Wonderful
7 Resurrection Mutha
8 You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
1 Destroyed (Demo)
2 Lay Down The Law (Demo)
3 Full Force Lovin' Machine (Demo)
4 Destroyed (Radio Edit)
5 Love Me To Death
6 Blood, Fire & Love (Metal Version)
7 Wild & Wonderful (Live)
8 Lay Down The Law (Live)
9 Power (Killerwatt Mix)
10 Power (Live)
11 Power (Dub Version)
13 Good God Almighty
14 Power (Friday Rock Show)
15 Wild & Wonderful (Friday Rock Show)
16 Destroyed (Friday Rock Show)
17 Thunderbird (Friday Rock Show)
Added: February 15th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Almighty on Facebook
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