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The Almighty: Powertrippin’ (Deluxe Edition)

I have to admit that by this stage in The Almighty’s rise to prominence I’d personally written them off as proficient rabble rousers with a neat line in Bachman Turner Overdrive covers… “Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet?” nothing could have been truer! Catching them headlining on the Powertrippin’ album tour at The Barrowland in Glasgow, purely because The Wildhearts and Kerbdog were also on their bill, was an eye opener but then so was seeing them triumph over a mass-populated field at the Monster Of Rock at Donington Park earlier the same year. Won over, the Powertrippin’ album was purchased and the slick but heavy fare immediately sealed the deal. This was a proper heavy rock band, using drop D tuning, who weren’t simply chasing a Seattle scene. Instead, these boys from my home country (Scotland for anyone who hasn’t struggled with my accent on the SoT YouTube channel!) were ploughing their own furrow. Informed by NWOBHM, but much more threatening and still holding a punk side to their attack, the instant thwack of “Addiction”, which opens this album and still finds drummer Stumpy Monroe rolling out one of my all time fave drum fills, remains a magnificent statement. “Possession” mines a similar seam of hard-hitting themes driven home with surprising finesse as singer Ricky Warwick’s refined rasp bites in deep and debuting guitarist Pete Friesen reinforces Warwick’s slick guitar work and then some. With bassist Floyd London adding a forceful bottom end, “Over The Edge” surprises by introducing a slightly more commercial tone that doesn’t lose any go the band’s sharpness. However, it’s the acoustic strumming and clever lyrical pay-off of “Jesus Loves You…But I Don’t” that really confirmed that The Almighty had come of age with this album. What had come before in the shape of Blood Fire & Love (1989) and Soul Destruction (1991) had set the stage well, but this 1993 effort, which climbed to No.5 in the UK chart, was a clear step up in songwriting, performance and production, the latter thanks to Mark Dodson (Suicidal Tendencies/Anthrax).

As far as impactful but still hugely catchy hard rock goes, the strength and depth shown across this whole album delivers at every turn, the title-track a full force smack to the jaw, whereas “Life Blood” adds an irresistible groove. With “Instinct” and “Meathook” equally as convincing, the standard simply never drops, Warwick proving a surprisingly engaging singer, while, for me, Stumpy Monroe is one of the most underrated drummers heavy rock has seen, with both aspects illustrated perfectly on the tribal infused slow-strummer “Out Of Season”.

Limited editions of this album from the time came with the seven song set I witnessed at 1992’s Monsters Of Rock and it’s inclusion here would have been most welcome. Why that’s not happened I’m not sure but there is a cracking bonus disc that offers up a host of tracks otherwise hard to find. Live takes of songs from this album and those that came before prove a lot of fun. However, it’s the studio cuts and demos that are most intriguing, “Blind”, “Insomnia”, “Fuckin’ Up” (a Neil Young cover) and “Bodies” (Sex Pistols) all proving much more than b’sides that didn’t make the grade, even if none of them really suggest they should have taken a full spot on the album. The inclusion of demos of earlier tracks such as “Soul Destruction”, “Free & Easy” and “Wild And Wonderful” are welcome, if a little out of place on this release but the demo for “Out Of Season” really does show the growth the band undertook from that stage to the finished version - something alluded to in the excellent liner notes featuring contributions from both Warwick and Monroe. Add in a great version of The Ruts’ “In A Rut”, an acoustic take on Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” and other edits and acoustic takes and this disc makes for an excellent accompaniment to the main event. And that is Powertrippin’, an album that really should have taken The Almighty over the top into mainstream success. What came next wasn’t bad either, but that’s a story for another day and with Cherry Red releasing it all soon in a new box set, one we’ll doubtless also partake in.


Track Listing
DISC ONE: ORIGINAL ALBUM
1. ADDICTION
2. POSSESSION
3. OVER THE EDGE
4. JESUS LOVES YOU…BUT I DON’T
5. SICK & WIRED
6. POWERTRIPPIN’
7. TAKIN’ HOLD
8. OUT OF SEASON
9. LIFE BLOOD
10. INSTINCT
11. MEATHOOK
12. EYE TO EYE


DISC TWO: BONUS TRACKS
1. TAKIN’ HOLD (LIVE)
2. JESUS LOVES YOU…BUT I DON’T (LIVE)
3. POWERTRIPPIN’ (LIVE)
4. BLIND (B-SIDE)
5. SOUL DESTRUCTION (DEMO)
6. ADDICTION (RADIO EDIT)
7. INSOMNIA (B-SIDE)
8. WILD AND WONDERFUL (DEMO VERSION)
9. FUCKIN’ UP (B-SIDE)
10. OUT OF SEASON (DEMO VERSION)
11. BODIES (B-SIDE)
12. FREE ‘N’ EASY (DEMO VERSION)
13. ROCKIN’ IN THE FREE WORLD (ACOUSTIC VERSION)
14. HELL TO PAY (ACOUSTIC VERSION)
15. IN A RUT (B-SIDE)
16. OUT OF SEASON (RADIO EDIT)

Added: February 26th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Powertrippin' @ Cherry Red
Hits: 236
Language: english

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