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Almighty, The: Welcome To Defiance - Complete Recordings 1994-2001

Four studio albums, one live CD, a disc of rarities and a final silver-shiny with live b-sides all brought together is undoubtedly an Almighty bang for your buck! Hot on the heels of an excellent reissuing of The Almighty’s breakthrough album, Powertrippin’, comes what ensued across the next seven years for a band that never quite achieved the success they seemed destined for. Admittedly, across the four studio albums corralled here - and the three that preceded them - one of the main problems was that The Almighty simply couldn’t quite settle on a style. Were they hard rock? Biker rock? Grunge? Punk? Pop-metal? Arguably, yes, yes, kind of, in a way and don’t believe the critics - in that order.

Powertrippin’ had, in 1993, catapulted The Almighty into the UK top 5 in the album charts and while those heady heights were only achieved for a week or two, support slots with the likes of Iron Maiden and being on the bill at Monsters Of Rock at Donington Park saw the band in the pages of all the metal mags and being tipped by many for true success. The album that followed, for many, was the band’s musical pinnacle, the four piece of singer and guitarist Ricky Warwick, drummer Stumpy Monroe, bassist Floyd London and their lead guitarist Pete Friesen asking us to Crank it up! As an album it really was a(n al)mighty statement, each and every one of the twelve tracks it included positively snapping and snarling at your throat as it tore down establishment walls. Angry? You betcha! “Jonestown Mind”, “Crank And Deceit” and “Welcome To Defiance” especially potent as this cracking 1994 effort couldn’t quite capture its predecessors success, peaking ten places lower in the UK album charts at 15. Still, with Warwick tightroping between punk shouter, metal snarler and hard rock barker, and London and Monroe combining to mow down all in their paths, that Friesen did more than enough to both reinforce the mighty riffs and offer some fret-solo-sparks, confirmed Crank as one hell of an album.

Hence, that the band - bizarrely dropping ‘The’ from Almighty - decided to play about with a formula that had seen them deliver two electro-charged albums confused many. However, I must admit that the slightly smoothed down but still riff fuelled attack that appeared for Just Add Life in 1996, which only climbed to 34 in the charts, has always hit the spot for me. Many disagree and for a few the trumpets on “All Sussed Out” were seen as a sell-out clause in the chase for mainstream success. Me? Well I loved the big chorus and shout-along aesthetic that now coated a set of songs that were hardly fluffy and friendly. “Ongoing And Total” a grinding opener, “How Real Is Real For You”, and the very Wildhearts like “Do You Understand” making for, along with “…Sussed…”, a killer quartet. “Feed The Need” added a little light to the shade, “Look What Happened Tomorrow” marched belligerently and “Afraid Of Flying” brought some punk spice, meaning that on the right day I’ll freely admit that this is my favourite (The) Almighty album!

Criminally, later in 1996 The Almighty would fizzle out and go their separate ways but four years later Warwick and Monroe would revive the band with bassist Floyd London, although the latter would be gone by the time the self-titled The Almighty was released - the band also introducing lead guitarist Nick Parsons in the place of Friesen. Landing the same year, the resulting album was another strong effort, “I’m In Love (With Revenge)”, the surprisingly melodic “For Fuck’s Sake” and “USAK-47” showing that they were no less angry at the world and no less able to wrap up that ire in cleverly presented four minute outbursts.

One year would pass before The Almighty’s (to date) final offering would arrive, Psycho-Narco adding bassist Gav Gray to the line-up for what is, arguably, the most polite set of songs that this outfit put out. I mean, “Galvanize”, “Hate The World” and “Big Idea Idiot” are hardly pop ditties but, disappointingly, this (so it would appear) farewell from the band seems to see them aping others rather than ploughing a furrow they’d already had their own success with.

And with that The Almighty split again, although they did play some reunion shows in 2008. Warwick now combines a strong solo career with duties with Black Star Riders and their sister band Thin Lizzy, while tragically, one of my favourite drummers in this style, Stumpy Monroe, has seemingly disappeared from musical view for good. Thankfully, this excellently presented seven disc set (which lacks for liner note input from the band, which is disappointing given their contributions to the Powertrippin’ reissue) also packs a punch with the excellent, raw live album Crank And Deceit - Live In Japan, from 1995, which is a serious romp-a-stomp. And there’s also a twelve track collection of b-sides and remixes to delight in (the Therapy? remix of “Jonestown Mind” interesting for sounding nothing like The Almighty, Therapy? or indeed, “Jonestown Mind”! - its dance orientation still towering over The Ruts remix of the same song though!). While a final disc includes two tracks from the show in Japan that Crank And Deceit came from but which never made the album - “Jesus Loves You” and The Clash’s “I Fought The Law”, while also adding in a cool radio session take of “Do You Understand”. The main bulk, however, comes in the shape of eight live tracks that were split up and used as b-sides of multiple single releases. Here they’ve been brought back together to make one stunning, coherent, honest show from Stuttgart in 1994, confirming as it does, that The Almighty were even better on stage than they were in the studio.

In all honesty, The Almighty are arguably better remembered for the albums that came before the seven discs presented here. And yet, don’t be fooled into thinking that Welcome To Defiance represents what was by then a spent force. Far from it in fact, with one good, one excellent and two stunning studio albums embellished by some cracking live material and a collection of more obscure but still worthy moments.

Long live defiance and long live The All-fucking-mighty!


DISC ONE: CRANK (1994)
1. ULTRAVIOLENT
2. WRENCH
3. THE UNREAL THING
4. JONESTOWN MIND
5. MOVE RIGHT IN
6. CRANK AND DECEIT
7. UNITED STATE OF APATHY
8. WELCOME TO DEFIANCE
9. WAY BEYOND BELIEF
10. CRACKDOWN
11. SORRY FOR NOTHING
12. CHEAT
13. SHITZOPHRENIC


DISC TWO: JUST ADD LIFE (1996)
1. ONGOING AND TOTAL
2. DO YOU UNDERSTAND
3. ALL SUSSED OUT
4. HOW REAL IS REAL FOR YOU
5. DEAD HAPPY
6. SOME KIND OF ANYTHING
7. COALITION STAR
8. 8 DAY DEPRESSION
9. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TOMORROW
10. 360
11. FEED THE NEED
12. AFRAID OF FLYING
13. INDEPENDENT DETERRENT


DISC THREE: THE ALMIGHTY (2000)
1. BROKEN MACHINE
2. I’M IN LOVE (WITH REVENGE)
3. LA CHISPA DE LA MUERTE
4. BIG BLACK AUTOMATIC
5. FOR FUCK’S SAKE
6. POISON EYES
7. WHITE ANGER COMEDOWN
8. TNT
9. STOP
10. USAK-47
11. ALRIGHT
12. BARFLY
13. FAT CHANCE
14. MISERY GUTS


DISC FOUR: PSYCHO-NARCO (2001)
1. GALVANIZE
2. 427 FREAK HORSEPOWER
3. RUSE
4. SOUL ON A ROLL
5. BEGGING
6. HATE THE WORLD
7. WAITING FOR EARTHQUAKES
8. IF I KNEW WHAT I WANTED
9. 7 X
10. BIG IDEA IDIOT
11. MONDO BALORDO
12. BLOWOUT KIT FOR THE UNDERDOG
13. WITNESS RELOCATION PROGRAMME
14. MILLION TIMES NOTHING


DISC FIVE: CRANK AND DECEIT - LIVE IN JAPAN (1995)
1. JONESTOWN MIND
2. CRANK AND DECEIT
3. ADDICTION
4. MOVE RIGHT IN
5. THE UNREAL THING
6. TAKIN’ HOLD
7. SORRY FOR NOTHING
8. WRENCH
9. 360
10. WAY BEYOND BELIEF
11. UNITED STATE OF APATHY
12. OVER THE EDGE
13. WILD AND WONDERFUL
14. CHEAT
15. WELCOME TO DEFIANCE
16. ULTRAVIOLENT
17. CRUCIFY


DISC SIX: B-SIDES & REMIXES (1994-1996)
1. JONESTOWN MIND (THERAPY? REMIX)
2. JONESTOWN MIND (RUTS REMIX)
3. THANKS AGAIN, AGAIN
4. KNOCKING ON JOE
5. STATE OF EMERGENCY
6. HELLELUJAH
7. DO ANYTHING YOU WANNA DO
8. GIVE ME FIRE
9. SUPERPOWER
10. DSS (DESPERATELY SEEKING SOMETHING)
11. TENSE NERVOUS HEADSHAKE
12. CANNED JESUS


DISC SEVEN: LIVE B-SIDES & SESSIONS (1994-1996)
1. WRENCH
2. MOVE RIGHT IN
3. ADDICTION
4. WELCOME TO DEFIANCE
5. SORRY FOR NOTHING
6. THE UNREAL THING
7. UNITED STATE OF APATHY
8. CRANK & DECEIT
9. DO YOU UNDERSTAND
10. JESUS LOVES YOU
11. I FOUGHT THE LAW

Added: March 25th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Welcome To Defiance @ Cherry Red
Hits: 159
Language: english

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