Ok. For those new to the party (sorry, ‘work event’), back in the late ’80s and early ’90s there was Warrior Soul, and a trio of quite frankly stunning records – 1990’s ‘Last Decade Dead Century’, 1991’s Drugs, God, And The New Republic’, and 1992’s ‘Salutations From The Ghetto Nation’. How many rock bands can you name that can release three mind-blowing records, back to back, one per year? Not many. Warrior Soul should have been MASSIVE.
The problem was timing; ‘grunge’ had arrived, and put paid to the last vestiges of the LA/’hair metal’ scene (which was, by then, pretty much defunct anyway) and – wrongly – Warrior Soul got lumped into that category, mainly due to nothing more evidential than vocalist Kory Clarke’s impressive mane. But Warrior Soul were always much, much more than just another rock ‘n’ roll band; sleazy gutter-rock, for sure, that tore it up like Guns n’ Roses, Crüe, or LA Guns, but at the same time the metallic edge of Alice In Chains and Soundgarden at their best, and the sociopolitical conscience, commentary, and anger of Rage Against The Machine, Living Colour, or Rancid. This was no empty-headed hairspray band here for a good time not a long one.
That political drive has stuck with Clarke throughout the intervening thirty years, through his paintings and through every subsequent Warrior Soul record, and rightly so. After all, that’s part of what Warrior Soul records are about. Which brings us, in a roundabout way, to March 2022, and ‘Out On Bail’.
Now, it’s at this point that I have to declare an interest here; I’m not only a big Warrior Soul fan, as readers might be able to tell, but in my non-writing life, I’ve played guitar with towering Danish Warrior Soul guitarist Dennis Post on numerous occasions. We’ve shared stages, we’ve played together, and we’ve been on shared records. So, it could be argued that I didn’t come to this review from a standing, objective, start. What would happen, I asked myself nervously, if I had to say the album sucked?
Thankfully, it’s a question that can remain unanswered for a while still (as if it were ever truly in doubt – it’s a Warrior Soul record); ‘Out On Bail’ is an absolutely furious, angry, scorching motherf****r of an album. From the chimes and chants and fuzzed-up riff of opener ‘We’re Alive’, it absolutely drips filth and attitude, grooving and grinding with a swagger that a lot of bands strive for and very, very few pull off this effortlessly. ‘One More For The Road’ and ‘Hip Hip Hurray’ are proper old-school scuzzy sleaze, all chugging guitar rhythm behind Clarke’s signature sandpaper vocal and a suitably sweep-picked solo complete with dive-bombed harmonics, the latter lyrically a classic Kory anti-Republican political rant.
‘Out On Bail’ kicks in with a riff that’s part AC/DC, part ‘Blood Fire & Love’-era Almighty, kicks over a couple of barstools, and grabs you by the collar while it tells its story over a whiskey or four. ‘End of the World’ certainly sounds like it, a heavier, crunchier riff and a more psychedelic picked guitar and vocal part, almost Ozzy at times with a Soundgarden/Temple Of The Dog vibe, which is continued with the bass-heavy, wah-wah-laden ‘Yo Yo’, again with that 90’s grunge vibe underpinning Warrior Soul’s ever-present punk and scuzz credentials.
‘The New Paradigm’ is just that – slower, grinding, stomping, almost stoner-rock but all with Clarke’s bitterly politicised lyrical polemic, building in rage and power before ending abruptly in a distorted guitar stutter and a final howl of angry feedback. It’s the perfect, defiant ending to an album dripping in dirty groove and belligerent, ragged fury.
- We’re Alive
- One More For The Road
- Hip Hip Hurray
- Out On Bail
- Cancelled Culture
- End Of The World
- Yo Yo
- The New Paradigm