Saturday, 22 March 2014

Weapon (UK) - Rising From The Ashes (CD Review)

01.Prelude - The Awakening
02.Ride The Mariah!
03.Fountain Of Paradise
05.Ready 4 U
06.Burning Skies
09.Blood Soaked Rock
10.Bad Reputation
11.Celebration Time

Bonus Track:
12.Killer Instinct

Danny Hynes (Vocals)
Jeff Summers (Guitar/Vocals)
PJ Phillips (Bass/Vocals)
Ian Sweeting (Drums)

Roy Shipston (Keyboards - Track 7)

Baz Downes (Bass/Vocals - Track 12)
Bruce Bisland (Drums - Track 12)

Weapon, one of the greatest NWOBHM bands of all time formed in March 1980.
They released one single in 1980, Its A Mad Mad World/Set The Stage Alight' it sold out within weeks promting a second pressing and a 12" version.
A major tour with Motorhead pushed them to the forefront of the NWOBHM scene,so they recorded an album for Virgin which was shelved until 2003, when many of the songs were issued by the ZoomClub label for a compilation cd.

Lets not forget the Legend that tells of a soundboard live recording from that Motorhead "Ace Up Your Sleeve" tour that was labeled 'No Sleep Till Hammersmith' by the sound engineer, and now you know where the name came from.

For a new generation of heavy metal fans it is to arch NWOBHM plaguerists Metallica that their name remained known as they "borrowed" much of the single's B Side for their song 'Hit The Lights', yet the band never quite made it to the next level. After a line up change and more gigs the band felt it was time to move on.
Success was found with Wildfire, Statetrooper and Paddy Goes To Holyhead for some members whilst drummer Bruce found a degree of major fame as part of NWOBHM supergroups with Paul DiAnno and other ex members of bands like Praying mantis, before joining with the reformed glam legends The Sweet.

In 2005 the band reformed to play a one off Anniversary show, such was the response that the idea to reform permanently become a real option, settling on a new line up they recorded a new track 'Ready 4 U'in 2011 and returned to the live scene.
In 2012 the band added the 'UK' to their name and registered the band as a trademark for legal reasons (but it still just WEAPON to me).

Last year the band announced that they were recording a full album and that the original line up would also record a new song.
Well its here, so with a large vodka in hand its time to hit play and set the cd player alight!
we start with a synth based intro with 'Prelude - The Awakening' which carrys on into
'Ride The Mariah!' which is not a song about sexual fantasies with Miss Carey, but a raw and heavy rocker with a solid drum beat driving the sound.

This one 'Fountain Of Paradise' reminds me of classic Motley Crue (Dr Feelgod era), its got that sleazy LA guitar rock sound, definately one for the american audience, semi-anthemic with a rich production.

'Warrior' has some nice basswork in the mix, one of those stop start type of songs, great backing vocals match the perfect lead vocal delivery, add to this a stunning riff heavy solo and you have a truly outstanding song.

This is an updated version of the download song released back in 2011, 'Ready 4 U' still has that "classic rock" feel, the backing vocal helps create a very melodic rock song, one might say 'Commercial' or perhaps 'Radio Friendly' rock in the vein of say Bon Jovi or old school Brian Adams.If this was re released as a single i would think it would gain major airplay.

An ambient/sound fx/sample greets the beginning of 'Burning Skies' and actually reminds me of Ministry's NWO Redux (but slower), this is a dark song talking of the "hand of satan", the riff reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne's 'Over The Mountain' whilst the vocal style Danny has is reminiscent of Devin Townsend.
The use of samples is very well done and works well with the solid riff and driving drumming.

Look i'm sorry but 'Alamein' reminds me of the Scorpions 'Wind Of Change' and i hate that bloody song, so okay lets be objective, this is one of those acoustic rock ballad things with awesome production values, lead guitar work over acoustic guitar, harmonic vocal, nice backing vocals and it has that 'emotion' put into the vocal, but argghh no sorry not for me.

Now 'Wonderland' has that kick-ass sound, but do i detect a hint of post black album metallica in here? could be something of load/reload, though to be fair the harmony is more melodic, definately an american sound lurking here, you know like Dim Leppard perfected ! (yes i did spell that right!).

Kind of back in that early Bon Jovi anthemic, shout it out loud sound with 'Blood Soaked Rock', soon to be blasting out of car radios on the highways of america.

'Bad Reputation' is not a cover of Joan Jetts classic nor Thin Lizzys late 70's song, this is another sleazy sounding rocker, again the backing vocals give the song a sing a long feel.
Dark and dirty riffs mix with some great basswork and that solid drumbeat keeps the whole thing moving.

The final track is 'Celebration Time' and it's another well produced, radio friendly rocker, solid harmonies and some guitarwork reminiscent of Graham Oliver on Saxon's classic '747'.

So 34 years since the original line up were last in the studio together and the new song is 'Killer Instinct'.
Added as a bonus track i wondered if it would be old school NWOBHM but actually it reminds me of The Sweet in their heavier moments, perhaps not surprising with Bruce on drums, mind you it could have been weirder if it had sounded like Inner City Unit (Baz's pre Weapon band with Nik from Hawkiwnd).

Okay so what this is not is a NWOBHM sounding album by a band trying to re-create the old days, this is a solid, mature album by a band who have grown up and taken in rock music and all it's influences, what they have created is a brilliant 'Classic Rock' album.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of : Saxon, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, King Lizard, Voodoo Six, Whitesnake


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