WARRIOR SOUL – Back On The Lash

Here’s a band that was caught in the middle back in the early 90’s. On one side there were melodic arena rock, AOR, glam, sleaze and regular hard rock and on the other side there were heavy, thrash, death and speed metal – and somewhere in the middle were Warrior Soul. Sure, they were a hard rock/metal band but with a lot of punky vibes and a big fuck you-attitude. Their music wasn’t metal enough for one side and not melodic enough for the other. Now, remember that this was a time when trends were a big deal, not like it is today when it’s ok to like both black metal and AOR at the same time. That’s why a band like Warrior Soul had a hard time making it big and a few years later, grunge and nu-metal sure didn’t help. Also, Warrior Soul were a very political band – and very critical to the USA (“I don’t pledge allegiance to the flag, I burn it!”), something that isn’t looked upon kindly if you’re an American patriot so they didn’t make it easy for themselves.

Me, I never really got into the band even though there are a couple of really good songs by the band – “Love Destruction” is a real killer! And I have tried to give them a fair shot. Many times. I have a friend, we can call him Jake, who’s a big fan of the band and he’s been bugging me for years about that band. It got to the point that Jake burned me a home-made compilation album, complete with a home-made album cover and all (he also made the actual cover for the album …And We Rock And Roll in 2009) and I have spun that record numerous of times but their songs just won’t stick. Yes, I find Kory Clarke a very charismatic and brilliant frontman with a rough, robust and hard voice and back in the day, he was a bona fide rock star in my eyes but musically I just don’t get them. After a while, Warrior Soul went from a street rock band to a glammier image and Kory even started the ill-fated glam rock band Space Age Playboys, named after a Warrior Soul album when they split up in 1995. The band reformed in 2007 and today, only Clarke remains from the original line-up.

In later years, it has been written more about Clarke’s hard living than his music and with a title like Back On The Lash and Clarke holding a big glass of beer on the cover, I guess that neither his lifestyle or magazine articles’ content will change. And we haven’t even looked at the song-titles yet. But before any alcohol drenched lyrics begins, Clarke takes a shot at American Idol – with a song called just that – “American Idol”. It’s a short, attitude-laden, punky and aggressive rocker with only Clarke and a highly distorted guitar. I’m the first guy who will embrace shots at all these useless music contests but the fact is, the tune doesn’t go anywhere. I don’t hate it but it doesn’t do squat for me.

“I Get Fucked Up” needs no further explanation lyrically and musically, it’s a mean and ballsy glammed-up street-sleaze tune that kicks and screams. It do comes with a bit of catchiness and the song is ok without being exceptional. The title track is an alcohol fueled party rocker that speaks of the nice sides of alcohol(ism). It’s a bad-ass punked-up sleaze rocker with a big punch and a striking melody. A pretty good tune. “Further Decay” rocks hard with a big groove, raunchiness and attitude but it’s also very melodic with a chorus that is almost poppy which brings on some catchiness. Also a good tune. “Thrill Seeker” is a plain, in-your-face party rock tune, pretty aggressive and wild but it passes me by pretty unnoticed. I guess it’s ok, but when I write this I don’t remember a second from it. “Goin’ Broke” is a riff-happy, very repetitive hard rock tune that just keeps going on and on and on – same same same.Nothing happens here at all and I find this song dull, dull, dull.

“Black Out” is street sleaze with a punk attitude that sounds like a mix of Faster Pussycat, New York Dolls, Hanoi Rocks and Sex Pistols. But despite all the great bands mentioned, I really don’t like the song. It’s without structure and sounds like it’s not really finished. “I Got The Rock” rocks hard and wild with a bad attitude, kicks and bite-marks but somehow the song falls flat and it just fails to engage me one bit. They close the album with a bang with the hard and aggressive “That’s How We Roll”, a dirty, in-your-face hard rocker with a whole bunch of middle-fingers in the air – pure attitude. While all of that sounds like a gas, the song itself just isn’t any good and just disappears from my mind right away.

As you can see, the Warrior Soul of 2017 are a pretty far cry from the Warrior Soul of the 90’s – all the political angst and society rebelling have been replaced by odes to sex, drugs (drink) and rock and roll. Musically, the album is made of pure aggression, attitude and a pissed-off state of mind, the sound is raw, stripped and down-to-earth and musically it’s a mix of hard rock, punk, sleaze and (a little) glam – very rock and roll. Too bad that the songs aren’t that well-written then. To my ears they sound rushed, unfinished and I get the feeling of a demo tape – and they’re all too same-same. Lyrically, it’s all about drinking, getting fucked up and to be honest, I’m wondering if Clarke wants to show us just how great life id when you’re drunk as a skunk 24/7 or if it’s a cry for help. I was never a big fan of Warrior Soul and this album haven’t changed that – quite the opposite. I wonder what Jake thinks about it.

3/10

Tracklist:

1. American Idol
2. I Get Fucked Up
3. Back On The Lash
4. Further Decay
5. Thrill Seeker
6. Goin’ Broke
7. Black Out
8. I’ve Got The Rock
9. That’s How We Roll

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