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A step in the right direction - 67%

The_Scrab, April 19th, 2009

So, unless I'm wrong, most of this album was released under the name "Nomad" by "Di'Anno" (as opposed to "Paul Di'Anno?). I for one, frown on retitled reissues and the like, as they seem like another cheap way to get loyal fans to shell out twice for the same product, and given Di'anno's tendency to continually re-release his re-recordings of his maiden material (there are two Maiden covers on this record), I already have a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to writing this review.

Anyway, from a musical stand point, the majority of this release is simple, speed-bordering on thrash metal, a far cry from the technical material of his maiden days and the pop metal of some of his other albums. Seeing the amount of influence Paul's early recording had on legendary thrash vocalists like James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine and Tom Araya, you would think that a chance to hear Di'Anno's take on similar material would be a dream come true; unfortunately, this sounds better on paper than it does in reality

This is a fairly flawed release, aside from the reissue nonsense mentioned earlier. Many of the riffs are too formulaic and uninspired, and there isn't all that much variety from track to track (noticable exception being the phenomenal title track). The musical performance from the backing band, while technically proficient, is often very flat and doesn't have much bite. The solos aren't played with much feeling, and songs like "Mad Man in the Attic" suffer greatly from musical lethargy. A big name like Paul Di'anno should be able to attract players with much more passion for playing than the lame group of faceless members that form this "band".

The other major flaw in this album, is that the production is very bare bones, and while everything sounds clean and audible, it just doesn't pack much of a punch. The guitars buzz thinly, the drums click and sound robotic at points, and backing vocals are applied in the wrong places with not enough force. Some of these songs have potential, but this potential is squandered due to an overly clean and flat production job.

It's not all bad though. While maybe a third of the album (Dog Dead, Mad Man in the Attic) is lacking musically, beneath the shoddy musicianship and production, there are some scorching tracks on this disc. The title track is among the better songs I've heard in a while, with an interesting intro and a really catchy chorus. Several tracks are also well written thrashers that manage to make an impression in spite of it all. Di'Anno, in spite of years of substance abuse and touring, is in fine vocal shape, shifting from his trademark hard rasp, to a clean style, to some rather odd falsetto screaming with the greatest of ease. Some of his lyrics might be a little silly, but I don't think Paul's out to write anything else, so in that regard, the album is a triumphant success.

While far from perfect, and with a couple weak numbers (as well as a Megadeth cover, which is head scratchingly weird) and some lousy production, this album, in many ways, is a sign to the younger generations of heavy metal that not everyone from the good old days is afraid of tackling music with some kick to it. I for one, in spite of the flaws associated with this album, can take some solace that Di'Anno has an ear for what's good and what's not, unlike certain other NWOBHM heroes (Jeff Mantas's Dryll? No thank you). Maybe with a few more attempts, DiAnno can put out a heavy fuckin' album capable of standing alongside many younger groups.

If he actually decides to record some new material next time