without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
...If this was playing in the background!
So me and one of my buddies decided not too long ago that we wanted to check out some of the older heavy/speed metal bands that weren't as known as your usual bounch of classic acts. We would eventually stumble upon this release, and the both of us have grown quite fond of it to say the least! This album came out in 1985, and we were both pretty surprised this wasn't as known as it should have been.
"The Enforcer" starts off with a solid accustic guitar intro, and dives right into "The Rack" which is a great speedster (Doesn't the opening riff in this song remind one a little of "Victim of States Power" by Running Wild?). This riff might be similar to that song, and the sound of the album is somewhat similar to "Gates To Purgatory", but I don't think this is anything but a mere coincidence. "Ordeal of Death" follows, and is more of a mid-paced number, with astounding riffs, but it is by no means a down-beat song. These two tracks definitely set the tone for what to expect on the rest of the record.
An earlier reviewer stated that even though the riffs are mostly simple, they are written in such a way that that's something you don't really pay that much attention to. One thing I also noticed while listening to this is that even when there's a guitar solo going on, you still wanna pay close attention to the actual riff that's going on in that background. And especially because of the fact that many of the rifs played when there's a solo going on are riffs you won't be hearing in the rest of the actual song.
The vocals on this record are outstanding. The singer shows a lot of skill in more than one department. He has an inspired clean style of singing, and the occasional screams and harsh yells definitely doesn't make it worse! The heavy/speed metal genre isn't known for having the most aggressive vocals, but this guy breaks the tradition in that department as well, belting out shouts and yells, as earlier stated.
The drums and bass doesn't stand out in any particular way. They lay in the background, doing their usual job, which of course is to keep the rhythm going, so that the guitarists can pump out the riffs and shred to their hearts content, while the vocalist can scream until he's got blood in his throat.
As with the vocals, the production also has a more aggressive aspect to it than many other albums in this genre. The music sounds crunchy, and can even remind one of the early typical thrash sound.
So overall, this album is without a doubt one you should be getting, no matter if you're into heavy, speed, or even thrash. It's got great riffs, mind blowing solos, and brilliantly written songs all over! You should do everything you can to get your hands on this one, especially considering the fact that if you buy it now, you also get the "First Strike" EP as well as two songs they recorded in the late 90's.
Highlights: The Rack, Nuns Have No Fun, The Enforcer, Tortured In The Tower
This album is fun as hell. Who says simplicity is bad? Typically when it comes to German speed metal people think of three bands, Helloween, Running Wild, and Blind Guardian; at least with their debuts, they helped define this short lived style that was sweeping throughout Germany in the early to mid 80's. Other acts included early Angel Dust and Stranger but both couldn't get passed the 2nd tier shelf. Warrant here manages to topple both former bands because they seem to retain a little more originality and uniqueness to their sound.
What I mean about that is interestingly enough for being a more obscure release, the production on this album is heavier than any of the previous bands mentioned above and overall better in every aspect. The guitars have a very heavy crunch to them while everything else is fiercely heavy. Overall the mixing is all up in the front and not as distant as say, Blind Guardian's Battalions of Fear. It's all aggressive enough that one wouldn't be too incorrect to label this as thrash at times.
Another great factor is vocalist Jörg Juraschek whom along with the general sound here, wouldn't sound too out of place if he was with an all out thrash band. While some of the lyrics seem mumbled at times and are hard to make out, it's his performance that gives this release a lot of it's edge. His voice is more aggressive than vocalists from the bands previously mentioned and throughout most of this album he sounds pretty pissed off and convincing. For the most part the vocals are spent in an aggressive mid-range with lots of sharp high notes thrown in all over. Unfortunately while dueling with vocals and bass the bass work ends up getting lost in the midst here most of the time. It's generally hard to make out at times and this is sadly the case with the drums too. Other than "just being there" both instruments don't make much of an impact and can be pretty static throughout. Regardless of these minor scratches, the entire album is dominated by the guitarists Thomas Kleir and Oliver May. The riffs never seem to lose their touch and a good amount of the rhythm's and leads here are insanely catchy. On top of this next to the excellent solo's are the background riffs while solo's are playing, these are often very dynamic, soothing, not played throughout the song already, and you might often notice these even more than the solo's.
While there are a few slower tracks here they've definitely left their more traditional influences from the EP behind, the softer tracks aren't trying to be ballads or anything. The EP is great but Warrant basically took everything they did there and made it even better here. Overall this album is extremely fun to listen to in it's entirety, I never find myself getting bored with it midway in or anything. So the quality and consistency is definitely here. Several tracks here such as Ordeal Of Death, The Enforcer, Torture In The Tower (especially the solo), and Cowards Or Martyrs often have this evil tone and atmosphere to them, really adding to the aggression. The solo on Torture In The Tower sounds like you're trapped in a void falling towards Hell or something. The Rack is by far the catchiest and fastest number here, once you've heard this first track you should know what you're in for with the rest of the album. Beyond this, I have to again stress the fact (as the former reviewers pointed out too) that the solo's on every track here are downright impressive.
As some might tell you this is a "no-frills" album, it's mainly all out and might only appeal to those who truly enjoy the short lived classic German speed metal style of the 80's. Those who really enjoy the over the top debuts from Helloween, Running Wild, Blind Guardian, should definitely check this album out. It's overall more well-rounded than Stranger's debut and Angel Dust's first two (easily). For the modern metal fans who enjoy such bands as Iron Savior, Paragon, and Grave Digger to name a few, could take a step back in time and see where a lot of their influences come from. If you go in not being too critical or cynical about anything, you'll get a fun kickass time out of this one.
One of the more obscure German Speed Metal bands, but one of the better ones for my money. Warrant should appeal to those of you who appreciate the music of early-era Rage, as they exhibit a similar kind of Thrash (but not quite) style. Jorg Jurasheck’s vocals are a bit more subdued than Peavy’s though, but suit the music nonetheless.
There’s also a Walls of Jericho-ness about some of the riffage too, check out the intro riff to ‘Nuns Have no Fun’….yes that really is the title, indeed, if you are a connoisseur of German lyrics like what I am, then you’ll love this album.
“Words like fucking, they don’t wanna know
But deep inside their souls, dirty jokes
Only vibrators can get them high
A risk much too great, God’s waiting inside!”
Awesome stuff, if not quite in the Sodom league of ‘fucking grown-ness’, hehehehehe.
But back to the music. The album opens with an acoustic intro that reminds puts me in mind of recent Destruction, before giving way to a speedy, but simple, riff. The sound is not particularly heavy or aggressive which is why I consider this to be Speed Metal rather than Thrash. If you want Dark Angel style thrash you’d better look elsewhere frankly. No this is kinda like Living Death or something like that (although much better) and with that kind of duga-duga-duga rhythm that Metallica had on Kill ‘em All.
I’m not going to go through every track, because I don’t think the album really warrants that kind of inspection. It’s a style that you will either feel passionate about or think it’s dated and redundant. Having said that, it’s difficult to pick out favourites because looking down the tracklist it’s like, oh that’s a good one, and that one, and that one, and that one!
If you get the NOISE re-issue (the only way on CD I think) you will get the FIRST STRIKE ep as a bonus too, along with two tracks recorded in the late 90’s when Warrant reformed to play a festival. The EP tracks are largely more of the same and very enjoyable, and even the new tracks manage to keep the old spirit alive and are only really distinguishable by the quality of the production.
I guess I really should give a mention to the guitarists, who deliver some nice solos, without descending into Shred-boredom and also the covers, both of which are painted by Phillip Lawvere (I’m pretty sure) and give the albums that authentic 80’s feeling!
Overall then, despite there being nothing particularly spectacular about it, this is well worth a purchase (if you can find it!) if you like your Metal up tempo, with a German accent and infused with a little melody.
If you like German metal from the mid 1980s, you will of course like this one. It's a fine example of the straight-down-the-middle Priest and Accept influenced power/speed approach (as opposed to the harder, faster thrash of Kreator for example), similar to the first Helloween, to some of Tyran Pace's work, maybe even the second Iron Angel and some of Paradox's work. Yeah, in other words it's average speed metal.
Fortunately for us (well, for me anyway) I'm a sucker for speed metal, no matter how average, and this does the trick for me. Especially when it's fast... like so many other bands (Accept comes to mind), the fast stuff just annihilates the midpaced stuff.
The great - The Rack. Oh fuck yeah, the classic speed metal opener. Single-note machine-gun riffage, kinda shrieky vocals, blazing solos. Also, the title track, similar stuff though a bit more epic in scale. Ordeal of Death is another great one - this is the stuff you crank up, loud and proud, knowing full well in your heart that fucking Voivod can be as "pr0gh" as they "w4nt" to be, and all sorts of poseurs will think of them as "l33t", but THIS is what HEAVY FUCKING METAL is truly all about.
The rest... well, it's not bad, but sometimes a bit overlong. Send ya To Hell is the anthemic number which just fails to go anywhere, and Nuns Have no Fun has the cheesiest chorus this side of Breaker (icicle brains).
So, in conclusion, it's no-frills heavy metal, loud and proud. Nothing that'll blow your fucking mind, but in general that's a good thing. Solid headbanging riffage, catchy songwriting, and while it's completely the middle of the pack, at least it's in the pack.