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Iron Maiden CAN be fought? - 70%

King_of_Arnor, November 29th, 2022

In the 1980s, Discharge was one of the most influential hardcore punk bands, especially to the nascent extreme metal scene. However, after their cult classic debut Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing, they would shockingly eschew the elements that made their sound work so well, gradually settling instead on a hybrid of heavy and glam metal in 1986's Grave New World. This four-track EP, released between those two albums in 1983, hints at the band's direction away from hardcore in some areas, but strikes a respectable balance that prevents the changes from feeling too jarring, unlike the releases immediately after it.

After the debut album, guitarist Tony "Bones" Roberts had left the band (afterwards going on to form the crossover band Broken Bones), and was replaced by Peter "Pooch" Purtill. Immediately, the difference in style between the two guitarists is apparent. Pooch's style is considerably more melodic, with some riffs sounding like they could fit on an early Iron Maiden album. The way the riffs are constructed is a further step towards heavy metal as they more frequently incorporate palm muting and use a greater range of chords in each song. Not only that, the guitar tone is less impenetrable than it was on the debut, but this does have the welcome effect of enhancing the bass's presence in the mix.

The tempo has also generally decreased across the board compared with the band's earlier songs, with a greater emphasis on upbeat, straight-ahead grooves from drummer Garry Maloney, as well as more elaborate fills. This trade-off betrays the outrageous speed seen on the debut, but fits with the updated style of the guitars while retaining a vital element of aggression. Meanwhile, Cal thankfully sticks to his vocal approach of shouting for the most part, with the lyrics remaining minimalistic and direct, but there are signs of melody creeping in, especially on 'Anger Burning'. However, these are not distracting enough to be problematic.

Overall, the "Warning" EP is probably the last worthwhile Discharge release from their early years. It may be a significant departure from Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing, but the band's energy and political messaging still shine through. However, its short length (under 10 minutes) is a drawback as the confluence of styles here could have been interesting enough to warrant more songs. In the three years following this EP, the heavy metal elements would be played up even more. But needless to say, that transformation was not well received and the momentum built up since the Fight Back EP practically evaporated.