With high profile tours and two well-received albums under their studded leather belts, Scottish rockers The Almighty found themselves at the pinnacle of the UK rock scene in the early ’90s. Not a week would go by without singer Ricky Warwick’s face peering moodily from the pages of Kerrang! or Metal Hammer. Leather jackets would be emblazoned with their skull & death wings logo at gigs, and hell, they even opened proceedings at Donington Monsters Of Rock ‘92. Their brand of dirty, biker rock n’ roll crossed rock genres and their shows would attract as many Poison t-shirts as it would Motorhead and Metallica.

But times they were a changin’ by the early ’90s, and the sound coming from Seattle was making waves across the world. An extensive tour with the up-and-coming Alice In Chains would inspire the band and take them in a heavier direction. Replacing original guitarist Tantrum with former Alice Cooper guitarist Pete Friesen would also mark a big change to the band’s sound and direction for album number 3.

 

With the onset of Grunge and having now found a new writing partner in Pete Friesen, Ricky Warwick and the boys relocated to a remote farm in Wales to write. Pete’s use of drop d tuning would inspire new ideas and a heavier sound that would take the band away from their punk roots.

 

‘The Almighty’s 3rd album ‘Powertrippin’ was released in April 1993 to rave reviews and would be their most successful release, reaching number 5 in the UK album charts. The first single ‘Addiction’ is the perfect example of where the band was heading. The one thing I remember from first hearing it is how heavy they sounded and how different the production values were compared to previous albums. Listening back now, to me those first two albums sound dated and ‘of their time’ (as many 80’s rock albums now do due to that drum sound). Whereas ‘Powertrippin’ sounds…. massive! This is due in part to producer Mark Dodson who obviously pushed the band hard in the studio and got the most out of them.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love those first two albums, they had some great songs on there for sure, but to me, The Almighty had now come of age and morphed into the band I wanted them to be. ‘Powertrippin’ has a heavier, edgier sound that is more in tune with the times, yet still retains killer melodies and catchy anthemic choruses.

 

The following two singles continued the theme. ‘Over The Edge’ with its instantly familiar picked riff and gargantuan, anthemic chorus is pure The Almighty, a full-force, rock machine. Whereas ‘Out Of Season’ is a more subdued, moody affair that nods its head to what was coming out of Seattle, in particular Alice In Chains. ‘Sick and Wired’ could’ve been a single and the emotive ‘Jesus Loves You, But I Don’t’ surely should’ve been one. The title track is full of tribal beats and killer riffs, and that cool, effortless riff in ‘Instinct’ still gets me every time. Elsewhere, ‘Eye To Eye’ is a punchy closer, up there with the best. I can safely say there isn’t a bad track on ‘Powertrippin’ and it still sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did in 1993.

Now of course, as this is a Cherry Red release, it’s been given the deluxe treatment. A bonus disc choc-a-bloc with rarities and curiosities from the era, makes this a worthwhile purchase for diehards and occasional fans alike. CD2 is a 16-track affair consisting of b sides, live tracks and demos. Most fans will probably have these tracks already, but it’s still great to have them collected in one pretty package.

 

Live tracks and covers versions from the ‘Liveblood’ EP are present and correct, including Neil Young’s ‘Fuckin Up’, The Sex Pistols ‘Bodies’ and their excellent version of ‘In A Rut’. Single b sides ‘Insomnia’ and ‘Blind’ are welcome additions and an acoustic version of ‘Hell To Pay’ sounds fantastic.

 

The demos are interesting as well, in that they show the progression of the songs from writing to finished product. ‘Out Of Season’ sounds like a completely different song in demo form, and is a great example of what a good producer can do for a band.

 

Also worth noting is the inclusion of ‘Soul Destruction’, the title track of the band’s second album, that was never actually recorded, so the inclusion of the previously unavailable demo is a nice throwback.

 

With extensive liner notes from the band and Malcome Dome, this 2-disc edition is a must have for fans of The Almighty and the perfect companion to the forthcoming ‘Welcome To Defiance (1994-2001)’ box set also available on Cherry Red records.

 

For me, ‘Powertrippin’ is the highlight of the band’s career, an album that came at a time when rock music was going through changes. Brit Rock was on the horizon, and with the likes of Terrorvision and The Wildhearts in the charts, the UK rock scene was very healthy and exciting. While The Almighty continued with a run of strong albums, I feel ‘Powertrippin’ remains a testament to how great and how powerful they were at the height of their career.

 

Buy Powertrippin’ Here

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Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

‘Our Christmas Song is a festive present to our fans, and anyone else with a love of the heady days of pop music, when the Christmas No.1 mattered and the main event on Christmas day was settling down to watch Top of the Pops with the last few segments of your chocolate orange, washed down with a cheeky swig of your Gran’s Snowball.’ exclaim Terrorvision

 

 

Not Just your regular summer, no sir, this one is hot! and its only getting hotter!

June 2018

 

Whilst May was relatively quiet (slang) June was positively bristling with releases and live shows for the RPM crew and the beginning of the festival season was open.  But we couldn’t mention June 2018 without a few tributes to fallen comrades in Rock and Roll.

Firstly, Heavy Drapes frontman Garry Alexander Borland passed away the first week after returning from Holland after a really successful show at Rebellion over there.  Garry’s passing was a huge shock to people close to him obviously but his passing was also felt in the wider alternative community with his band on the verge of much bigger and better things what with the up and coming decent billing at Rebellion UK and their debut album ready to go so its only right we record this moment and pay tribute to Garry.  May he rest in peace.

Another sad passing was that of  DJ Fontana who was Elvis Presley’s drummer for many a year, Dominic Joseph Fontana was responsible for laying down the backbeat on almost 500 songs with the king which is no mean feat and a really impressive CV by any standard also it’s only right we recognise his contribution to music.  Rest in Peace DJ.

Sadly a third influential musician passed away in June this year, none other than Nick Knox the second but longest-serving Cramps drummer. Nick joined the band from the Electric Eels and occupied the drum stool from 1977-1991, Knox toured with the band and appeared on some of the Cramps’ best recordings, ‘Songs The Lord Taught Us, ‘Psychedelic Jungle’ and ‘A Date With Elvis’. Rest In Peace Nick Knox the man behind Lux and the man behind the shades.

Sadly the fourth person to pass away in June was none other than West coast punk rock legend Steve Soto of The Adolescents. Steve was originally the bass player in Agent Orange back in ’79 he then served as bass player in the Adolescents until passing.  the most recent album ‘Cropduster‘ being his final piece of work and easily one of 2018 finest albums.  The band went on to tour the summer around Europe with stand-in player and dedicated the set each night to Steve where they had a backdrop replacing the band’s logo and replacing it with SOTO at Rebellion in August Tony Reflex dedicated the show to his bandmate in a touching speech and subsequent performance that was electric and memorable,  Rest In Peace Steve 54 is way too young. 

 

Right hopefully onto much happier matters for the month of June 2018. With Festival season in full swing Fraser headed to Download and watched The Bronx, The Hives and Turbonegro show the festivals other acts how Rock and Roll was meant to be delivered to the people. elsewhere it seemed like the world and his Mrs were off to see the Rolling Stones play some enormadome or should that be a field?

IT might have cost the GDP of some countries to get close enough to see the band measure up to the size of a subbutteo player but it has to be said nobody was disappointed in either the performance or the setlist the band was knocking out on this leg of the tour. Jagger was ever his peter pan like self careering from one side of the huge stage to the other like he was a child with more energy than most performers more than half his age and some.

Nev decided he’d bowl darn London way and take in what Camden Rocks had to offer.  Basically, all the pubs of any note and the dive bars, as well as the more famous landmarks such as Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom etc throw, open their doors to live Rock and Roll for the day and if you have a wristband and there’s room at the inn then uh, you’re in! Just wear some comfortable shoes and a stage planner.  You might just happen across your favourite new band or someone you’ve been meaning to catch and hey presto there they are. (Deep Breath time) This year Nev caught The Ramonas at the Dublin CastleDirty Thrills at The Underworld Talia Dean in Brew Dog then back to the underworld for Sonic Boom Six and some knees up skanking ska which went down rather well with Nev. It wouldn’t have been right had our roving scribe not caught Urban Voodoo Machine down at the lock where the place to be was indeed Dingwalls then to finish off a marathon of live entertainment it was Camden Assembly for some Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors before the Rifles was a curtain call for Mr Brooks but he wasn’t banking on bumping into Paul-Ronny Angel either so his night wasn’t quite over!

Not wanting to be a party pooper Nev still had to take in Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds playing the All Points East Festival along with an impressive support cast of Patti Smith, St Vincent and Courtney Barnett.

Ben went to Rambling Man Fair and enjoyed the performances of such heavyweight rockers as The Cult and also managed to catch RPM favourites  Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind as well as the real mock rockers Steel Panth..Nah I can’t type it sorry folks I’d be doing RPM a disservice even mentioning them. anyway, Ben also managed to take in the large club gig of the month that was the triple-headed Britrock Must Be Destroyed touring carnival that featured a rotating line up of Reef, The Wildhearts, and Terrorvision. there were multiple dates to be fair and it was decided on the day how the running order would play out. I reckon each band made new fans on the night as reports were coming in of all three raising each others game and an excellent way to tour. The night Ben had in Leeds also saw Dodgy added to the lineup.

 

Our intrepid European correspondent or one of them Craggy got to see Repetitor live at Kabinet Muz, Brno I said Craggy got to see Repetitor in Brno…oh forget it he enjoyed it anyway said it was one of his highlights of the year to be fair.

Now with a sharp intake of breath June was positively overflowing with album releases that would bother top tens come the end of the year. Just a few of those contenders has to be The Interrupters with their ‘Fight The Good Fight’ that saw them leap up the rankings with a fantastic collection of tunes that was shaking up not just fans of the bands previous two albums but new music fans who heard one of the many potential hits on the radio or tv with the album set to just keep on selling and selling we are looking at the next big thing as they won’t be playing clubs for much longer.

Getting Tim Armstrong in to produce the record is a great move as the guy oozes class and knows his way around a ska-punk record and if he had a hand in any of the songwriting or arranging then boy pat yourselves on the back because the infectious ‘A Friend Like Me’, ‘Shes Kerosene’ and the awesome ‘Got Each Other’ are three reasons why this record will deservedly be in many ends of year top 3’s and rightly so..

Elsewhere June saw the release of London Towns Portuguese legends The Parkinson’s return with the LP ‘The Shape Of Nothing To Come’ that confirmed that these gentlemen still had it and it was a fine return to the fold in every way. Now expanded to a five piece you can take the boys out of punk rock but you can’t ever take the punk rock out of the boys and that boys and girls is a fact. the Parkinsons still have the chops.

Another couple of worthy mentions in the albums released in June has to be Smash Fashion and their ‘Rompus Pompous’.  Which has gone down a right storm at RPM as they’ve really hit their stride on this one and joioning them would have to be Nottingham’s The Speedways with the fantastic slice of power pop that is ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ the brains behind the idea to write an album was Matt former guitarist of The Breakdowns he’s since formed a band after the success of the record and has played  a number of shows and next year they’ve already planned some shows in Spain and London.  It really is power pop perfection and a record we highly recommend.

The old school shouldn’t be forgotten either because June was also the month when the phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was debunked because The Uk Subs once again released a new album ‘Subversions’ of some of their favourite songs by other people – sure a cover album.  there might well be some you could see coming but there are others on the album that you would never have seen coming. 

Over in NYC the birthplace of hardcore and home to some of the best bands around Madball made a new record they put out in June 2018 and the brutal ‘For The Cause’ was unleashed on the world and immediately felt at home with the RPM crew.

Finally a mention of records released in June this time for the magnificent London power poppin’ punk rockin’ Los Pepe who released their long playing Greatest Hits on Snap Records! it came with a CD of the album and they also got to knock out a single this month as well which was nice. Don’t get me started on singles that appeared this month because ther were plenty with my pick of the pack coming from the Randy Savages who were ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’ .