Aah Warfare! The band that for the briefest of moments back in the mid-80s was out-thrashing even the mighty Venom, and doing it all with zero fucks given. They are to this very day the only band I’ve ever seen play a proper guerrilla gig, their legendary protest performance outside Metallica’s debut headline show at Hammersmith Odeon back in 1985 still ranks as one of the most “what the fuck” moments of total chaos I’ve ever had the “pleasure?” of experiencing in all of my 40 odd years of gig going.


Formed by drummer/singer Evo after he’d left Angelic Upstarts, his fine musical pedigree also included stints with Oi! stalwarts Major Accident and legendary shock rockers The Blood. Warfare might very well be considered the bastard sons of all those bands, albeit with a hint of metal shot through their sound due to the guitar histrionics of Gunner and thunderous bass rumble of Falken.


Warfare’s rather appropriately titled debut album, ‘Pure Filth’, was produced by one Algy Ward, and for me it’s still stands as one of the best albums Neat Records ever released, being right up there with ‘Black Metal’ in the noisy bastard stakes.


Subsequent Neat albums were produced by the likes of Lemmy (1985’s ‘Metal Anarchy’) and Cronos (1986’s ‘Mayhem Fuckin’ Mayhem’) but they never really topped the out and out musical carnage of their debut album and 1988’s ‘A Conflict Of Hatred’ aside by the time the ill-fated ‘Hammer Horror’ album finally crept out via FM Revolver in 1990 Warfare had somehow become a shadow of their former selves, sonically at least, with Evo retiring from the music business in 1992.


Returning some 20 odd years later for a trio of “demos” releases via German label High Roller Records. Albums that saw Evo reliving the magic of the band’s early days. The renewed interest in his band sparked Evo into re-joining the musical world once again, with him vowing to record the angriest Warfare record yet whilst drafting in the likes of Fast Eddie Clarke and Pete Way to help him make this dream come true. ‘Songbook of Filth’ then is the chance for us all to finally hear this material, something I couldn’t wait to get on the CD player.


Playing out in a non-chronological order, the 31 tracks spread out across three CDs (there’s also a twelve-track “highlights” vinyl LP available) and featuring some cracking demos, radio sessions, rare rehearsals/outtakes and live recordings, the set it meticulously curated by Evo via extensive track by track sleeve notes.

Highlights include new tracks ‘Black’ (featuring Fred Purser), ‘Cemetery Dirt’ (featuring Fast Eddie and Tom Angelripper) and ‘Misanthropy’ (featuring Fast Eddie and Pete Way). There’s also a brutal run through of ‘Burn Down The Kings Road’ recorded for Tommy Vance’s Radio 1 Rock Show, plus the ‘Metal City’ versions of ‘Metal Anarchy’ and ‘Rape’ which were previously only available on the dodgy as hell Neat Records compilation VHS of the same name. There’s a brutal version of GBH’s ‘Sick Boy’, a hilarious take on Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love’ retitled as ‘Addicted To Drugs’, whilst the three-track tribute to Evo’s previous bands that bring the second disc to a close is topped off by an immensely trashy rehearsal version of ‘Degenerate’ by The Blood, a band who at the time of their legendary debut album (‘False Gestures For A Devious Public’) were writing better Damned songs than The Damned themselves.


So much more than just another compilation, or “best of” set, ‘Songbook of Filth’ offers even the most hardcore Warfare fan plenty of new listening material to get excited about. This most certainly is not just a re-hash of those old well-worn Warfare LPs from the ‘80s, and if you are quick enough you can even bag yourself a signed copy from the Cherry Red website (via the link below).


Get this bad boy on your “MUST BUY” list, because this is proper fucking Metal Anarchy.


Buy Here

Author: Johnny Hayward