One of Scotland’s finest Rock bands gets a late career box set collection and it is Awesome!
The Almighty – Welcome To Defiance – The Complete Recordings 1994 to 2001 (Cherry Red Records)
Release Date: 26 March 2021
Words: Robert Adams
If you have been searching for any albums from The Almighty during the last few years, you will have found them to be rarer than hen’s teeth. They have been deleted for quite a while now, which is a travesty. That has all changed now thanks to those wonderful guys and gals at Cherry Red Records and a ton of work done by Siren, Ricky Warwick’s management.
This seven disc box set covers the latter half of The Almighty’s career, from 94’s ‘Crank’ album through to 2001’s ‘Pyscho-Narco’. There are also three bonus discs, but we will get to those later.
The first thing you notice about this set is the box. It is a sturdy, slimline cardboard box containing all seven discs in reproduction original sleeves and a booklet featuring album details for all seven discs. I am very impressed, given the RRP of the set. Again, more about that later.
First out of the traps is 94’s ‘Crank’ album with it’s Jamie Reid designed cover. This album is the audio equivalent of being dragged down a dark alley by a group of thugs and getting your head kicked in. It is a snarling, biting, full throttle Punk / Metal experience which never really lets up for the duration.
If you happened to catch a show on the ‘Crank’ tour, chances are your hearing will just be returning to normal now. Those shows were LOUD!! The album holds up really well today and is a joy to listen to once more.
Just Add Life
Next up we have 96’s ‘Just Add Life’ with a sleeve designed by Storm Thorgerson and yet another shift in musical direction from The Almighty. This musical shift, think of The Clash in their heyday, coupled with record label conflicts and general music business nonsense, meant that ‘Just Add Life’ never received the love it deserved when it was released.
Listening to it now, that is a crime as it is a very strong album indeed. The horn section added to ‘All Sussed Out’ definitely raises it above most things that were around in 1996. Sadly, the reception given to ‘Just Add Life’ was too much to take and The Almighty effectively split, with Ricky Warwick relocating back to Ireland and starting his solo career.
Four years later saw The Almighty return with their self-titled album, this time reverting back to original cover designer Kotch. Lead guitarist Pete Freisen had gone back to Alice Cooper’s band via a short European festival tour with Bruce Dickinson. Guitarist Nick Parsons filled Freisen’s shoes and ‘The Almighty’ would also be the last studio album to feature original bassist Floyd London.
Going back to the bands original sound, ‘The Almighty’ is a stronger album than I remember it being back in 2000. Whilst not up there with the bands top releases, it still deserves admiration.
Hot on the heels of ‘The Almighty’ saw the release of what would be the band’s last studio album, 2001’s ‘Psycho-Narco’. Floyd London had gone and been replaced by Gav Grey for this, the band’s last hurrah. Again, whilst not up there with the band’s best, this is still a relatively strong album.
There are a few killer tracks on here, but you can sense that the writing was on the wall for The Almighty.
Disc five is a live show from Japan on the band’s ‘Crank’ tour and proves what an absolute force of nature The Almighty were as a live act.
Unsurprisingly, most of the ‘Crank’ album is performed during this set, along with a few choice cuts from the band’s catalogue. This disc just makes me grin like a Cheshire cat as I was fortunate enough to catch the band on several shows during the ‘Crank’ tour and the memories come flooding back.
They are tighter than a sideways walking crustacean’s posterior and take no prisoners.
Remixes, b-sides, live and more
Disc six is, for me, the jewel in the crown. It is a collection of remixes, b-sides, single edits and cover versions and is just FANTASTIC. We start off with two trippy dance remixes of ‘Jonestown Mind’ done by Therapy and the Ruts. They are miles away from the original, but both are wonderful.
There’s also a stunning run through Eddie And The Hot Rods classic ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’.
Disc seven is a collection of live tracks and sessions and again is fantastic.
So there we have it, The Almighty ‘Welcome To Defiance, Complete Recordings 1994 – 2001’ is an absolute Must Buy.
I mentioned earlier the RRP of this collection. I hope you are sitting down for this – 94 tracks over seven discs (that works out as 7p per track), contained in a sturdy cardboard box and all for £25!!! Yes, you read that correctly, £25!!!.
If you want to reintroduce yourself to The Almighty, or introduce yourself to them, this collection is a complete no-brainer.
Exceptional value for money featuring a cracking Rock band. I cannot thank enough Siren Management and Cherry Red for the five years of hard work it took to bring this box set to fruition.
I cannot wait for the second box set.