In the early to mid-1980s, a cluster of bands emerged, in particular Venom, Tank and Warfare, who took the base elements from the dual New Waves Of British Heavy Metal and British punk to create a loud, energetic and abrasive sound.
Warfare – The Lemmy Sessions (Cherry Red Records)
Release Date: 24 March 2023
Words: Alex Eruptor
Whilst Tank had an album produced by Motörhead guitarist Fast Eddie, Warfare brazenly approached Lemmy by telling him that he had the job to produce theirs! The resulting album was Metal Anarchy, released in 1985, and also featured guest guitars by Motörhead’s Wurzel.
This three-disc set issued by Cherry Red Records curates on disc one the resulting unreleased Lemmy Kilmister ‘rough mix’ of the album from a recently re-discovered cassette tape copy (nine songs). Warts and all, it is an enjoyable document, even with the sonic limitations of its source.
Disc two gives you the album proper, which had re-ordered and remixed the songs, but with new and improved remastering (ten songs including the intro). Disc three compiles two EPs, Two Tribes, its title track a blisteringly evil sounding re-interpretation of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s camp floor filler, and the obnoxiously titled Total Death (eight songs – also all remastered).
The packaging is great, with a three-panel gatefold with photos holding the three discs and a booklet of liner notes. The album proper and EP compilation are housed within their own inner sleeves. Potentially they might have crammed it all onto a single disc, but this format splits it all out logically and creates more sense of occasion.
It would also be an intense single listen, so this way, you can give your ears a short break between changing discs and pulverising your eardrums with the next batch!
The music is ominous and terrifying, cement mixer bass and pounding punk drums with buzz-saw power chord guitar. Lyrical themes will appeal to fans of punk and thrash. The title track, Metal Anarchy, for example, sets a template, and there are some war themes too. The cover version of Two Tribes suits Warfare well because of this.
Warfare captured a primal sound of frustration and attitude and barely slacken the pace or intensity. With Lemmy’s assistance, they created a huge sound. For sure worth buying if you enjoy this type of punk-Metal street-level crossover stuff or even if you are just curious to see what Lemmy was getting involved in creatively outside of Motörhead.
It’s just a cool thing, and as with a lot of nicely packaged rock/Metal re-issues, Hugh Gilmour’s name is in the credits. It is great to see a record label go to the effort to make something worthwhile for fans that have box-set or collector’s edition appeal.