Back in the early ’90s, Warrior Soul were among the many groups who rode in on the tail end of 1980s-style hair metal, only to have their careers washed away by the incoming dominance of grunge/alternative rock. Led by frontman Kory Clarke, the band’s slightly artsy take on the genre led to some noteworthy albums during that brief window in time (my friends in high school seemed to really like Drugs, God and the New Republic), before crashing and burning in 1995. However, the band has resurfaced in various incarnations over the years, usually with Clarke as the sole original member. Back on the Lash is their first studio album in five years.

Opening cut “American Idol” threatens to be some kind of meta-commentary on something or other, but turns out to be nothing more than Clarke shouting over a seemingly unfinished riff for about 90 seconds. On the AC/DC-styled “I Get Fucked Up,” Clarke elaborates on just exactly how fucked up he gets, while somehow managing to list 9/11 conspiracies, the military-industrial complex, and the JFK assassination as his reasons for doing so. The title track finds Clarke stringing together various euphemisms for drinking, eventually rhyming “back on the booze” with “zippity-do.” Credit where it’s due, though: the song is catchy as hell, despite sounding like 2nd rate Buckcherry (which I suppose would be 3rd or 4th rate Rolling Stones). Clarke has written lyrics about “partying” extensively in the past, but Back on the Lash is more or less a rock opera about destroying your liver.

Not surprisingly for such a frontman-driven band, Clarke’s vocals are mixed ridiculously up-front in relation to the rest of his band. This is bad news, as Clarke’s voice itself bears almost no resemblance to its early ’90s heyday. Terms like “hoarse” and “blown out” come to mind, and the raw production of the album does him no favors. His performance gradually deteriorates as the album goes on, with “Black Out” and “I Got The Rock” being particularly embarrassing.

The rest of the band fares somewhat better. Guitarist Stevie Pearce’s playing gets the point across, although his style is fairly anonymous. At best he sounds like Izzy Stradlin, at worst he channels the sloppiness of C.C. DeVille. In true hair-metal fashion, bassist Christian Kimmett holds down the root notes tenaciously and does little else. I have no idea who played drums on this record -— we were given a press photo showing four people, and a band bio that only names three. Whoever he is, he gets the job done.


Lash
contains only 8 real songs and clocks in at about a half hour. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your perspective. On one hand, the brevity only fuels my impression of this record as being incredibly half-assed in every aspect of its creation. At the same time, I am also grateful to not have to hear 4-5 more tracks of it.

So there you have it. Warrior Soul circa 2017 is not very good, which probably does not come as a shock. Kory Clarke still has some of the charisma that put his band on the map in the first place, but that can’t save him from bad songs, stupid lyrics, and his own charred vocal cords. A slightly more professional approach might have salvaged some of this material, but even the most devoted Warrior Soul fan would have to admit that the band’s best years are far behind them.


Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Rock ‘N’ Growl
Websites:  facebook.com/warriorsoulofficial
Releases Worldwide: December 1st, 2017

 

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  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Yep
    I’d prefer Dover Sole these days.

  • Zach Ward

    This sucks…. In other news Wilderun has entered the studio… So that’s a something to be excited about.

  • A wild Doc F siting right on the heels of the somewhat suspicious second coming of Happy…
    Are we all about to die???

    • End Times are upon us. Get your reviews in!

      • The world can end when Vardan’s finished. Til then, enjoy of deep safety.

    • Nukenado

      Doc Fisting is probably going to be on the year end lists anyways.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Still aghast that somebody actually thought Kory was a suitable replacement for Wagner in Trouble a while back.
    Thank God that ended abruptly.

  • Planex

    more like back on the TRASH

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Dead Century was an amazing album.
    Losers was so anti glam and the band rocked live.
    They lost their way around Chill Pill when they stopped being political and innovative and decided to start singing exclusively about bar brawls.

    Try listening to Downtown and not kick someone’s ass.

    Alas….this will sit in my iTunes folder of shame along with Sol Invictus.

    • David Mckenna

      I agree, one of those bands that the timing of their releases was unfortunate, one or two years earlier and they would have been massive imho.

    • basenjibrian

      Sol Invictus the album…or the band?
      I still love Tony Wakeford….even though his politics may have been questionable.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Album

  • Grymm

    Damn. This is such a far cry from “The Losers”, “Wasteland”, and of course “Love Destruction”.

    This is so, so fucking bad, it hurts.

  • David Mckenna

    Saw him live in the UK couple of months ago and he was so drunk was embarrassing, falling all over the stage, into the drum kit multiple times, surprised the band stick with him as they all that carried the gig.

  • Eli Valcik

    I think my mom owns those glasses.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      I KNOW YOUR MOM OWNS THOSE GLASSES

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Glad I’m not the only one who thought this was awful.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    Anyone know any other stellar bm albums akin to the likes of ROSK and Illyria? (ie; tasteful clean vocals; stellar production, atmospheric-esque)

    Not sure if this is the best place to post these kinds of questions; but alas! Nowhere is there a community I trust more with opinions of music than AMG blog. I really value all of you guy’s hard work making this website a delight to visit daily, and I’m counting down the days till the end of year lists! I’m in a black-metal-dreary mood with the upcoming winter, so I hope to find more albums of these two’s quality and style that I can spin, and there’s no better place to find the answers I seek than here!

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      NO.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        You pessimistic box

        • Yolo Swaggins

          More unhelpful than anything else; but I do agree he is rather pessimistic.

    • Nukenado

      Ihsahn. Unreqvited and Nyss are cool but not that many cleans.

      • Yolo Swaggins

        Ihsahn is pretty cool; his rough voice is quite good.

    • Nukenado

      Not BM at all, but Madder Mortem is a nice band for winter. They do have tasteful clean vocals (some of my favorite in prog metal, although they’re cleans focused), stellar production and are fairly atmospheric.

    • Unwanted Guest

      My top recommendation to your request is Dust Sculptures’ Far Above The Pines. Though the production might not be so stellar as you need, they play atmospheric black metal that blending prog rock, atmospheric element, like Pink Floyd, and post-black metal, featuring emotional clean vocals.

      Then, if you allow me to detour a little, I want you to know a project from my country. You can find Malikliya on bandcamp. A unique project from Japan, (maybe) influenced by Gothic metal and atmospheric black metal. Though their newest single is less black metal, their 1st Ep “KISARAGI” features romantic female vocals on atmospheric black metal.

  • welyyt

    So, when are you guys gonna start with the TYMHM posts?

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Band photo: What are we going to be for Halloween? How about a washed-up late 90s rock band?

    • Hey, be nice, Kory is going for the grandma look with that hair cut.

  • Bas

    Sad.. I even loved Chill Pill and liked parts of Space Age Playboys. But this … :-(

  • savafreak

    Last Decade Dead Century stood the test of time, still a masterpiece of an album, it had a unique identity and a strong political lyrics

  • Dagoth_RAC

    It’s a shame they have fallen so far. Last Decade, Dead Century was a fantastic debut. There was certainly a bit of a hair metal influence but Warrior Soul seemed liked an exciting, invigorating evolution of hair metal at the time. And “I See the Ruins” is still a classic song that I return to, even 27 years on.

  • Ta2dlam

    I dug Drugs, God, and the New Republic and Salutations from the Ghetto Nation albums. I found out last week about this and listened to approximately 42.3 seconds of the song I found on youtube cringing with embarrassment for this dude who somehow probably thinks he still rocks before deciding to learn from his lessons and never get fucked up again. No, that last part isn’t true. It made me want to get fucked up enough to forget about it and then I find a review on my favorite music website prompting me to remember through the haze.
    -Sad Metal Listener

  • Almost sad to read this review but at least I got some laughs out of it. Especially the description of the rhythm section: “In true hair-metal fashion, bassist Christian Kimmett holds down the
    root notes tenaciously and does little else. I have no idea who played
    drums on this record -— we were given a press photo showing four people,
    and a band bio that only names three. Whoever he is, he gets the job
    done.”

    Also, please tell me I am not the only one who has been waiting his whole life to hear a “metal” song use the term “zippity-do”.

  • Andrew Hall

    Hey thats Jizzy Pearls backing band…give them back!

  • Brjoro

    I have to object to the ‘hair metal’ association, Warrior Soul was miles and miles away from that genre. They were NYC gutter punk, their original bassist was in Killing Joke, Kory was originally a downtown East Village poet/spoken word guy. If anything I’d categorize them as ‘alternative metal.’ Their first 2 cd’s are absolute classics that I still play regularly.

    That said this is atrocious, as everyone here seems to agree. Kory’s voice is totally shot and the songs are terrible. I feel sad listening to this!

  • Unwanted Guest

    Buckcherry!

  • aelena74

    even more “unbeerable” than ac/dc and that’s saying something

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    There is actually a brazillian thrash band called Warrior Soul who just released a new album too. At first I thought it was Kory and Co.
    That would have been a welcomed step but unfortunately i was wrong.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Good thing about this shitty album is it made me go back to their glorious debut and the two afterwards.