PAUL DI’ANNO’S BATTLEZONE “FIGHTING BACK”
July 13th, 2016
Paul Di’Anno will always be remembered as the first official Iron Maiden singer. During Maiden years (1978-1981) he released tow albums Iron Maiden (1980, EMI) and Killers (1981, EMI). After he had left (although it would be correct to write fired) Iron Maiden, Paul released numerous albums as solo artist and a member of a bands: Gogmagog, Battlezone, Killers, Praying Mantis …
Battlezone was formed in 1985. In 1991 band changed name to Killers. Although some people see Battlezone and Killers as the same band, they are concidered to be a separate bands.
“Fighting Back” is the first Battlezone album released in 1986 as 12″ vinyl (Raw Power Records/UK, Shatter Records/US). Album hit the light of the day at the setting of NWOBHM. Compared to other NWOBM albums, this on is more fast and furious.
Rocking “(Forever) Fighting Back” is classic rock anthem where Di’Anno shows his vocal capabilities. “Welcome to the Battlezone” has futuristic lyrics since it tells us a story of London in 1994. As I remember, there were no riots in London in 1994. In 1993 and 1995 there were riots against Metropolitan Police, so he was close. Chorus is catchy, easy to remember.
“Warchild” brings fast tamp and Paul sings:
“We used to be the same as you
We’ve all had an axe to grind
When you get old your views will change
And you will see the light
Make it last, your time will come
When you will feel the 9 to 5
You kiss the wife and say goodbye
Your life becomes routine.”
Knowing Paul’s life, full of ups and downs, he never changed his views, his life never became routine. He is uncompromising, he has strong attitude, and that is why he is my hero.
“In the Darkness” is my favorite song, so emotional, melodic, catchy, easy to remember. Paul’s voice brings additional note of desperation.
“The Land God Gave to Caine” is epic one, but it just misses something, so it will be remembered as average song. It had potential, but it faded away.
For my taste, “Running Blind” is little bit weird. It begins in slow tempo, you might think if you never heard the song before that it is ballad but suddenly at 1:40 it crushes your bones. Pure energy, fast and furious. Paul we know and we love. If this song just could be divided at two parts, I would say that faster one would be my favorite.
“Too Much to Heart” is simply hard rock ballad which leads to the song too cheesy for my taste, “Voice on the Radio”. It promises at the beginning, but somehow the way it was sung has something that turns me away from it. Back vocals are here more involved than at the any other song.
“Welfare Warriors” brings pure Iron Maiden sound. It is the most “violent” song at this album and also one of my favorites. Paul Di’Anno sings about frustration with government and society, which will remain as his trademark.
“Feel the Rock” is real anthem which makes you to raise your fist in the air and headbang till your brain explodes.. It is melodic, it has classic lyrics structure for the song that should move your ass.
“Rising Star”, bonus track from “Warchild” (Powerstation Records, 1988), collection of two previous Battlezone albums “Fighting Back” (Raw Power Records/UK, Shatter Records/US) and “Children of Madness” (Powerstation Records/UK, Shatter Records/US). As “(Forever) Fighting Back” is opening this album as fast and furious as it can, “Rising Star” closes it in slow tempo.
Overall, this is solid album. Production is little bit raw, some songs are just fading away. Most critics underastemate Paul Di’Anno and sees him as mediocre musician. I know he does not give a damn about it. Maybe he will never get the credits he deserves. The truth is: he is great singer (as he always underlines-punk metal singer), great leader, great person. His concerts are explosion of pure energy. Under the façade of rough, conflict man lies emotional personality which he manifests through lyrics, such as, at this album are lyrics for “In the Darkness” or “Too Much to Heart”.
I had a chance to enjoy in Di’Anno’s strong, distinctive voice. He had two amazing concerts in 2002 in Belgrade with Killers where they performed some of the songs from “Fighting Back” album.
This album had several reeisue editions. The last one was in July 2016. 30 years after first release and in the year when Paul fights against cancer. Do you see any symolism here, or is it just me?
(c) Ivona Bogner
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