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4.6 out of 5 stars75
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 October 2005
I am a young U2 fanatic and one of the things I love the most is going back to the oldies! Everyone of them I have listened to and got addicted to. WAR was strangely the last of the 80s classics that I got into but for me it is the best! I was amazed that I had listened to U2 for so long but i had never listened to the 'smaller songs' on this album. 'Sunday Bloody, Sunday' and 'New Year's Day' are undoubted U2 classics but it is the other songs that capture this album. 'Seconds', 'Two hearts beat as one' and '40' are superb songs but the one that shocked me was 'Drowning Man'. It is beautiful and it is a mystery why this is not a U2 classic, I think it is up there with 'One' and 'With or Without You'. The best thing about U2 is finding these gems of songs that you would'nt usually listen to. WAR is full of these songs and you would be a fool not to try it out!
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on 15 September 2005
Like many reviewers say, you really need to listen to U2 albums more than once, there is a huge difference between hearing and listening, and over the years the band has taught me to listen to the lyrics, not just for their songs but other artists as well. Growing up in a country where every day somebody was killed due to the "Troubles", the cover ups, the misunderstandings and angst between communities, there was not one person born or raised in Ireland that was not affected by it in some way during those 30 years. Sunday Bloody Sunday is a U2 classic and is a stark reminder for all as to what happened in the town of L'derry - 4 very young men stood up against the corruption on all sides and I'm glad to say they are still at it in HTDAAB, this island of ours is more peaceful, but there are many more countries in the World who are experiencing their own troubles now. With War the guys got stuck in and have remained there ever since, listen to HTDAAB straight after War - from a tender start they have become a passionate giant, long may they continue, long may their music continue - we need more of this honesty!
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U2's third album was unleashed on an expectant world in 1983 and launched them as a genuine global phenomenon. This long overdue CD Remaster is released today, Monday 21 July 2008 in the UK and then 22 July 2008 in the USA and other territories. Also released today are "Boy", their 1980 debut and "October" their second album from 1981. The Edge has personally overseen the remastering of all of them utilizing the same team that brought us the amazing quality re-issue of "The Joshua Tree" last year.

DISCS:
Here in the UK, "War" (like the others) comes in no less than 4 physical variants. The single CD is a straightforward remaster with an extended and upgraded booklet (it's one of those new round corner jewel cases) and costs £10. The second is this issue - the 2CD Deluxe Version at £20 - the 2nd disc being the B-sides of singles and new previously unreleased mixes. The third variant is a Limited Edition containing the 2CD Deluxe Edition housed in a DVD sized card box with a T-Shirt of the album sleeve - it costs a frankly ludicrous £35 and is a waste of space and money in my book. Last is the humble 10-track LP - it's housed in a repro of the original gatefold sleeve and is pressed on 180 grams vinyl with upgraded liner notes - it costs £15 and is a limited edition. THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2CD DELUXE EDITION and the SINGLE DISC EDITION.

Here's the layout:
Disc 1 is the 10 track original album, issued March 1983 on Island ILPS 9733, remastered 2008 (42:11 minutes)

Disc 2 is the B-sides of 7" and 12" singles from Germany, the UK and the USA along with two brand new mixes of "New Year's Day" - all tracks remastered in 2008. It should also be noted that the CD lists 12 tracks, but the booklet lists only 11 - and in the wrong order! Looks like the track list was changed at the last minute, but the booklet wasn't upgraded to reflect this - a bit sloppy to say the least considering the expensive price of the 2disc set. Whether this is a mistake or a hidden track is unsaid, but the song not listed on the packaging is number two, "Angels Too Tied To The Ground" (59:29 minutes)

PACKAGING:
Housed in an outer hard card sleeve is a 36-page hardback booklet with lyrics, album history by noted writer NIALL STOKES, 7" singles pictured, photo outtakes from the videos and a detailed breakdown of the tracks on Disc 2. The 26-page single disc booklet is extended for the deluxe one by about 12 pages and there are informative notes by The Edge on how and why some of the B-sides were recorded. Both the single CD and 2CD set are picture discs with 2 members of the band on Disc 1 and the other 2 on Disc 2. A nice touch in the 2CD set is the way the card leaves that hold the CDs have slits at their base to let the disc slide out a fraction (it would have cut through anyway). It's a small thing, but nice attention to detail. The packaging is good (apart from that track list), and classily presented, but the best bit is the SOUND...

SOUND:
Remastered by ARNIE ACOSTA at Bernie Grundman Mastering, the tapes and remasters were also overseen by THE EDGE and the quality achieved is fantastic. Like most fans, I've waited for over 20 years to hear "Seconds", "Drowning Man", "Surrender" and "40" in truly great sound quality and this re-issue delivers that in dollops. The drums are clear and loud, the guitars and keyboards passages leaping out of the speakers at you - the great guitar work given the muscle it needs - as I say - FANTASTIC STUFF. "New Year's Day" too - unbelievably good (lyrics above). Fans will really delight to this.

EXTRAS:
The extras, however, are a very mixed bag. "Endless Deep" is the non-album B-side to the German and UK 7" singles of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and is a sort of a meandering instrumental - interesting but hardly great. "Angels Too Tied To The Ground" is much better though and new to me - it's got to be an outtake from the sessions - musically it sounds like a rehearsal for "New Year's Day". It's a fully formed song and would have made a great B-side - it's a superb little ditty - and without question one of the best surprises on here. Fans will eat this one up. Unfortunately, tracks 5 and 6 are - in my mind - absolute travesties. They're 1999 Ferry Corsten remixes of "New Year's Day" which sound like those endless crap versions that came off "Pop" CD singles - they're staggeringly inappropriate to an 1983 album and its unique sound. What were they thinking about - tagging these on here - they're so out of place as to be laughable? "Treasure..." is the B-side to the UK issue of "New Year's Day" while 10, 11 and 12 make up the 3 other songs on the UK double 7" pack of "New Year's Day". The live tracks are good, but not that well recorded. All in all, with 4 mixes of "New" and 3 mixes of "Two", Disc 2 is a very boring and disjointed experience. In truth, I doubt I'll be returning to these soon, despite their rarity value.

To sum up, Disc 1 is 10 out of 10, but Disc 2 is pushing 5.

"War" is a superb U2 album and still stands up to this day - and this great remaster has only reminded us of that. Shame that Disc 2 lets the side down somewhat. Fans will have to own the 2CD Deluxe Edition, while the casual buyer should opt for the single disc version instead. On its own, it's a superlative remastered reissue.
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VINE VOICEon 6 August 2008
It was hearing "New Year's Day" on the radio nearly 25 years ago that first switched me onto U2. I rushed out and bought "War" on tape and played it everyday for months (student days !).

With this remastering, one of U2's best albums becomes even better. The remastering gives us a crisper cleaner sound particularly noticeable through much clearer vocals. Every song is improved by this treatment and it is wonderful to hear the lyrics properly on 40, Drowning Man, Sunday Bloody Sunday and the other songs. On "Seconds" Adam Clayton's bass is emphasised turning this from a fairly dull filler track to a really enjoyable piece. "Drowning Man" is also vastly improved, though, sadly, clearer lyrics can't really improve the second-rate "Refugee", "Red Light" and "Surrender".

I decided not to buy the deluxe version of this remastering - four versions of "New Year's Day" and three of "Two Hearts" are not really worth an extra tenner for me.

This was my first U2 album and my favourite for many years. I think this remastering lifts it back to the top spot in my mind (at least until "The Unforgettable Fire" gets the treatment). Brilliant.
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"War", meanwhile, is the third U2 album, which saw them at the cusp of fame. The album is sonically a progression which has barely dated, the song writing is sound but painfully earnest and boringly sincere, and the band are clearly creating their own identity, their own personality, and have their own rare voice in the world. There are four or five truly classic songs on the main album, including the played-to-death "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (which repeated exposure to has now made me sadly numb and immune), and in true U2 style, it sounds very much like no one else, yet also unique to that particular record. If the band had split at this point, they'd go down in the annals of history as a band that were almost huge. And probably reformed a few years ago as a pension plan.

Nonetheless, "War" is certainly a fine and assured album that is imperfect only in its naivety. It's almost as if Bono felt he could cure the worlds ills with a stunning melody and an effective lyrics. Oh, youth. Nonetheless. as an album "War" is a product of its time,a reflection of youthful ideals, and well worth getting if you are a fan of the band.

The bonus disc, again an assortment of single-only b-sides, live fragments, and extra stuff is a boring listen, for one reason and one reason alone. Of the 12 songs on there, four of them are remixes of "New Years Day" (presented in one half-hour chunk of boredom, including two rather dated 1999 remixes by Ferry Corsten), followed by a quarter-hour of dated 12" mixes of "Two Hearts Beat As One" which explore the endless possibilities of the echo box and syndrum to their very limits. It turns what could have been an interesting listening experience into a barren plain of boredom. There's an unreleased track - average b-side fodder "Angels Too Tied To The Ground", and a couple of live songs, but ultimately, it's a uneven and frustrating compilation produced without care or thought for what actually sitting down and listening to it in one go might be like.

In addition, there are some alternate mixes that were issued on a 1993 remaster that are omitted, as are 5 well-circulated demo and rehearsal recordings that could easily have fitted on the disc to create a more satisfying and cohesive listen. Given that these albums have each shifted several million copies each, I have to be honest and say that most people who buy these reissues already have the albums - and that seems a little exploitative to put together an underwhelming and inexhaustive selection of extra tracks at such a high price, especially when there's copious amounts of extra space on the discs themselves. These reissues are worthy, and I'm glad they were released, but they could've been so much more than they currently are, and been produced in a fashion that satisfied the bands knowledgable and large fan base. Close, but no cigar.
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on 8 June 2001
This is U2 at their best - raw, passionate and still a few years away from world wide stardom.
The LP contains 10 tracks - none of which will disappoint. From the now anthem like New Year's Day and Sunday Bloody Sunday, to the later live classics such as Seconds, Surrender and Two Hearts Beat As One, (live on Under A Blood Red Sky - not here!),the album is a rollercoaster ride through all the best U2 have to offer, and a true reflection of their superb song writing abilities.
If you are thinking of buying an 'early' U2 album, but only came on board the bandwagon in the 90's, then this is the one for you!
Enjoy, and don't wear out that CD player!!!
(Other U2 albums worth a listen include the Joshua Tree, October and Under A Blood Red Sky.)
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U2's third album was unleashed on an expectant world in 1983 and launched them as a genuine global phenomenon. This long overdue CD Remaster is released today, Monday 21 July 2008 in the UK and then 22 July 2008 in the USA and other territories. Also released today are "Boy", their 1980 debut and "October" their second album from 1981. The Edge has personally overseen the remastering of all of them utilizing the same team that brought us the amazing quality re-issue of "The Joshua Tree" last year.

DISCS:
Here in the UK, "War" (like the others) comes in no less than 4 physical variants. The single CD is a straightforward remaster with an extended and upgraded booklet (it's one of those new round corner jewel cases) and costs £10. The second is this issue - the 2CD Deluxe Version at £20 - the 2nd disc being the B-sides of singles and new previously unreleased mixes. The third variant is a Limited Edition containing the 2CD Deluxe Edition housed in a DVD sized card box with a T-Shirt of the album sleeve - it costs a frankly ludicrous £35 and is a waste of space and money in my book. Last is the humble 10-track LP - it's housed in a repro of the original gatefold sleeve and is pressed on 180 grams vinyl with upgraded liner notes - it costs £15 and is a limited edition. THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2CD DELUXE EDITION and the SINGLE DISC EDITION.

Here's the layout:
Disc 1 is the 10 track original album, issued March 1983 on Island ILPS 9733, remastered 2008 (42:11 minutes)

Disc 2 is the B-sides of 7" and 12" singles from Germany, the UK and the USA along with two brand new mixes of "New Year's Day" - all tracks remastered in 2008. It should also be noted that the CD lists 12 tracks, but the booklet lists only 11 - and in the wrong order! Looks like the track list was changed at the last minute, but the booklet wasn't upgraded to reflect this - a bit sloppy to say the least considering the expensive price of the 2disc set. Whether this is a mistake or a hidden track is unsaid, but the song not listed on the packaging is number two, "Angels Too Tied To The Ground" (59:29 minutes)

PACKAGING:
Housed in an outer hard card sleeve is a 36-page hardback booklet with lyrics, album history by noted writer NIALL STOKES, 7" singles pictured, photo outtakes from the videos and a detailed breakdown of the tracks on Disc 2. The 26-page single disc booklet is extended for the deluxe one by about 12 pages and there are informative notes by The Edge on how and why some of the B-sides were recorded. Both the single CD and 2CD set are picture discs with 2 members of the band on Disc 1 and the other 2 on Disc 2. A nice touch in the 2CD set is the way the card leaves that hold the CDs have slits at their base to let the disc slide out a fraction (it would have cut through anyway). It's a small thing, but nice attention to detail. The packaging is good (apart from that track list), and classily presented, but the best bit is the SOUND...

SOUND:
Remastered by ARNIE ACOSTA at Bernie Grundman Mastering, the tapes and remasters were also overseen by THE EDGE and the quality achieved is FANTASTIC! I've waited like most fans for over 20 years to hear "Seconds", "Drowning Man", "Surrender" and "40" in truly great sound quality and this re-issue delivers that in dollops. The drums are clear and loud, the guitars and keyboards passages leaping out of the speakers at you - the great guitar work given the muscle it needs - as I say - FANTASTIC STUFF. Fans will really delight to this.

EXTRAS:
The extras, however, are a very mixed bag. "Endless Deep" is the non-album B-side to the German and UK 7" singles of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and is a sort of a meandering instrumental - interesting but hardly great. "Angels Too Tied To The Ground" is much better though and new to me - it's got to be an outtake from the sessions - musically it sounds like a rehearsal for "New Year's Day". It's a fully formed song and would have made a great B-side - it's a superb little ditty - and without question one of the best surprises on here. Fans will eat this one up. Unfortunately, tracks 5 and 6 are - in my mind - absolute travesties. They're 1999 Ferry Corsten remixes of "New Year's Day" which sound like those endless crap versions that came off "Pop" CD singles - they're staggeringly inappropriate to an 1983 album and its unique sound. What were they thinking about - tagging these on here - they're so out of place as to be laughable? "Treasure..." is the B-side to the UK issue of "New Year's Day" while 10, 11 and 12 make up the 3 other songs on the UK double 7" pack of "New Year's Day". The live tracks are good, but not that well recorded. All in all, with 4 mixes of "New" and 3 mixes of "Two", Disc 2 is a very boring and disjointed experience. In truth, I doubt I'll be returning to these soon, despite their rarity value.

To sum up, Disc 1 is 10 out of 10, but Disc 2 is pushing 5.

"War" is a superb U2 album and still stands up to this day - and this great remaster has only reminded us of that. Shame that Disc 2 lets the side down somewhat. Fans will have to own the 2CD Deluxe Edition, while the casual buyer should opt for the single disc version instead. On its own, it's a superlative remastered reissue.
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on 9 April 2015
Like most here, I went out and bought U2's War album in March 1983 the moment it arrived. I had form mind you, though the credit went to some of my very tasteful friends, including one girl who shall remain nameless. She had Boy and October already and even the now rare 7" of A Celebration which is where I heard Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl for the first time. Back then The Edge's guitar bounded by Clayton and Mullen's rhythm section was a fiercesome proposition allied to Bono's soaring voice. I Will Follow had the trademark riffs going and Gloria was one of those stadium beaters you knew just had to be played in the open air in, oh I don't know, somewhere like the desert of Red Rocks in Colorado maybe! But the off-kilter melody of Out of Control, Stories for Boys and the provocative I Threw a Brick through a Window together with the more delicate Tomorrow and October made those first two records thrilling affairs.

When New Years Day came out as the first single, the obvious question was, what could go wrong? This was U2 maturing into the band those who had just made NYD their first Top Ten single thought they already were and we in the know knew was in fact a classic band progression in the best tradition that were now hitting their stride. And then I got home and put the record on with what I considered at the time a pretty state-of-the-art hi-fi system. What the hell is this, I cried out to the considerable surprise of my parents who thought my out-of-tune bedroom singing had suddenly gotten even worse?! Yes Sunday Bloody Sunday had this loud, crashing effect to it that made it dramatic for sure helped by Larry Mullen's return to basic drum patterns, but what was going on with this sound elsewhere?

Well I later learned that producer Steve Lillywhite had by now gone deaf having recorded so many great - and loud! - records through his career. And it showed. Drowning Man and '40' survived the very harsh sound by courtesy of their delicacy and style, but others weren't so lucky. The later remixes that first appeared on 12"s of NYD and Two Hearts confirmed a much more nuanced and balanced sound to be had and to be fair, this remastered version brings that alternative soundscape to the record that an LP found hard to achieve unless you had a Linn timetable to listen to it on at the time!

Today War is a classic of sorts and its updated cover of Peter Rowen - originally seen on Boy - is an iconic piece of U2 imagery, but reviewers were unsure at the time and one can see why. The band were going through changes in their sound, their politics and their haircuts. The Unforgettable Fire that followed 18 months later demonstrated where those washes of sound could go, especially with the brilliance of Lanois and Eno at the control desk. But any record that is over 30 years old, supposedly of its time, but which can still get you excited, has every right to its place in the annals. This re-release was enough for me to get the old record out and crank up the turntable. Nostalgia did the rest. Exciting times indeed. Recommended.
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on 20 November 2014
1983 was the year U2 made it mainstream . No longer a cult band they started selling records in considerable amounts . This was rather amazing at the time . The early 1980s was an era dominated in Europe with New Romantics , pretty boys who looked like villains from Blakes 7 who wore make up and spent hours and a fortune spraying their heads with hairspray . Worst of all they played synthesisers which while being good at the time has dated very painfully . Nothing about War has dated and is an album that remains gritty , organic , sincere and timeless

The title takes itself from 1982 where The Falklands War , the Iran - Iraq war and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon meant and Bono thought that summed up the previous year . Like the previous two albums this has a theme and is the most politically aware of U2's output and pulls no punches . The opening track Sunday Bloody Sunday is a scream against sectarianism in Northern Ireland , Seconds laments the fact that mankind might be about to become extinct via nuclear war , New Years Day is a love letter to Solidairty in Poland and Like A Song points out human beings like to wave a flag and wear a badge of identity . You might not agree with what the band are saying but you can't fault the way it's being said or indeed the passion behind it . For a fresh faced teenager in 1983 I'll gladly take up the cause . Any cause

Some of the tracks exist merely as fillers but this is in no way a criticism . Red Light with its trumpet solo and the Coconuts doing backing vocals is one of these songs that you know fine well will never be played live but that doesn't matter because it's a song featuring wanting to help someone and the fall out of rejection . It was with this album U2 wanted to be a best selling band known for their album sales as well as their live performances . It's not entirely commercial but as an album of contrasts it's very effective . For a record that features so much screaming and almost violent angst it finishes with 40 , a song so calm it almost feels someone has stuck a cold compress to your head and given you a warm mlky drink . With hindsight it's a closure of sorts . Bono and the boys have got your attention ? Good now they're moving on to something different and with the hardcore U2 fans this was something of a shame . This is an angry rock album and U2 never sounded so perfect
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on 25 February 2010
In 1983, U2 were teaming up once again with Steve Lillywhite for a crack at their third album. Again displaying youthful energy and industrial quantities of testosterone. This by many is considered to be the last instalment of a Trilogy (Boy October War). Bono, Edge, Adam, Larry. Say the names today and most any fan of Rock n Roll will know exactly who you are talking about. But long before world domination, this little band from Ireland composed of 3 young idealist and a bass player who liked to smoke grass and get laid.

War starts hard with a martial drum roll and high pitched squeal from a violin that could easily be guitar feedback as well. It's clear this album means business right from the start. It quickly goes on to describe the horrors of war and violence against innocents in no uncertain terms, and the band goes about it's business with uniform authority, knowing exactly what the song needs and how to deliver it. Sunday Bloody Sunday was a bold political statement in the times it was written, and it delivered. What sepreates War from U2's previous two albums are indeed these politics of War. Whereas on Boy and October U2 found themselves expressing thier ideas through faith, hope, and youthful idealism alone, War gave them something to hang there idealist hats on, so to speak. The politics gave them the purpose and the purpose drove the music. And throughout the rest of the album, the politics now being estasblished, they would offer a far more focused version of what they had offered on Boy and October both Musically and lyrically.
Complementing U2's lyrical growth is a newly developed dark sense of humor, which the band uses to striking effect throughout the album. War isn't all jaded ideals and sour wit, for as Bono Vox makes his pronouncements, his vocalize reveals the full flower of U2's melodic abilities his voice soaring in multitracked polyphony over the song's slippery rhythms. Generally, the album's musical strengths are largely the product of well-honed arrangements and carefully balanced dynamics. Even as the Edge spins increasingly sophisticated guitar lines, he maintains the minimalist bluntness while bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. have swung to more dance-oriented rhythms, their songs hurtle along with the sort of brusque purposefulness more frequently associated with punk.
After this it was all down hill- This U2 at their primitive best and set the standard for Simple Minds and the Alarm
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