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This review is from: Stiff Middle Finger (Audio CD)
Warrior Soul are in my opinion the most important rock band of the 1990's. The six albums they released during their initial run are essential with each one showing a new and different side to the band. From the initial manifesto of their debut "Last Decade Dead Century" through the art rock experimentation of "Chill Pill" to the party at the end of days that was their last full studio release "Space Age Playboys". Their unquestionable masterpiece however was album number three "Salutations From The Ghetto Nation". Twelve songs of punk rock perfection that was ultimately too alternative for the metal kids and too metal for the alternative kids consequently it sold nothing but remains a (lost) classic.
Post Warrior Soul main-man vocalist and lyricist Kory Clarke has been involved in many projects, the acid cyber punk of the Space Age Playboys, the industrial grind of Mob Research, the too dumb to last Dirty Rig & his own "Opium Hotel" solo albums. But it was the second resurrection of the Warrior Soul brand name in 2007 (a short lived attempt in 2000 went nowhere) that has caused most interest. Essentially a new band fronted by Kory they gigged quite extensively in the UK and Europe before recording a new album in 2008. That record was something of a mixed bag that suffered from a confused release that saw it released three times in three years with three different titles/covers.
So to 2012 & "Stiff Middle Finger" a second album by this new incarnation of the band. Although there isn't really a band here more a collection of musicians Kory has worked with both in & outside of Warrior Soul over the past few years.
Opener "Occupy" is solid & hypnotic.
"Planetary Revolution" recalls the Warrior Soul of old.
"Wall Street" is the weakest song on the album. Featuring original Warrior Soul guitarist John Ricco ironically it sounds nothing like Warrior Soul and more like bad Guns N Roses.
"Junky Stripper" has been around for years, a basic demo surfaced back in 2004/5 and Kory also included a different version on his 2011 "Opium Hotel II" solo release. It's one of the heaviest riffs in the bands history & a great song.
"A Drink For All My Friends" is a classic.
"2012" was originally on Korys self released acoustic album "Light Your Bonfires" back in 2011. This version removes the acoustic guitars & adds more noise and is better for it.
"Tear" is not great, not awful and not that interesting musically or lyrically. A rare bit of filler.
Despite a slightly strange ending (where the band just kinda randomly stop playing like they have suddenly become bored of the song) "Sparkle Baby" is another great song with a hypnotic riff that recalls the "Space Age Playboys" album.
"Rubicon" IS classic Warrior Soul. My favorite song on the CD, it sounds like it would fit seamlessly on the "...Ghetto Nation" album.
Album closer "Light Your Bonfires" is a slightly tidied up version of the title track from the aforementioned acoustic album. It's another great song.
Overall with the unsettled recording line-up and by including three tracks from his recent solo work this is perhaps more of a Kory Clarke solo album than a full Warrior Soul album...but then again Kory is Warrior Soul so go figure.
Not as essential as those 90s classics but still a must have album.