Evo – “Warfare” (High Roller Records)
Lemmy. Algy. Cronos. Evo. If you grew up in the early 80s then you’d know these names very well indeed. Famed as much for their character as their music (in some cases the former more than the latter), few can deny the indelible mark (or stain) they left on people. While bands like Venom and Raven were fighting to get out the gutter, Warfare, the band formed by Paul ‘Evo’ Evans were not just content to roll in it, but become kings of the sewer! Raised as much on punk as metal, Evo had already accumulated some experience in Angelic Upstarts and crossover nasties The Blood, bringing all of this to create his own nightmare – Warfare. Adopting Exciter’s mode of playing drums and singing, Warfare soon acquired a fearsome reputation for their volatile gigs and hijinks on other bands (including Metallica). Whether copycatting the Sex Pistols for publicity or just reveling in merry mayhem, Warfare soon became a name promoters viewed with trepidation, although a growing cult following of fans was undeniable for the band’s no nonsense aggro punk metal. Clearly more than just a piss head yob, Evo’s compositions always had plenty of catchiness, hooks and grooves – much to the annoyance of the critical press content to bin the band into obscurity, but like an embedded tick, the stench of Warfare didn’t go away until the early 90s. However, with new generations discovering the lingering odour, Evo decided to once again re-activate one of the original British metal punk crossover outfits in history! This self titled album is Warfare as you might expect some 25 years on, with Evo playing all the instruments and singing – but not without some notable guests from Motorhead’s Fast Eddie Clarke who does some serious guitar damage on ‘Misanthropy’ while Lips of Anvil hits it on ‘This Man Bleeds Hate’ along with Hawkwind’s Nick Turner lending his sax on ‘Doctor Of Insanity’, not to mention contributions from Fred Purser (Tygers of Pan Tang) and The Damned’s Paul Gray. Across the 11 tracks the heavy bass is prominent in the mix, with a drum sound very much Warfare’s original style (i.e. recorded in the toilet), although the guitars are crystal clear making for overall a good production. Likewise, Evo shows he’s got a versatile vocal range from the guttural roughage on ‘Black’ to bopping it out on the Ramone’s punkerola of ‘Burnt Out’ – while his best is reserved for a cover of David Essex’s ‘Stardust’ – thankfully un-mayhemic and with Evo actually singing – it’s just the sort of thing you’d expect from this prankster even in his old age!