WEAPON UK – Rising From The Ashes (2014)
WEAPON UK were formed at the very end of the seventies, got a deal from Virgin, had a double sided single released and most notably supported Motorhead on a 32 date UK tour in the days when tour meant tour. A full LP was recorded, but the label decided not to release the album… the group broke up, and all the members headed off in different directions.
Success was found with Wildfire, Statetrooper and Paddy Goes To Holyhead for some of them whilst drummer Bruce Bisland found a degree of major fame as part of NWOBHM supergroups with Paul DiAnno and other ex members of bands like Praying Mantis, before joining with the reformed glam legends The Sweet.
Nothing more was heard from Weapon until 2005 when they regrouped to celebrate what would have been their 25th anniversary. A few gigs and rave reviews later, material written for a new album, and slight line-up changes Weapon went at it full throttle.
So to 2014 and the long awaited album, the very aptly named “Rising From The Ashes”, has been released yesterday.
Although born in the NWOBHM years, the current incarnation of Weapon UK – featuring original members vocalist Danny Hynes and guitarist Jeff Summers joined by drummer Ian Sweeting and bassist PJ Philips – musically goes for Classic Hard Rock with British & American influences and a bright melodic sound.
The album starts with a synth based intro with “Prelude – The Awakening” leading perfectly into the first full length track “Ride The Mariah!”, an instantly ‘attention grabber’ driven by a classic guitar groove and thundering drums, falling perfectly into harmony as the vocals hit. Catchy melody, great chorus hook, refrain leading to screaming guitar solo. The end of the song is actually one of the cleverest and most enjoyable parts – so often a time filling exercise in repetition. This time though it is full of melodic interplay between vocals and guitar, drums and bass giving them both a boot up the jacksy from behind. Great stuff indeed.
Then “Fountain Of Paradise” reminds me of classic Motley Crue (Dr. Feelgod era) or David Lee Roth Skyscraper years. Its got that crazy L.A. guitar hair metal sound, anthemic and with a rich production. Guitarist Jeff Summers (he is the main songwriter on the album) does seem to have a thing about sticky fingers in this one.
“Warrior” has some nice basswork in the mix, one of those stop start type of songs, great backing vocals match the perfect lead vocal delivery, add to this a stunning riff heavy solo and you have a truly outstanding song filled with melody.
Next one out the gate is “Ready 4 U”, a radio-friendly cut with a commercial and catchy melody in the vein of say Bon Jovi or old school Bryan Adams. If this was released as a single i would think it would gain major airplay.
FX samples greets the beginning of “Burning Skies”, a track with a different approach to what has come before, a little darker yet uplifting musically, filled with tales of doom yet strangely inspiring. Musically a very well written track, plenty of scorching guitar, pummelling drums and bass with vocals on top of it giving gravitas to proceedings.
“Alamein” is the ballad on the album, acoustically based, with awesome production values, lots of harmonic and backing vocals and emotional leads by singer Danny Hynes. If you want a comparison, think a little touch of White Lion’s classic When The Children Cry, especially in the early part of the song.
“Wonderland” returns to the kick-ass sound, a meaty hard rocker with a marauding rhythm section really belting this one along, cool and injection fuelled guitar riff, vocals banging out the melody throughout. Throw in a cool refrain, widdling overload on the guitar solo and you have a diamond track.
Kind of back in that early Bon Jovi anthemic shout it out loud sound is “Blood Soaked Rock”. Another quality song packed full with melody, memorable riffs and powerful rhythm beat behind it all. This one has ‘single’ written all over it, ready for Rock Radio and to blast your car stereo.
“Bad Reputation” is not a cover of Joan Jetts classic nor Thin Lizzy’s song, this is another American sounding hard rocker with the backing vocals give the song a sing-a-long feel.
The final track is “Celebration Time” and it’s another well produced radio friendly rocker with solid harmonies,
starting off with some cool fret sliding madness from Mr Summers before the rest of the quartet join in and he loses control of his fingers again at the end of the impressive guitar solo to very good effect.
“Killer Instinct” is presented as bonus track, because features all four of the original members – they have stayed friends through the years and it was only through misfortune that they couldn’t all do the whole album.
I wondered if it would be old school NWOBHM but actually it reminds me of The Sweet in their heavier moments, perhaps not surprising with Bruce Bisland on drums. The intro is a great way to showcase the other two originals leading seamlessly into the track, bludgeoning guitar at the fore although never overpowering the rest of the band, more melodic vocals and hook.
“Rising From The Ashes” by Weapon UK is some kind of a welcomed surprise.
This is not a band trying to rehash or re-create their old NWOBHM days, instead they wisely opted for create a solid, mature Classic Hard Rock album that reflects all the member’s influences watered through these years.
Believe me, Weapon UK sounds terrific, melodic, sharp and hard rockin’, blending classic British & American ’80s / ’90s Hard Rock with class.
01 – The Awakening (Prelude)
02 – Ride The Mariah!
03 – Fountain Of Paradise
04 – Warrior
05 – Ready 4 U
06 – Burning Skies
07 – Alamein
08 – Wonderland
09 – Bloodsoaked Rock
10 – Bad Reputation
11 – Celebration Time
12 – Killer Instinct (bonus track)
Danny Hynes (Vocals)
Jeff Summers (Guitar, Vocals)
PJ Phillips (Bass, Vocals)
Ian Sweeting (Drums)
Roy Shipston (Keyboards – Track 7)
Baz Downes (Bass, Vocals – Track 12)
Bruce Bisland (Drums – Track 12)
BUY IT !