If there was a band that ever truly fit into the 80’s and Grunge, that would be a huge accomplishment. THE ALMIGHTY were about as close as they come. On their third album “Powertrippin’” they barely needed to make slight adjustments to go from a Hard Rockin’ 80’s Biker band to a Grungy Dark 90’s band.
It’s really quite impressive how frontman Ricky Warwick was able to pull this off without really changing their sound drastically. If anything the changes were more in the production. They still kept the catchy choruses, but just turned the distortion up a bit more and gave it a more dirty sound.
Granted, it didn’t propel them into the mainstream, they were more of a cult-status band already and “Powertrippin’” didn’t really change that, but they kept a sound that still sounds pretty timeless and fresh to this day.
They took on darker subject matters as the lead track “Addiction” would tell show. The title track and “Possession” are solid jams, “Lifeblood” is dark and heavy as they lean towards Danzig and Soundgarden territory.
What keeps them planted in the 80’s to some degree is their obvious love for rock and rock and big choruses with backing vocals. They’re a hard band to define unless you just strip it away and just call them a great Heavy Rock band, which is really what they are.
It’s hard to figure out why Scottish band THE ALMIGHTY didn’t achieve bigger international success, perhaps they were just between genre’s doing their own thing. They had a great cult following because they never really followed the trends and flavor of the week, but it also prevented them from mainstream success.
In 1994 their album “Crank” is similar to their previous album “Powertrippin’”, with perhaps a slight return to earlier material. The album is still pretty dark and heavy but The Almighty can’t help themselves from having a little “rock n’ roll” in the mix that even in their darker moments the music seems upbeat.
A song like “Ultraviolent” shouldn’t be “fun” but kind of it. The probably remind me more of a band like Skid Row than Soundgarden in that regard. Frontman Ricky Warwick has a more aggressive voice and avoids the high-pitched clean vocals, but as an 80’s fan myself I truly have always loved what THE ALMIGHTY does.
“Crank” is probably my favorite work from guitarist Pete Friesen too, he’s simply in attack mode and comes up with some amazing chops and tones. He’s a very underrated player with incredible feel and instincts.
The album is extremely consistent with no songs that are obvious singles. “Wrench” and “Jonestown Mind” were released. “Ultraviolent”, “Way Beyond Belief”, “The Unreal Thing” and “Crackdown” were strong too, there really isn’t a weak song or any let up in the 13 tracks.
Highly recommend “Crank” for anyone who like Hard music. THE ALMIGHTY should have gotten more attention, but most likely it came down to fitting them into some genre for marketing and to be honest, they don’t do labels.
THE ALBMIGHTY were on a terror in the early 90’s with three albums in just over three years, 1993’s “Powertrippin”, “Crank” in 1994 and finally “Just Add Life” in 1996. The last of the trilogy was perhaps the most diverse album with feel closer to THE CLASH and a return to some earlier punk influences.
The changes and overall sound aren’t drastic, but enough to give the albums some separation in sound. Ricky Warwick’s vocals were noticeably more gruff, he almost sounded like he voice has some wear and tear on some songs.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty fuel in the tank, “Look What Happened Tomorrow” was one example of their abilities to kick ass. The album as a whole is pretty strong, it’s just quite the level as “Crank” where they unleashed the hounds.
This album is closer to an Alternative/Grunge sound to and the furthest away from their 1991 album “Soul Destruction”. Musically guitarist Pete Friesen crushes it again, not quite as aggressive as “Crank” or “Powertrippin” but he’s expanded his horizons as well.
Even though the singles were near the beginning, I prefer the second half of this album where they got heavier, so if you’re not quite into the beginning give this one a chances, in typical fashion, THE ALMIGHTY don’t let up the entire album.