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THE ALMIGHTY - Dudley JB's - 15 October 2000   Print  E-mail 
Written by Graham Reed  
Saturday, 08 May 2004

Four years ago, The Almighty split up. Now they're back, by the law of diminishing returns, with a new line up. With minimal support and minimal publicity, in a much changed musical climate, one where many of their contemporaries have faded away and split in indifference.......

On the basis of tonight's showing, the Almighty can easily stand their own with any of the UK metal acts around thanks due to the sheer strength of their material. I now know where 3 Colours Red and the criminally ignored "A" learnt their tricks, and the Almighty deserve better than this turnout. Though there's about 400 people in here, with minimal support and publicity, its clear that most of the mainly 30 something audience have clearly come to hear the oldies they know and cherish, for a trip down memory lane It's a move that The Almighty are boxed in by, having to play to their fans who know exactly what they want to hear yet not attracting many new fans due to their minimal profile. Which is a real shame, because they remain a vital and potent band, despite their current situation.

Its an odd blast of nostalgia, tonight. They open with their cockrock anthem "Free and Easy", as much to get the song finally out of the way as anything else. At the same time it's a recognition that they are giving the fans something they expect. Its almost as if they are embarrassed to be playing it when so much of their current material is light years away from that time, thematically and musically. The first new song of the night "I'm in Love with Revenge" is a prime time slab of ramoneseque punk riffola and Ricky Warwicks much loved Ruts. The band sound more vibrant and alive in their material than any of their old songs, with their newer songs just going to show that the band continue to improve and show how pale much of their older (pre 93) material is. The next up "Sin Against the Light" comes nowhere near the savage punch of the newer material, coming across as flabby and out of touch.

By the time "All Sussed Out" has intoned, with its skaesque riffs and rhythm, Its clear that the small pit in front of the stage will be increasingly bigger throughout the night. "I want to see every head in this place moving for the next one" intones singer Ricky Warwick in his broad Irish voice before the maelstrom of "Addiction" kicks in. His voice shows he clearly been living in his naturalised Ireland in the last few years (rather than London or Scotland as has been the case before), and the cocky, arrogant Ricky Warwick is gone, coming across as more calm, measured, humbled, reasoned, but none the less into the music. This man lives breathes and sleeps rock incarnate. The passion hasn't gone away, he spits his words with venom and anger.

Drummer Stumpy pounds the hell out of his drumkit like he is possessed by John Bonham, never missing a beat but lacking the subtlety of someone who hits things for a living.. Floyd London, now resembling Steffan out of Placebo with his shaven hair, is clearly enjoying himself as much as Ricky, the fire in his eyes still burning. New guitarist Nick Parsons looks oddly out of place, and his sound is thin, weedy and a definite weak link, despite him contributing much of the standout material on the current album.

One of the definite highlights of the night is the opening track on the new album "Broken Machine" , possessing a groove somewhere between Metallica's "Sad but True" and Ministry, chock full of melody and aggression,. And a fine pointer to their continued intent and vitality. "la Cuespa", anemic on record, is savage live again. However, the low points are when the almighty revert back to playing what is expected of them ,like "Crucify", trying not to alienate their fans at the same time as doing something new. With an ending of the predictable "Wild and Wonderful", followed by a two song encore finishing with a rapturously received version of the Sex Pistols "Bodies".

The Almighty clearly are enjoying themselves on stage, but find themselves stuck between musical stagnation, giving the fans what they expect with vast chunks of newer material, or plowing their own way with their punkier, more hardcore material - like a cross between The Ruts, The Stooges, every slick 50s rock and rock act fucked up on speed and crystal meth , and Sick Of It All or Biohazard in their "frankly my dear, I couldn't give a damn "attitude. Unfortunately, at this rate it might not be long until no one else gives a damn either......

Did they reform for the money?  Doubtful. There isn't any.But instead they put together some new songs, and it shows, and they show exactly where 3 Colours Red and "A" copied all their good ideas from. The new songs show where their future lies, not their past, and its up to The Almighty to decide what they want to do. If their fans let them, they will grow into one of the most important British metal acts of the past 20 years. If not, they will descend into cabaret. The choice is out there.




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