Review: Warrior Soul – Out On Bail
Livewire / Cargo Records UK (March 4th, 2022)
Reviewer: Chris O’Connor
He’s Back! Kory f***ing Clarke! I have an inordinate amount of time for the fiery vocalist, he is a genuine Rock ‘n’ Roll icon, there’s nothing fake or manufactured about him, he would rather die. Here’s. a true Kory story for you as an illustration …
Back in the early 2000’s, I ran a radio station broadcasting from Tamworth in Staffordshire, and I’d do an 11am-2pm slot, I managed to get Kory and his then band – Dirty Rig – to come to my studio to do an interview and he and his guitarist were going to do a live session too. So, they arrived at 10.30 and literally FELL out of their PR girl’s car … totally drunk, and I mean DRUNK! Despite drinking with both hands throughout the interview, Kory was an absolute star, funny as hell, indiscreet, blunt as blunt gets – and then the pair delivered a cracking four song set live. They then went off with the poor long-suffering PR girl and vanished into god alone knows where.
Kory is a proper star, make no mistake, I have always loved his music, and i always will. So offered the chance to review the latest Warrior Soul? You couldn’t stop me – bring it on! So, here we are in 2022 and Mr Clarke is back with this completely sh*t kicking new studio album, only two years on from the ‘Cocaine & Other Good Stuff’ release (which was an album of cover versions – as a result of which, I may never see KC & The Sunshine Band in the same light again!).
From the off, it is a furious, ragged, raging, heartfelt as f*** rock ‘n’ roll album, bristling with bad attitude, and unashamed contempt for the world we find ourselves living in. Kory has always been an outspoken and intelligent lyricist – and that is immediately evident here. As ever he has a lot to say and holds back nothing as he roars his vehemence at the world. This is rock ‘n’ roll at its ragged edge, with the man at his most punk ‘n’ belligerent.
Mournful choral chanting and doleful church bells ringing quickly give way to the incendiary ‘We’re Alive’ led by a frantic riff courtesy of guitarist Dennis ‘El Guapo’ Post, with Kory howling the lyric with breathless and abrasive rancour. It must be said that Kory’s voice sounds increasingly ‘60 cigarettes a day a whisky soaked’ these days, but in many ways, this suits the music perfectly. ‘One More For The Road’ is a hip shaking, grooving beast with a stuttering riff, and a pounding rhythm laid down by bass guitarist Christian Kimmett and drummer (yes he drums too on this song) Kory. His voice almost sounds like it might give out but never does, he roars with such wrath … it amazes me he can keep it up.
‘Hip Hip Hurray’ is raggedly joyous affair, drummer John Besser driving the song furiously. It’s also a furiously political number, with Kory railing again the last American Presidunce and the corrupt Republican party. ‘Out On Bail’ is a strutting rocker with a sledgehammer riff and a grinding rhythm, with Kory belting out the lyrics with absolute defiant glee. Why do I feel this is something he has lived through more than once?
‘Cancelled Culture’? I wonder what that could be about? Kory of course is notoriously outspoken, and here he gives full flight to his rage at the appalling politically correct world we currently live in, spitting venom like a tormented cobra. ‘End Of The World’ slows things down, with a pace and feel that is almost Stoner/Doom. There is a sense of resigned bewilderment to this song lyrically, it’s genuinely haunting. ‘Yoyo’ is four and a half minutes of pure ragged fury, Kory railing as only he can. The song is relentless, the band locks into a groove and stays there, refusing to let the intensity go even for a second.
Album coda ‘The New Paradigm’ is the closest the band gets to sounding like the original line-up. It’s a song that could easily have come from ‘Last Decade Dead Century’, ‘Drugs, God And The New Republic’ or ‘Salutations From The Ghetto Nations’. The initial feel of the song is almost subtle before the band slams the rest into glorious submission. It’s intoxicating stuff. This is a short sharp shock of an album, self-produced by Messrs Clarke and Post, with Kory and his band of not so merry men giving no quarter and taking no prisoners. Love him or hate him – Kory simply won’t care, and this album is exactly what is called for in these f***ed up times! Glorious!