Best of Warlord

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Best of Warlord greatly simplifies the Los Angeles group's convoluted discography by sorting the best versions (subject to opinion, of course) of 13 cuts culled from their 1983 mini-album, Deliver Us, their "live" 1984 follow-up, And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun, and their final 1986 testament, Thy Kingdom Come. It also reveals retrospectively that Warlord's limited success had less to do with inferior talent than unsatisfying production values to represent the band's stadium-sized British metal-styled songwriting. Indeed, the vocals of Jack Rucker and Rick Cunningham are often flat and echoey, Bill Tsamis' guitars and Mark Zonder's drums less assertive than one would like, and the added dimension provided by Diane Arens' keyboards is usually left unfulfilled by their burial in the overall mix. And still, the abounding inspiration behind such highlights as "Deliver Us from Evil," "Penny for a Poor Man," "Lucifer's Hammer," and "Child of the Damned" will occasionally shine through the murk and help explain why Warlord was once considered as promising an entity on the L.A. metal scene as Slayer or Armored Saint. In the end, this doesn't mean the band is required listening for just anyone -- not even just any metal head, actually -- but for metal enthusiasts who invested any amount of stock into the revolutionary early-'80s southern California metal scene, Warlord's contributions and quiet influence on future bands remain palpable, and worthy of further discovery.

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