Sunday, May 19, 2013

Now Hear This: Warlord - Deliver Us


Click song titles for links!

     Warlord was a band shrouded in mystery, its four members known only as Destroyer, Thunderchild, Sentinel, and Damien King. We now know they were Bill Tsamis (guitar/bass), Mark Zorner (drums), Diane Kornarens (Keyboards), and Jack Ruckner (vocals). Ruckner had previously sung for legendary late seventies rockers Alkana, whose incredibly rare Welcome To My Paradise LP is highly regarded.

     Warlord didn't really fit in with the L.A. metal scene at the time but they found a fan in Metal Blade's Brian Slagel, who opted to include a track by the band on the second Metal Massacre compilation (which also featured songs by Armored Saint and Trauma featuring Cliff Burton). Warlord's contribution was a stunning song called "Lucifer's Hammer." It's a monster track: killer riffs, kamikaze drums, and an epic chorus. World famous power metallers HammerFall credit the song with inspiring the band's name ("the hammer will fall on you...").

     Brian Slagel liked Warlord so much he also gave them a spot on the third Metal Massacre compilation ("Mrs. Victoria") and that same year (1983) released an astonishing six song EP by the band called Deliver Us. The EP cost a mere $800 to record. All six songs are great, Warlord's Deliver Us is definitely one of my favorite heavy metal releases of the eighties. The EP opens (appropriately) with a haunting track called "Deliver Us From Evil." It's an amazing song, masterfully written and recorded, riffs and melody woven together perfectly. Up next is a beautiful song called "Winter's Tears." Very few metal bands in the eighties made music this atmospheric and charming. The third song on the EP is a driving basher called "Child of the Damned." Tsamis' riffs are almost as intense as the vocals and melody. The fourth track "Penny For A Poor Man" is a deceptively simplistic rocker with emotional depth. As fantastical and macabre as some of the band's themes appear to be on the surface the songs still come across as heartfelt and honest. Warlord truly treated heavy metal as an art form. Once you get past the unfortunate intro fifth song "Black Mass" is another mesmerizing piece of work. The EP ends with a new version of "Lucifer's Hammer" which is great but I prefer the Metal Massacre II version (see above).

     Unfortunately Jack Ruckner left the band not long after the Deliver Us EP was released and he was replaced by Texas native Rick Cunningham (billed as Damien King II). With Cunningham at the helm and a new bassist (guitarist Bill Tsamis had previously played the bass tracks on the band's recordings) called Archangel Warlord performed for an empty theater to record a "live" album released as And The Cannons of Destruction Have Begun. Also in 1984 the band released a 12 inch single featuring two new songs, "Lost and Lonely Days" and "Aliens."

     Metal Blade released a compilation called Best of Warlord in 1989 that included all of Deliver Us, "Mrs. Victoria," and the two single tracks, plus a couple of songs that were only on the "live" album. Tsamis resurrected the band name in 2012 and started releasing new music.

     You can download a remastered version of Deliver Us HERE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

His name is Jack Rucker, not Ruckner.

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