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Paul Di'Anno's Battlezone - 'Fighting Back' / 'Children Of Madness' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/17/23/6c/1272_pauldiannosbattlezonefightingbackchildrenofmadness_1305910607.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 20, 2011    
 
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A good compilation, and one well worth investigating.

The trouble with Paul Di'Anno's post Iron Maiden career is that he's never really settled to anything. His first solo outing following Maiden's now largely-rehabilitated 'Killers' was a soft-rock pick-and-mix which suited neither his voice nor his fans, followed by the Gogmagog fiasco. Battlezone came next, then Killers, then various attempts to capitalise on his Iron Maiden past , and all the while he was morphing from the frontman Geoff Barton described with "roughly hewn stable-lad charm" to an Uzi-toting loony who's now been up before the beak for benefit fraud. The only real consistency to his career has been truly bad hair.

Battlezone date from the mid-Eighties mullet era. The band cut just two albums which were released within twelve months of each other (the debut coming out in July 1986 and 'Children…' the following June) and which show just how creative and exciting Di'Anno de singer could be when he put his mind to it. Not that this is actually the two albums on one CD though. Some slapdash research went into this project, and this release is actually a re-issue of 'Warchild – The Best Of' banged out by Powerstation Records in 1988 and featuring six tracks (out of ten) from the first album, nine (again out of ten) from the second and two songs unreleased in the UK at that time: 'Rising Star' and 'To The Limit'.

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But don't let that spoil the party. To my mind, this compilation showcases pretty much the best of Di'Anno de solo career. 'Fighting Back features some really great British metal , as evidenced here by the likes of the opening title cut and 'Warchild', and the seven-plus minutes of 'The Land God Gave To Caine' is as epic as they make 'em and pretty much the equal of any early Maiden classic. On its release though it did sound dated – classic NWOBHM long after the horse had bolted – and if you put it in the ring alongside what Maiden was doing at the time it would take a pounding. As such, it was criminally under-rated. It did however get Battlezone to America, where Di'Anno soaked up a lot of new influences and 'Children Of Madness' featured a new-look band and a sound not unlike the proto-progressive metal of Crimson Glory, Fates Warning and/or Queensrÿche – check out 'Metal Tears' (no, really, it is called that!) and you'll hear a song which could easily sit on Seattle's finest's 'Rage For Order'.

A good compilation, and one well worth investigating. And the timing of the release is great as if Di'Anno does get sent down, the royalties might come in useful. No more 'Running Free' for a while, eh Paul?

John Tucker

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