The past few years have been good for Ricky Warwick. Fronting Thin Lizzy in place of Phil Lynott is a tough job that Warwick has handled well. And in Black Star Riders, the offshoot of Lizzy, he’s found the perfect niche – as both a charismatic frontman and, importantly, as a songwriter.
In this sense, for Warwick, Black Star Riders is the best band he’s been in since the one in which he first made his name: The Almighty, aka The Al-fuckin’-mighty.
Formed in 1988 in Glasgow, where Northern Ireland-born Warwick had lived since his teens, The Almighty’s sound was as tough as the city itself. It made them, alongside Wolfsbane, the best British metal band of their time.
Debut album Blood, Fire & Love (7⁄10), released in 1989, was precisely the kind of balls-out statement a band named The Almighty had to make. There were echoes of The Cult’s Electric in the riffing of Power, the rattle of Motörhead in Destroyed.
And if Warwick was all machismo on Full Force Lovin’ Machine, there was a genuine pop sensibility in Wild & Wonderful, and an emotional depth to the album’s title track, with Warwick crooning like Jim Morrison.
1991 follow-up Soul Destruction (6⁄10) was a consolidation: Crucify the heavy-hitting opening shot, Free ’N’ Easy the anthem, Little Lost Sometimes the existentialist ballad.
Warwick would subsequently remodel the band’s sound for the alternative rock era, but it was in these early years that The Al-fuckin’-mighty were at their absolute fuckin’ best./o:p