Album Retrospective

Therapy? Part 2

So, 2001 apparently saw me fall out of love with Therapy? Except it didn’t, as a wee investigation saw that Shameless wasn’t the last album I bought, indeed it appears that Part 1 saw my album numbering going a bit awry and there was a hint of repetition… rather unprofessional of me. However, the fact I was falling out of love slowly with the band made sense, as the evolution in my taste in music hadn’t quite reached its Zenith. In short, though, the band’s time rotating at the top of my playlist was fading fast. Their last 2 albums hadn’t hit me in the way I would have hoped, but time changes everything and so does a phoenix rising from the flames.

High Anxiety was, ahem, the last Therapy? album that I bought! It appears that this album did not have a massive impact on me, as I couldn’t remember owning it. Fortunately, upon the retrospective re-listen, I realised that it had a handful of real bangers where I remembered a decent amount of lyrics. ‘Hey Satan, you rock’ is a great intro to an album. It sets a tone that, unfortunately, the band doesn’t maintain. Another top drawer song is, ‘If it Kills me’, another banger. It’s a decent album, just not from the top-drawer. This was the first album with the new drummer, Neil Coooper and, unfortunately, the last with Martin McCarrick. Therapy? was once again back at their fighting weight as a 3-piece.   6/10

I then utterly lost contact with the band, leaving them behind, never to return? Well, I did return to them but I had a few albums to catch up on.

The first of these was the band’s 8th album, Never Apologise, Never Explain. Rather disappointingly, this album is not fully available on streaming services and, as I do not own it, I have struggled to listen to the whole album. This means that it is rather unfair to try and rate this….. but I will!  The album saw the band move back to a punkier sound, probably as part of being a 3 piece. This allows the band to be a bit riskier, with the album having a fair few good tracks, including, ‘Here be Monsters’, ‘So Called Life’ and ‘Save the Sermon’. Was I wrong to give up on the band?  6/10

This retrospective gave me the opportunity to listen to album no.9, One Cure Fits All. I was incredibly surprised by the strong start this album has. In fact, the consistency of the album has almost made me regret giving up on them when I did. This is a proper fist pumping album, with a couple of superb songs. ‘Dopamine, Serotonin, Adrenaline’ stands head and should above the rest of the tracks, with, ‘Unconsoled’ running it a close second. 7/10

2009 sees Crooked Timber released, this time on a new record label Demolition Records. Yet again, the boys move away from the sound of their previous album. By now it should be clear that Therapy? are a band who will also grow, always develop their sound and, most importantly, do it on their own terms. Again, I listened to this as part of the retrospective and I was impressed. The albums title track has a supremely catchy, head nodding riff that is utterly catchy and has you humming for days. Another track, ‘I Told you I was ill’ has a jagged riff, again sitting in your head for ages. It’s superb. Crooked Timber is an album that confirms I was wrong to stop listening and is a gateway to the subsequent reinforcement that follows.  7/10

A Brief Crack of Light was released in 2012, after a brief delay. This isn’t your typical Therapy? album, perhaps because of the disjointed recording sessions. It has, yet again, a different sound and is a little bit hit and miss. ‘Plague Bell’ is a superb song, its genuinely enjoyable. However, ‘The Buzzing’ isn’t. It a disappointing song, but it does not stop the album from being very intriguing, and it is this intrigue that ultimately makes the album quite enjoyable. 7/10

2015 saw me reconnect with Therapy? for the first time in over a decade. I can’t remember the reason why I was prompted to listen to it, but I recall being on a train home from work deciding to listen to the album on a popular streaming platform. I was utterly gobsmacked at how good Disquiet was. I could not believe how hungry the band were, and my immediate thoughts were how much Cooper had reinvigorated the band – he is a top-class drummer – and how much fun the band appears to be having. It is a reminder of the bands glory days and I listened to this album time and time again… before ultimately moving on again as albums poured in for review and taking up my time.  7/10

2018 saw the last Therapy? release, entitle Cleave. Originally available for pre-order through the ill-fated Pledge platform, the album was ultimately released on a new label, Marshall Records. It is interesting to note that the band went back to Chris Sheldon for the production. Sheldon was responsible for the production of ‘Troublegum’ and ‘Semi-Detached’. This is perhaps how Cairns’ voice sounds immense, with the band sounding incredibly mature. Cleave is the sound of a band who have rediscovered themselves. That said, all bets are off for the direction Therapy? head of to next. I for one cannot wait and I so chuffed to have rediscovered a band I adored in the 90’s. 8/10

Of all the bands that disappeared from my life, Therapy? are perhaps the one that got away. I have barely seen them live, I have not given them any money for merch/albums for years and yet I call myself a fan. This is something I shall have to remedy!

Album Ranking

  1. Suicide Pact – You First
  2. Troublegum
  3. Cleave
  4. Infernal Love
  5. Disquiet
  6. Semi-Detached
  7. Crooked Timber
  8. A Brief Crack of Light
  9. One Cure Fits All
  10. High Anxiety
  11. Never Apologise, Never Explain
  12. Nurse
Album Retrospective

The Almighty were a Scottish band, forming back in 1988. Over a 12 year period, they released 7 studio albums, with line-up changes throughout their career. Only Ricky Warwick and Stumpy Munroe remained a constant throughout.

The Almighty’s importance to me and my journey through heavy metal can and should not be underestimated. In the late 80’s/early 90’s, I listened to the ‘Mega’ bands, such as Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Guns n’ Roses and Bon Jovi. The Almighty were the first ‘small’ band that hooked me. This wasn’t a band that played arenas or stadiums. This was a hard-working, hard-rocking band who built themselves a fan-base that still supports frontman, Ricky Warwick, to this day.

Being a fan of The Almighty has nearly gotten me into a fight, upset my wife and taught me that bigger name bands are not necessarily better bands.

Please welcome Retrospective #4, The Almighty.

Album Retrospective – The Almighty.

In 1989, Blood Fire and Love was released via Polydor records and it was a bit of a banger! Full to the brim of anthems, it was an introduction that bands dream of. From the opening track, ‘Resurrection Mutha’ it grabs you and doesn’t let go. Even when it slows things down, with the title track especially, it turns things up to 11 with other tracks.  To this day, I still sing ‘Full Force Loving Machine’ and ‘Wild and Wonderful’ in my head. In fact, I still own a ‘Wild and Wonderful’ t-shirt that is slightly worse for wear. My wife is disgusted that I have not thrown this out, but hey, ‘I’ve taken all that I can from the skies up above, don’t believe in God but I do believe in love…..’.

This t-shirt lost its sleeves in the mid 90s.

On a journey in a van from England to Scotland in 1991/92, I can’t quite remember, it was getting late in the evening and there was a rock show on a Scottish radio station. They were counting down a list of Scottish Rock/Metal bands and this was the first time I ever heard The Almighty. ‘Free n’ Easy’ was the song and it was taken from the, nothing short of superbsophomore album, Soul Destruction. I was hooked.  Immediately, unabashedly, complete and utterly.

Free n Easy

Again, Soul Destruction was a mixture of Hard Rock songs, with a smattering of slow songs, such as ‘Little Lost Sometimes’. Again, it is full of anthemic bangers, ‘Crucify’, ‘Devil’s Toy and the aforementioned, ‘Free n’ Easy’ are proper headnodders!  The Almighty were on their way. World domination beckoned….. then lead guitarist, Tantrum, was no longer in the band.

Tantrum was replaced by the, ‘star of Waynes World and Canadian Club Whiskey’, Pete Friesen. Friesen was Alice Cooper’s guitarist and so he had a bit of pedigree. I remember reading a Kerrang! interview with Ricky Warwick, where he waxed-lyrical about the technical know-how of Friesen with regards to guitar tuning. It was also around this time that I saw The Almighty for the very first time, at Donington Monsters of Rock 1992. My abiding memory of that day was that it was very wet, but it didn’t rain on The Almighty’s opening set.


The band premiered a new song from the upcoming new album, ‘Addiction’. I was blown away with how heavy it was, and how radical a change it was from songs on the previous 2 albums. Friesen obviously had an impact on the upcoming album and I was gutted to have to wait over 6 months, it wasn’t released until April 1993 to get my grubby little hands on it.  I bought it on cassette, and I still have it to this day. To my everlasting joy, my version of Powertrippin’ also has the ‘bonus’ Donington live set on there.

Powertrippin’ has a different sound to it, it still features the trademark ‘slower’ songs, but it came out at the beginning of the ‘Grunge’ era, and the sound of the album is more akin to that than the previous hard rock from before. It is all the better for it. This is an album that is well worth an hour or so of your time.

In 1994. The Almighty changed record labels, and again there was a slight evolution of their sound. I remember buying this on the Saturday of its release, putting the cassette in my car stereo, driving home and, as I ejected the cassette, it caught in the stereo and the tape snapped. I immediately turned on the engine, drove back to the shops and bought a 2nd copy.  It is worth it Crank is their 4th album and it is cracking. ‘Wrench’, ‘Jonestown Mind’ and ‘Crank and Deceit’ dominate a very good album. One of the funnier album reviews appeared in a UK newspaper, I forget which one, but it would appear the song, ‘Crank and Deceipt’ scared the reviewer a little, as he criticised the song as being, ‘expletive laden’ and gave it a very low review.  The Almighty were not made for pop music reviewers.

It was this album that nearly got me into a fight, or more specifically, my ‘Jonestown Mind’ t-shirt, complete with the lyrics, ‘You’re the Jesus that didn’t get nailed’ emblazoned on the back. In a bar in Leicester, I was wearing this t-shirt when I got a tap on the shoulder with an older Gentleman who proceeded to tell me how offensive he found my t-shirt and explain what would happen if I didn’t take it off…….. instead a debate ensued around the lyrical content of the song and we parted with no aggression.  Happy days!

In 1996, The Almighty released their 5th album, Just Add Life. Again, there was a slight evolution in their music, this time with Horns being added to some of the tracks.  In truth, it works more than expected. ‘All Sussed Out’ is a fine song, full of quotable lyrics (“You can’t fight the power, if you ain’t got the power to fight”). It is another strong album for the boys, but alas, it marked the end of phase one of the band.  Our intrepid heroes had attempted to break into the US Market earlier in their career, but to no avail, and, despite never having dropped the ball with the quality of music, they decided to call it a day and it was over.

All Sussed Out

Except it wasn’t. In 2000, the band reformed with Nick Parsons replacing Pete Friesen on guitar and the eponymous 6th album was released. I was genuinely excited when I read that a new album was coming out and immediately bought it on CD. I wouldn’t say that the album disappointed me, it has a handful of excellent tracks, ‘Broken Machine’ and ‘USAK 47’ totally hit the mark, closely followed by ‘White Anger Comedown’ and ‘I’m in Love (with Revenge), but for me, some of the old magic was gone. It didn’t have the same feel about it as the pre-split albums and it still has the feeling that The Almighty had lost their mojo.

The band then followed up with the 7th and, so far, final studio album in 2001, the quickest time between releases in the bands history. A new bassist was introduced, Gav Gray, replacing founder member, Floyd London. Psycho Narco was the name of the album and to this day, it remains the album I have listened to the least. Even on this retrospective, it is an album that just doesn’t excite me in the same way their earlier albums did. Perhaps this is because of my ever evolving musical taste, but perhaps it was because Ricky had outgrown the style of music that The Almighty had developed. It is no coincidence that his first proper solo album was an acoustic album. I may be guessing, but perhaps both Ricky and myself moved away from The Almighty at a similar time.

It was an absolute joy for me to listen to these albums again, for the first time in many years and it is somewhat disconcerting the sheer amount of lyrics I remembered and could sing along to. Below is my ranking of these albums and I would urge you to check them out if you can and let me know your thoughts.

Album Ranking

  1. Soul Destruction
  2. Crank
  3. Powertrippin’
  4. Blood Fire and Love
  5. Just Add Life
  6. The Almighty
  7. Psycho Narco
  • Find out more – Check out ‘Blood Fire and Live’, released prior to Soul Destruction
  • Off the beaten track – Track down a copy of (Sic) – Eyeball Kicks EP for Ricky Warwick’s early solo material after the split of the band in 1996