Battlezone-Killers In The Battlezone

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: July, 2022
Released: 2022, HNE/Cherry Red
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: JP


You have to admire the tenacity of Paul Di’Anno. On the surface one might think that he has parlayed his 15 minutes of fame with Iron Maiden into a long and rather uninspired career; a discography littered with indistinct and unremarkable live and/or compilation albums (at least 15 to date by my count) largely populated by Iron Maiden cover tunes. However real fans know better. He is a musical chameleon, reinventing himself several times with Battlezone, Killers and solo albums. My personal favourite is his 2000 solo album called NOMAD where he basically hired a bunch of Power Metal guys in Brazil where he was living at the time. However, I think most fans would say that, post-Maiden his most successful and accomplished efforts were the first two Battlezone albums. Let’s not discuss the third Battlezone album which was a part of his Pantera phase, and more on that later.

The brace of Battlezone albums (FIGHTING BACK,1986 and CHILDREN OF MADENESS, 1987) were smart. They were too heavy to lumped in with mid-80’s glam scene yet modern enough to step away from then tired NWOBHM sounds. They sounded vibrant and energetic. They still do. They had good production value and good playing and solid vocals on the part of Di’Anno. They are collected in this 3 CD set housed in a nice clamshell box that has a 20-page, full colour booklet loaded with phots and a nice essay from John Tucker who seems to be the go-to guy for commentary on these sorts of reissues. HNE has done a great job as always on this affordable set.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure how necessary this box-set is. The first two ‘classic’ Battlezone albums have been previously reissued about seven times each even as recently as 2021! Focusing on the positive, you get a good quality presentation and great essay, liner notes booklet, but with no rare or unreleased material is that enough to carry it? Personally, I’m chuffed to have these albums on CD now but a die-hard Battlezone guy/gal might not see the immediate value, unless they buy everything the band ever did/does.

I may across as too critical but I am really perplexed about the inclusion of the ‘bonus’ disc. Ostensibly, this is a box-set of Battlezone. So why is there a live of the band Killers included? Well, on the surface one might say, ‘Well it’s Paul Di’Anno!” Fair enough, however, Battlezone and Killers were too completely distinct bands. Killers, formed in 1992, five years after the demise of Battlezone, were on a different record label and had a completely different line-up. This is when Paul was struggling to reinvent himself and was going through his ill-advised, unfortunate, unwanted and ill-fated Pantera phase.

The live album itself is a bit underwhelming with 11 songs; four Maiden cover tunes and four tracks from Killer’s debut album MURDER ONE and three songs from their second album MENACE TO SOCIETY. Not a single Battlezone song! It seems to have been one of those contractual obligation things. Therefore, I question, not unfairly, why is this even in this box-set? The live album LIVE AT THE WHISKEY came out with little or no fanfare back in 2001. In the liner notes, even John Tucker admits no one really knows when this was recorded, presumably in late 1994 or even early 1995, unless the band was showcasing the three new songs from the forthcoming MENACE TO SOCIETY, in that case it could have been as early as the summer of 1994. All that trivia and grumbling aside, it is actually a pretty fierce little live album! If you don’t own it, it is nice to have here, even if it is out of place.

The timing is pretty good with Di’Anno making a recent media resurgence with news of his surgery and new musical project, so they might as well strike while the iron is hot.


Track Listing:

DISC ONE:

Fighting Back (1986)
1 (Forever) Fighting Back
2 Welcome To The Battlezone
3 Warchild
4 In The Darkness
5 The Land God Gave To Caine
6 Running Blind
7 Too Much Heart
8 Voice On The Radio
9 Welfare Warriors
10 Feel The Rock Bonus track
11 Rising Star (from Warchild)

DISC TWO:

Children Of Madness (1987)
1 Rip It Up
2 I Don’t Wanna Know
3 Nuclear Breakdown
4 Torch Of Hate
5 Whispered Rage
6 Children Of Madness
7 Metal Tears
8 It’s Love
9 Overloaded
10 The Promise
Bonus tracks
11 To The Limit (Japanese Exclusive Track)
12 Drawn Under (from Elementals)

DISC THREE:

Killers: Live At The Whisky (2000)
1 Impaler
2 Wrathchild
3 A Song For You
4 Marshall Lokjaw
5 Children Of The Revolution
6 Three Words
7 Protector
8 Die By The Gun
9 Remember Tomorrow
10 Phantom Of The Opera
11 Sanctuary


www.cherryred.co.uk/product/paul-diannos-battlezone-killers-in-the-battlezone-1986-2000-3cd-box-set/