Tyneside, England's Warfare arrived just in time to ride the final surge of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal phenomenon. Formed in 1984 by longtime scenester, singing drummer Paul Evo (just "Evo" to his friends), guitarist Gunner, and bassist Falken, Warfare immediately drew comparisons to the likes of Motörhead, Tank, and particularly Venom, with whose label, Neat, they duly signed. Working as fast as they played their instruments, the trio crammed their first year of activity with two EPs, Noise, Filth and Fury and Two Tribes (a mocking cover of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood hit), as well as their debut album, Pure Filth -- but then, they had yet to perform their first concert. So, after kicking 1985 off with yet another EP called Total Death, Warfare finally began gracing select audiences with their presence (sometimes adding Atomkraft drummer Ged Wolf so Evo could step out stage front), before re-entering the studio to record their sophomore effort with none other than Lemmy from Motörhead producing. Metal Anarchy arrived at year's end and Warfare were soon hard at work on album number three, having decided that touring was simply not as attractive as studio work. Unfortunately, bassist Falken felt differently and quit halfway through the sessions, prompting Venom's Cronos to lend a helping hand until a permanent replacement was found, this being the cleverly named Zlaughter.
Even before the album could be released, however, Warfare revoked their concert ban long enough to antagonize a few European audiences and pull off silly stunts like disrupting other bands' shows (namely Metallica). Neat Records was not amused, and waited for the dust to settle before releasing 1987's obnoxiously titled Mayhem Fuckin' Mayhem -- only to see another six months wasted as the band tried and failed to release a nasty cover of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love." Then, just when most observers had given them up for dead, Warfare proceeded to stun everyone with their revelatory fourth album, A Conflict of Hatred, which introduced keyboard player Lazer and a cluster of mature songwriting tricks that no one had even thought the band capable of. Consumers were equally impressed, and the album went on to become Neat's best-selling title ever, even out-performing more famous names like Venom and Raven. Not content to sit on their laurels, Warfare then threw another curveball by leaving their longtime label, partnering with soundtrack experts Hammer Film Music, and recording an album's worth of horror-movie themes, released in 1990 as the Hammer Horror album. Founding guitarist Gunner threw in his lot at this time, but Venom's Mantas chipped in for 2001's more conventionally metallic A Crescendo of Refections, after which Warfare finally decided to call it a career with, of all things, a live album entitled Deathcharge. 1993 saw the release of the Decade of Decibels compilation, and the more extensive Metal Anarchy: The Best of Warfare arrived ten years later. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
Jun 10 FridayLos Angeles, CA, US The Regent Theater