ALBUM REVIEWS


The Almighty
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO…
SANCTUARY 4.02.07
@www.vanguard-online.co.uk


Though their efforts may appear miniscule compared with today’s arena-packers such as Muse and Lost Prophets, there was a time – 1993, to be precise – when the Almighty were serious contenders to the Brit Rock throne. Third album ‘Powertrippin’ was a Top 5 success and the fact they were a face-melting live act was not lost on metal royalty, Iron Maiden and Metallica, who took them on as a support act. A pity their record label at the time decided to chuck the proverbial spanner in the works by dropping them whilst they were on an upwards trajectory. The Almighty’s career never truly recovered and this comprehensive collection hints at what could have been had they been shown a little more faith.

The Almighty’s early singles are spunky, entertaining affairs but, with lyrics that invariably go along the lines of ‘love is my religion, baby’, there’s a suspect whiff of Zodiac Mindwarp about them. The AC/DC-tinged ‘Free & Easy’, their first top 40 hit, remains the best of their formative years, whilst the biker blues of ‘Little Lost Sometimes’ is the closest the Almighty ever got a ballad. .

In between second album ‘Soul Destruction’ and ‘Powertrippin’, grunge happened and, although the Almighty didn’t admit it as such, the sudden shift in musical climate brought about a couple of noticeable alterations in their sound. On ‘Addiction’ especially, they employed a heavier sound with guitars downtuned accordingly. Despite a few faint cries of bandwagon hopping from some long-time fans, most agreed the new slightly downbeat Almighty were a much-improved model. But it was also widely agreed that the Almighty’s studio output was no match for their ear-splitting gigs. .

The plodding ‘Wrench’ aside, the Almighty’s later efforts were the closest they got to capturing their onstage power on record. ‘Jonestown Mind’, featuring Therapy?’s Andy Cairns on backing vocals remains the Almighty’s greatest three minutes, finally perfecting the punk/metal hybrid they had worked so long and hard at. By the time of ‘All Sussed Out’, an unlikely detour into horn-driven pop-rock, the Almighty’s grebo days were all but a distant memory. A good thing, but their shot at the big time had passed by this point and the Almighty called it a day soon after. .

‘The Gospel According To…’ is a fine trip down memory lane for those who were there first time around, although newcomers would be best advised to check out their reunion shows for the Almighty experience, so to speak.


Ross Halewood