Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Paul Di'Anno's Killers ~ Murder One

(Click to visit official Paul Di'Anno website)
Style: heavy metal, British
Label: BMG
Year: 1992
Home: n/a (disbanded)

Members: Paul Di'Anno ~ vocals
Cliff Evans ~ guitar
Nick Burr ~ guitar/b. vocals
Gavin Cooper ~ bass
Steve Hopgood ~ drums


It's must be tough when you're the former lead singer of a band that found its greatest success commercially & musically after you left, yet your name still comes up in all the histories with good & bad comparisons to those that came after you, while you struggle with a solo career & other bands that never seem to go far & nobody can name. PD'A is the singer in question & the original band is Iron Maiden. For those that don't know, he was their original singer from 1978 to 1981. But, it's been a rough haul for PD'A since then, never able to even touch the success he had with Iron Maiden or get out from its shadow ... or even take advantage of it when he gave in to his past. His first solo band called Di'Anno did one album. PD'A refused to do anything by Iron Maiden on tour & the band soon broke up. Then DJ/producer Jonathan King put together the rock opera Gogmagog with hired musicians, but the three song EP didn't chart & the band broke up never really having a chance to go anywhere near where it intended. Battlezone is PD'A's most successful outing, though it suffered from line-up changes ... before, surprise, breaking up. Praying Mantis was another band with him that broke up ... though they ended up reuniting for a Japan only tour ... though when you're big in Japan you're not necessarily big elsewhere & if you don't live there to take advantage of the fame, well ... Later, while living in Brazil PD'A worked with a couple all-Brazilian bands, but none had had international distribution & only the most diehard PD'A fan can probably list their names, sadly for the sake of the other musicians in them trying hard to succeed. It's not their fault they recruited a jinxed singer. There's also the bands the Original Iron Men, the Almighty Inbredz, Maiden Children, Children of the Damned, The Phantoms of the Opera & then PD'A's own solo recordings ... ever heard of any of them? The most news he's made is serving jailtime for benefit fraud. PD'A's post-Iron Maiden career is a sorry state of affairs, though not for trying & not for some good albums along the way, which makes it that much sadder. & there's no embarressment with his contributions to Iron Maiden either. There's one more band - the Killers, aka Paul DiAnno's Killers or Paul DiAnno & the Killers ... depending on what advertising you're looking at & now the other far more successful band of the same name. The Killers would put out two studio albums & an array of live albums following their break-up. Murder One is their debut & features PD'A with former Battlezone drummer Steve Hopgood. Hopgood puts in a murderous double bass lines throughout the whole album & his drumming might be most distinctive instrument of the album. It feels strange to call the drummer the most distinctive feature, as its such a rarity that this instrument is able to overcome the guitarists or other musicians, outside of obvious examples like early Genesis or Rush. Really, can anyone talk about the drum styles of Don Henley or Mickey Dolenz, the later who didn't even play on Monkees albums? Even when the drummer is the frontman it's still difficult to talk about the drum being the most distinctive instrument, but here it is. I mean, is even Ringo Star so distinctive able to get your attention more than the guitarists? The guitars here, however talented, just turn a knee-jerk album of straight ahead non-thrashy heavy metal. It's indistinctive & sad, particularly considering PD'A comes from one of the most distinctive bands in the metal pantheon. The album was written over two weeks & it almost sounds like it, an additional month of recording not giving it much more of an edge or creative push. It's not a bad album, just a bit too straight forward, think Saxon or other bands of that genre. As for the star of the show & the real & only reason you're going to get this album, it's almost impossible to imagine he ever fronted Iron Maiden as he's just a gruff shouter of the Gene Simmons variety, good for hard rock but basically indistinguishable from many metal singers. Thus, the Killers becomes another tick on the PD'A belt, another day in the treches, interesting to fans but few others. Interesting for its story, not its music. As for the story ... it's interesting to note that when the Killers auditioned for BMG they played only Iron Maiden songs as no originals had been written yet. In good music business tradition, BMG wasn't aware of what they were hearing ... & I'm sure they were suprised with what they got. The album ends with the PD'A/Steve Harris composition "Remember Tomorrow" that may recall Iron Maiden in its chugging rhythm but that's pretty much it. A lost song from the Iron Maiden catalog ... though BMG at least got one track they were expecting. Though, if the rest of the audition sounded like this then no wonder the BMG representatives didn't recognize any of the Iron Maiden songs. The best song on the album is a cover of T.Rex's "Children Of The Revolution" that now gets a hard rock edge. It's not a distinctive edge, but you can't ruin this classic. Following the release of this debut a bit of jail time would send PD'A packing for England, while all but him & Cliff Evans remained in the band for their second album & ensuing tour. They'd disband by 2004. Evans would go on to form his own record label & release an array of Killers live albums. Though, when PD'A took to selling all the studio albums free on his website Evans was soon out of business. Another tick on the belt.

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