Paul Di'Anno's Battlezone-Fighting Back (Shatter) 1986
1. "(Forever) Fighting
Di'anno continues with the aggressive NWOBHM sound he created with Maiden on his first album without Harris and Co. 'Fighting Back' features tons of OTT speed metal rockers. Songs like "Warchild" and the epic "The Land God Gave To Cain" are some of the finest heavy metal songs Di'anno has ever done. As with many other NWOBHM bands, some of the guitar work emulates Thin
Lizzy axe attack.
Paul Diana's Battlezone - Children of Madness (Shatter) 1987
1. "Rip It Up"
Slightly more commercial than the band's debut, although not a commercial sellout. Despite this, the band just doesn't seem to be able to get away from the club sound and break out with a bigger sound like Maiden's "Piece of Mind" or Priest's "Screaming for Vengeance." Di'Anno's gritty voice sounds as strong as ever.
Killers - Murder One (Zoo) 1992
Paul Di'anno never could gain the popularity of his former band, of which he helped to create one of the greatest NWOBHM albums ever, "Killers." Well, this is the same title Paul used for his 90's band; and what a band it is. It's really a shame that he was never able to get the proper label backing and marketing push, because he is a metal legend that should have been more highly regarded. Killers' 'Murder One' is a high energy metal project that sounds very little like Maiden, with the exception of the cover of Iron Maiden's "Remember Tomorrow." The disc starts off with a screaming speed metal number called "Impaler" and continues to annihilate everything in it's path from beginning to end. The songs do vary in speed and intensity however, making the disc all the more interesting. Sons like "Children of the Revolution" are slow, doomy and plodding but every bit as heavy as the album opener. Lyrically, however, Di'anno finds himself in the same trappings he did in Maiden, singing of themes of dark beasts and death. However, this really doesn't hinder this disc much at all. I find "Murder One" to be quite enjoyable.
Killer compilation of live material from Paul Di'Anno's Killers. "South American Assault" features 12 tracks that were supposedly recorded in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. In reality, the material was actually recorded on a mobile recording truck in New York. More than half the material here is Iron Maiden material. Being that Killers is not Maiden, I wasn't expecting the Maiden tracks to be very good. But on the contrary, they pull off some excellent versions of these early Maiden classics. With Di'Anno behind the mic, it's almost hard, at times, to believe it's not Iron Maiden. Interspersed with these tracks are songs from the first two Battlezone albums. The Battlezone tracks sound almost as good as the Maiden material. Di'Anno finishes the set off with an odd melody of Queen's 'We Will Rock You' and Deep Purple's 'Smoke on the Water.' Surprisingly Di'Anno pulls off the Ian
Gillan vocals quite well. It’s also noteworthy to point out that John Gallagher of Raven fame played bass for Killers at this point in time. John's voice can clearly be heard singing background vocals on "Running Free". I'm not sure why I expected this disc to be crap. Perhaps it is the cheesy cover art, or the fact that this looks more like a bootleg than an official release, but "South American Assault" is actually a pretty entertaining CD.
Killers - Menace To Society (Bleeding Hearts Records) 1994
1. "Advance And Be
A lot of people trashed this release simply for the fact that it strayed from the formula expected from Di'Anno but I dig it. I am not suggestign that this is one of the greatest CDs I have ever heard, but I do enjoy spinning it. Di'Anno has always only been as good as the band that backs him. With "Menace to Society" Paul has a completely new band, save for longtime drummer Steve Hopgood, so the music is quite different from Battlezone or Maiden. As a matter of fact, "Menace to Society" moves far way from the Maiden formula most people connect with Di'Anno. Di'Anno himself even arms himself with a new grit and grow demeanor that wasn't present in the past. Some of the music on here reminds me a bit of Halford's Fight, mixing together an old school heavy metal vibe with some more modern grooves. However, while this might sound like a bad thing, most of this disc is pretty solid and enjoyable, especially to any longtime Di'Anno fan like myself. There are a few tracks to steer clear of, like the awful rap-crap of "City of Fools." With lyrics like "I'll hammer you down into puppy food" I can only imagine that this song was suppose to be a joke, but if it is, the joke wears off before the song is even finished. Fortunately this song is at the end of the CD so it is easily just skipped.
Killers - Live (IRS) 1997
Paul blasts through tracks from Killers "Murder One" and "Menace to Society" along with some Iron Maiden classics. Like his South American Assault disc, released only a few years earlier, Di'Anno and his band play a tight, energetic set. As with that release, however, the packaging is rather cheap and reeks of bad bootleg. Fortunately the sound is far superior than the cover art lets on. The set list is pretty different as well, excluding the old Battlezone tracks for the Killers tracks. The Maiden tracks are almost identical.
Paul Di'anno & Dennis Stratton - The Original Iron Men (WCP) 1995
1. "I've Had Enough"
A disc obviously marketed towards Iron Maiden die-hards, "The Original Iron Men" features original Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton, who sings vocals on about half the songs, and original Maiden vocalist Paul Di'Anno who sings on the other half. Despite this the music sounds nothing like Iron Maiden. "The Original Iron Men" was composed almost completely by Lea Hart, of Fastway fame. Lea was the singer that replaced David King in Fastway, he was a vocalist/keyboardist who played on "On Target" and "Bad Bad Girls". Several of the songs on the Iron Men entry (which also appear on a "Deadline Di'Anno" set) were originally sang by Lea Hart for those records. "I've Had Enough", "Death of Me", "Miles Away", "Lucky to Lose", and "She Won't Rock" appear on "Bad Bad Girls". "Let Him Rock" and "Two Hearts" appear on the "On Target" CD. So despite being released in 1995,the overall sound and style recalls late 1980's pop metal with catchy, sing along choruses and slick guitar solos from Dennis. Songs like "Lucky to Lose" "Let Him Rock" and "Listen What Your Heart Says" would have done well had they been recorded by a band like Dokken or Skid Row, however Paul's gritty voice doesn't seem suited for this style of music, in my opinion. I actually think Dennis does a better job as his voice is a bit more clean and melodic. Despite this disc being billed as a project by Dennis and Paul, there are a ton of British 'stars' adding their talent in the studio. On guitar Fast Eddie Clarke (Fastway/Motorhead) and Paul Samson (Samson) lend a hand. Also keyboardist Don Airey (Rainbow/Whitesnake), drummer Nigel Glocker (Saxon) and bassist Neil Murray (Black Sabbath/Whitesnake) are on board. Biff Byford also makes an appearance as a background vocalist.
I became a Di'Anno fan in high school in the 80's when I purchased Iron Maiden "Killers" as a new release. His raw vocal approach was perfect for Maiden at the time. I followed his career to Battlezone and have picked up several albums by his various bands over the years ever since the demise of Battlezone. When this "Best of" compilation arrived I thought for sure I'd be familiar with a good deal of it. After all, I love the Battlezone stuff, and some of the Killers material. I was surprised that I was pretty unfamiliar with the majority of these songs, save for the handful of live Iron Maiden songs.
For the most part the material included on this collection is 80's style, traditional, melodic heavy metal or have a classic hard rock sound. The first four tracks of disc one are actually a good listen. Slightly commercial, highly melodic and surprisingly memorable heavy metal. The guitar work is good as well, featuring chugging riffs and quick fretboard work.However, things go very array on track five, "Only You That This Love Need". Di'Anno's voice is just not fitting of this type of sappy love ballad. Track six is yet another terrible ballad. "Searching for You" is embarrassingly bad. To make things worse, his bizarre covers of "Play That Funky Music" and "Living in America" are the absolute last things any fan would want to hear. Basically, tracks five through nine are worthy of the skip button.
Finally with track ten we are given what we want to hear from Di'Anno, classic heavy metal. "Caught Your Lie", while being a bit commercial, works well and in contrast to the songs that proceed it, is a breath of fresh air. The remaining studio cuts are equally as entertaining, as long as one doesn't expect the material to sound like Iron Maiden. The disc ends with some live cuts, including a pair of Maiden songs ad a Marc Bolan cover, which is far better than the previously mentioned cover songs. Disc two has a similar mix of entertaining, melodic metal songs (ie. "What O'ya Want", "Don't Take These Dreams Away", "The Fool You Left Behind", "Big Beat, No Heart") and atrocious ballads (ie. "Only In My Dreams", "Show Some Emotion"). As well, disc two ends with a couple of live Iron Maiden songs. Honestly, there are some good songs on this collection, but there are also some very bad songs. Condensed down to one CD and omitting the ballads, covers and live Iron Maiden songs would have made for a more interesting listen. As well, the inclusion of songs from Paul's 1984 self titled album or the Battlezone albums might have made for a better overall collection. As it stands, this is hardly a "best of" collection.
Di'Anno - Nomad (Perris) 2000
1. "Intro" (1:11)
2000 and Di'anno is still alive and kicking. On a musical level, Di'anno and his ever changing arsenal of musicians doesn't seem to change much over the years. Di'anno is still pumping out above average heavy metal occasionally pushing the boundaries of speed metal and at other times creating more melodic power metal. Lyrically, however, Di'anno seems to be digressing, still stuck in a mire or juvenile 'look how dark and evil we are' themes. Case in point, the lyrics to 'S.A.T.A.N.' "S.a.t.a.n. evil, beat the wings of hellions, the gateway to my world. I will be your true friend, I'll be with you for life. Cry when your children die, then I f*** your wife. Satan or diablo sounds nice..." If that's not enough, how about the fact that Paul can't seem to write an intelligent song without using the same expletive over and over again. You'd think with years of experience under his belt and being on the level of a metal legend, he could come up with something a bit more interesting and intelligent. To bad because the music is quite good. This one will most likely be relegated to the status of dust collector or will soon disappear in a trade.