by John Kindred
– Publisher –
Guitarist Jeff Summers (Statetrooper) and vocalist Danny Hynes have revived their ‘80s NWOBHM band, Weapon. Officially known today as Weapon (UK), it seems another group had formed under the same name, and to stay away from any legal issues, UK was added to their moniker. The band released a single in the early ‘80s titled “Set the Stage Alight,” which is a song that inspired the musical direction of Metallica, before Virgin Records shelved the album in 1981. The band’s debut titled Set the Stage Alight finally officially saw the light of day in 2003. So, theoretically, after three decades, the band valiantly returns with its sophomore effort Rising from the Ashes.
After 30-plus years, Weapon (UK) returns to the scene older and wiser. While still firmly grounded within the confines of the NWOBHM genre, the music also leans toward traditional Hard Rock. The latest incarnation of the band features bassist PJ Phillips and drummer Ian Sweeting.
Rising from the Ashes opens with an obligatory instrumental interlude titled “Prelude (The Awakening),” which sets the tone for album.
After 30 years, one would be hard pressed to say that in such a saturated musical landscape, originality would reign supreme. In fact Weapon (UK) delivers riffs that recall some of metal’s finer moments; “Burning Skies” aka Ozzy’s “Over the Mountain” or “Alamein” reminds us of the Scorpions’ “Winds of Change.” What removes Weapon (UK) from the hot seat is Danny Hynes’ vocals. Hynes voice has a unique quality unlike his peers. Combining that with the lush background vocals helps to define the band’s sound.
The shifting contrast between the NWOBHM and Hard Rock genre breathe life into the 12-tracks that comprise Rising from the Ashes. Summers’ stamp is all over the songs, with crunching rhythms that are entwined with solos that pay homage to the Arena Rock giants of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The Weapon (UK) rhythm section isn’t shy either as, both, Phillips and Sweeting leave their mark on each song.
Except for the bonus track “Killer Instinct,” the band began writing new material in 2011, releasing “Ready 4 U” as a single prior to the album’s release. “Killer Instinct” was a holdover from the band’s session back in ’79-’80.
Weapon (UK) doesn’t shy away from delivering quality, if not inspired ‘80s metal. Certainly the spirit of the decade is felt in metallic anthems, such as “Bloodstone Rock,” “Ride the Mariah,” “Celebration Time” and others. The vocals can only be defined as a Metal Blue Oyster Cult meets the Moody Blues, with their lavishly layered, harmonies. Summers, who partnered with Gary Barden (MSG) in the band Statetrooper, handles the majority of the song writing throughout the album and always is keen to leave listeners with that big, fat heavy memorable riff.
Overall, the music on Rising from the Ashes offers listeners catchy, hook-laden jaunts that lyrically are not overtly serious, yet the musicianship high caliber.
Genre: New Wave of British Heavy Metal, NWOBHM, Hard Rock
Danny Hynes – Vocals
Jeff Summers – Guitar/Vocals
PJ Phillips – Bass/Vocals
Ian Sweeting – Drums
1. Prelude (The Awakening)
2. Ride The Mariah
3. Fountain Of Paradise
5. Ready 4 U
6. Burning Skies
9. Blood Soaked Rock
10. Bad Reputation
11. Celebration Time
12. Killer Instinct (Bonus Track)
Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10