The Almighty were among a number of '90s British hard rock bands (also including the Wildhearts,
to name but a few), which received extremely enthusiastic reviews in their homeland but achieved little or no success in America. Much of the blame for this certainly lies with the over-patriotic British press, but in the Almighty's case, the greater problem may have been that its members were mostly veterans of the punk scene role-playing as a heavy metal band for fashion's sake. Sadly, by the time they decided to drop these pretenses and return to their roots, the group's 15 minutes of fame were almost up.
After the disintegration of New Model Army
in 1988, their rhythm guitarist, Ricky Warwick
, founded the Almighty in his native Glasgow, Scotland with lead guitarist Tantrum, bassist Floyd London
and drummer Stump Monroe. The foursome gradually moved away from their punk origins, acquiring a hard rock sound and biker image to match the prevalent heavy metal trends of the day. Signing with Polydor Records, they entered the studio with a highly suspicious producer in first-timer Andy Taylor
of Duran Duran
fame. The collaboration proved surprisingly fruitful, and 1989's excellent Blood, Fire and Love resulted in a solid collection of metal anthems spiked with punk attitude. The band then hit the road for over a year, earning a reputation as a formidable live unit and recording the appropriately titled Blood, Fire & Live to serve as a stop-gap until their next studio outing.
1991's Soul Destruction
may have retained much of the debut's general formula (as well as producer Taylor
), but the band played it a bit too safe for most critics and fans. The subsequent tour saw the Almighty struggling with internal strife and exaustion. Guitarist Tantrum exited at tour's end, being quickly and efficiently replaced by ex-Alice Cooper
band member Pete Freezin'. The Canadian's arrival seemed to re-energize the band, and 1993's Powertrippin'
saw a surge of creativity as the group tried to keep up with the quickly changing musical scene. But while the album was the first to benefit from simultaneous release and moderate promotional support in the U.S., the group's relationship with Polydor was deteriorating rapidly, eventually resulting in their release from the label.
1994 was a year of great change for the Almighty. Signing with Chrysalis Records (not exactly a power in hard rock circles) may have been a mistake, but the band made up for it by securing the services of mighty Sanctuary Music Management, home to Iron Maiden
, W.A.S.P. and others. Released in early 1995, Crank
was not the group's best effort but was certainly their most honest as they shed their heavy metal posing and began to preach a return to their punk rock roots. Unfortunately, the move seemed too calculated for most fans who saw the band as trend-chasing musical mercenaries, landing the final blow to their waning fortunes. Just Add Life
, released in 1996 by Castle Communications, proved to be the Almighty's swan song, yet rumors still suggested that Warwick
was planning to re-form the band.