Killers – Murder One + Menace To Society + South American Assault Live


Reviews by Brian McGowan

Like him or loathe him, Paul Di’Anno is woven into the fabric of Heavy Metal history. Best known as Iron Maiden’s first vocalist, his CV since includes Battlezone, Praying Mantis and of course, Killers. The birth of the band and subsequent label signing is genuinely in the Premier League of ‘you couldn’t make it up’ stories. The band’s “first” album – a live recording of gigs across South America – was later alleged by band member Peter Gallagher to have been recorded on a mobile recording truck in New York because the tour got cancelled. Subsequent industry interest led to a showcase at which the band performed Iron Maiden songs (they had written none of their own just yet). Not realising (allegedly) the provenance of the material, BMG signed them up immediately.

Killers - Murder OneMurder One

Murder One (1992) was the debut album, 10 tracks, all penned by Di’Anno and Cliff Evans, except Marc Bolan’s ‘Children Of The Revolution’ and a cover of Maiden’s ‘Remember Tomorrow’. Conventional wisdom has it that ‘Impaler’ and ‘Marshall Lockjaw’ are the picks, and few would argue. It’s no exaggeration to claim that the remastering job here has given these tracks, and others, a 3D sonic dynamic… they come out your speakers like the barely restrained pounds-per-square-inch thrust of an Apollo rocket launch. Apart from the ace remastering – and gold disc reissue – fans will drool over the five bonus tracks. They may bring nothing revelatory to the table, but the “live rehearsals” of ‘Impaler’ and ‘The Beast Arises’ sound stompingly raw, with Di’Anno delivering an ironically mannered vocal. The album is rounded out with a gruffly tender acoustic version of ‘Dream Keeper’.

7 out of 10

Killers - MenaceMenace To Society

Menace To Society came in 1994, recorded in the UK after Di’Anno was deported from the USA. It was a time of cultural upheaval, and the music on this follow-up release is savage at times, merely ferocious at others, stridently marching into the industrial metal landscape that loomed large and loud at the beginning of the decade. Any change in style is met with suspicion of course, and Killers fans were no different. It was therefore bitterly ironic that the songwriting had become tight, collusive and as good as if not better than the stuff being marketed by the Panteras and Machine Heads of the time.

Again, it’s the bonus tracks that make this release interesting, and this time all five are “live rehearsal” recordings. ‘Die By The Gun’ and ‘Chemical Imbalance’ are probably the standouts. Cliff Evans debrutalises his riffs, trading in relentless staccato salvoes of sound for fluidity and flow. Di’Anno matches that up with a humanised vocal, together revealing just how good these songs (and others) really are. These guys must have been a blast live.

8 out of 10

Killers - South American AssaultSouth American Assault Live

Given the accusation made concerning the authenticity of the Killers Live South American Assault release, it’s interesting to compare the band’s sound, 1992 v 1994. The “live” album is artfully patched together, with stunning performances underlining the band’s protean nature. And while they burn down some Iron Maiden and Battlezone classics live, they are in stark contrast to the relative simplicity of the band’s own writing and performance on the two later studio albums. Still powerful, but leaner, hungrier, ably supported by Kevin Ridley’s uncluttered production.

Once more there are five bonus tracks, the most interesting of which are acoustic versions of ‘Wrathchild’ and ‘Remember Tomorrow’. They are cumulatively atmospheric, and again show up Di’Anno to be a vocalist with a commanding, convincing presence. Bonus tracks indeed.

6 out of 10

As historical documents go, these 3 albums, in reflecting the changing face of rock and metal at the beginning of the nineties, are absolutely priceless. But the heavy metal music fans of the time just couldn’t get to grip with the changes, and the albums failed to gain any real traction. There was talk of a reformation and a new album in 2013, but nothing further has been forthcoming.

Track Listings:

Murder One

  1. Impaler
  2. The Beast Arises
  3. Children Of The Revolution
  4. S&M
  5. Takin No Prisoners
  6. Marshall Lockjaw
  7. Protector
  8. Dream Keeper
  9. Awakening
  10. Remember Tomorrow

Bonus Tracks:

  1. Impaler (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  2. The Beast Arises (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  3. Marshall Lockjaw (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  4. Children Of Revolution (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  5. Dream Keeper (acoustic version)

Menace To Society

  1. Advance And Be Recognised
  2. Die By The Gun
  3. Menace To Society
  4. ?
  5. Think Brutal
  6. Past Due
  7. Faith Healer
  8. Chemical Imbalance
  9. Song For You
  10. Three Words
  11. Conscience
  12. City Of Fools

Bonus Tracks:

  1. Die By The Gun (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  2. Faith Healer (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  3. A Song For You (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  4. Chemical Imbalance (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  5. Three Words (Live Rehearsal Recording)

South American Assault Live

  1. Overloaded
  2. Murders In The Rue Morgue
  3. Wrathchild
  4. Remember Tomorrow
  5. Children Of Madness
  6. Phantom Of The Opera
  7. Metal Tears
  8. Strange World
  9. Sanctuary
  10. Running Free
  11. The Promise
  12. We Will Rock You/Smoke In The Water

Bonus Tracks:

  1. Wrathchild (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  2. Remember Tomorrow (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  3. Murders In The Rue Morgue (Live Rehearsal Recording)
  4. Wrathchild (acoustic version)
  5. Remember Tomorrow (acoustic version)