This CD would have been more appropriately titled "The Complete Works of Warlord" as this single disc contains all the songs they ever recorded up through the 1980's. This includes their one and only full length album "And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun (1984), as well as the "Deliver Us" EP and the song "Mrs. Victoria" from Metal Massacre III. The "Deliver Us" EP constitutes the first six tracks. Tracks 8-13 are the remaining tracks off the bands full length, with the only songs missing being "Deliver Us From Evil", which was he the exact same recording from the EP.
Musically, this album is a spectacular. The music is moody, melodic, yet heavy. For the most part the songs are slow and doomy ("Black Mass"), although on classics like "Lucifer's Hammer" and "Child of The Damned", the band speeds up the tempo. ("Child of the Damned" has been capably covered by Hammerfall.) My favorite song on this collection, however, is the epic "Deliver Us from Evil", which is just a classic from metal history.
Lyrically the band is hard to understand. At times their lyrics almost have a Christian slant, but then at others it seems they are trying to be dark with stereotypical lyrics of doom and death. I would swear that songs like "Deliver Us From Evil" are almost prayers lifted to God. (Guitarist/band leader William J. Tsamis' post-Warlord band Lordian Guard has some very blatant Christian lyrics.) I guess the best way to describe the lyrics are epic battles of evil vs. good.
The production is a bit raw, which isn't surprising considering when this was recorded and the fact that Metal Blade was a relatively small, independent label in the early 80's. It's also fairly obvious that a drummer mixed this album as the drums are crystal clear, while the guitar are sometimes buried. However, despite some production problems, this collection of epic, classically-inspired heavy metal is thoroughly enjoyable.
Warlord are this incredible cult band. Warlord only ever record two full albums, "And The Cannons Of Destruction Have Begun", which was played live in 1985 and was actually the soundtrack of the video and in 1986 came "Thy Kingdom Come". There were two EPs and a "Best Of" in 1989 via Metal Blade, but that's it. I remember back in college I had a roommate who had the first Warlord tape and we all loved it. The drums were so out front that they sounded like cannons. They were pure heavy metal but they had this dark somber sound that was quite different from many. Warlord were mysterious as well, using pseudonyms like Thunderchild and Destroyer, rather than their real names. Thunderchild was actually Mark Zonder who went on to fame with Fates Warning. Main songwriter of the band, William Tsamis, held onto the tradition of Warlord after their demise with Lordian Guard. After over a decade apart, Warlord appear again with original members Tsamis, Zonder and vocalist Joachim Cans from Hammerfall. Hammerfall had actually recorded a cover of Warlord's "Children of the Damned" back in '97, making it sound like their own song. I wondered, with Jaochim on vocals if Warlord might sound more like Hammerfall than a real reunited Warlord. This is not the case. This is not a Hammerfall side project covering Warlord songs! It is Warlord with some modifications in the vocal style. Personally I was already of fan of Joachim's vocals, so it was not great stretch that I would also ejoy his work here. I had also read that most of this material was originally Lordian Guard material. Personally, I never could get into Lordian Guard, so I wondered if I might be disappointed. This is not the case either. Perhaps it was Lordian Guard's poor production or their use of a drum machine, but this CD is far more alive and kickin' than anything I remember from them. Despite that, "Battle Of The Living Dead" is an outstanding cover of the Lordian Guard original. "Enemy Mind" I believe is a new song with a traditional Warlord sound, that is also outstanding. "Luciferšs Hammer" is a re-make of the original Warlord track, and is again excellent in both musicianship and in the vocals. "My Name is Man" was interesting as well, partially due to the lyrics. This track seems to almost have a sort of reverance towards God and a spirit or worship that I found interesting. "War in Heaven" likewise has an almost majestic feel to it. This song is a actuallyb ased on a literary work by John Milton called "Paradise Lost". I am not familiar with the book, but the song is about a war in the heavens between lucifer and the angels. I'm not even sure which songs were originally Lordian Guard songs, and which are new, but regardless, with Zonder and Joachim Cans, these tracks are all fresh. Mark Zonder's drumming throughout is nothing short of brilliant and spiced up each song with something different and unique. The production alone makes this album rank above anything Warlord have recorded in the past. (Yes, I know that's blasphemy to some diehards.) A strong production allows each instrument to be heard very clearly, yet everthing including the vocals, mesh together perfectly. There is something about Warlord that makes them fresh and unique, yet at the same time sound like a classic metal band. It's hard to explain, but "Up from the Ashes" is a fantastic epic, traditional metal disc that is beautifully crafted and well executed.