Mastered and partially restored by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY, February - March 2016
Legendary US Metal band Warlord was formed in 1981 by Mark Zonder and William J. Tsamis. One year later, in 1982, the song “Lucifer’s Hammer” (based on a novel by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle) appeared on the prestigious compilation album »Metal Massacre II«. This resulted in a deal with Metal Blade Records, with Warlord recording their debut mini-album. »Deliver Us« was released in 1983 and is today considered as the blueprint for what was later to be called “Epic Metal” (alongside Warlord bands such as Manilla Road and Cirith Ungol are widely considered to be the godfathers of this specific style of metal music).
“Not sure if we were the originators of that style,” comments drum legend Mark Zonder regarding Warlord’s status of being the inventors of “Epic Metal”. “But I would like to think we are a very original band. We have influences but do not sound like anyone else. I think anyone can identify a Warlord song in about ten seconds. There is a certain magic with the music and lyrics. A very definitive sound. A lot of the style came from Bill and I trying to improve as musicians. We would spend hours and hours practising by ourselves as well as playing together. We were always trying to stretch the sound and make it special.”
1983’s »Deliver Us« was a very special debut indeed. Some of the song structures of compositions such as “Child Of The Damned” or “Winter Tears” have been influenced by classical music: “Yes, Bill was a big fan as well, as traditional classical guitar was what he was raised on.” Although for some “Child Of The Damned” is the outstanding track on »Deliver Us«, opinions tend to differ: “Everyone has a different favourite. This is what makes this album and Warlord as a band different from most bands. No two songs even remotely sound the same. Great song writing and attention to detail. Every song stands on its own and creates a different mood and feeling.”
The High Roller Records de luxe re-issue of »Deliver Us« is going to be a triple vinyl. Mark Zonder explains where all the additional bonus material comes from: “Some live demo stuff. We used to record into a cassette deck with two microphones. Also demos that we did on our little Fostex 4-track cassette recorder. We would spend a lot of time recording and bouncing tracks. We also have a couple tracks of singer auditions that no one has ever heard before.”
Mark Zonder had a helping hand in gathering those numerous extra goodies: “Giles Lavery was trying to put together the ultimate Warlord release as so many various editions have been put out. So he spent a lot of time and effort hunting down a lot of the old tracks and demos that people have never heard. He also made sure he had the best quality of the songs. So many have been ruined on youtube and other sites.”
The original cover artwork of »Deliver Us« is a very haunting painting. Even today, it’s still a very evocative piece of art, a timeless piece of art. “We have an artist friend,” explains Mark Zonder. “And Bill basically sat down and gave her his ideas about the cover and she went from there to create it. It is an actual painting, so it was done when she said it was done. No changing or photoshopping the cover.”
With »Deliver Us« being such a strong and original debut album, in retrospective it’s a shame that Warlord never received the credit they deserved. So did Metal Blade do everything they could to break Warlord in 1983? “Funny question,” laughs Mark Zonder. “I understand it was a certain time in history and Metal Blade was starting out and maybe they did all they could do, but they really did not do much for the band to promote or put the band on tour. It seemed they were more of a factory and just pumping stuff out hoping something would stick. In 2002, when we were doing »Rising Out Of The Ashes«, we talked with Metal Blade and they said they were not interested in the release in a two line email.”