Imagine a huge cauldron and around it 4 guys in their 20’s that want to create something strong as steel and heavy metal as fuck while time is running out as its rather late to catch the train of N.W.O.B.H.M. that is probably in its last journey…at the same time these guys are actually trying also to compete their own selves as their debut “Steel ‘n Chains” had an impressive impact to the loyal fans of the genre just before it changes into speed, power or thrash and turn into something faster and more extreme.
Well as the cauldron was boiling their ingredients were sharp (that sometimes sound dirty) riffs, mid to high range vocals, blue collar hard working man’s lyrics (ok some would call them sexist in nowadays…I say screw them), simple structure compositions, warm but rough production, old school aesthetic even for their time (some would call it dated, … well…once again screw them…), thick melodic bass lines, Scorpions, early Def Leppard before they ship to the States, Di Anno’s era Iron Maiden and Saxon influences, (generic) AOR parts and ‘70s hard rock elements and above all stubbornness and thirst for Heavy Metal.
Recorded and mixed at Guardian Studios during April to June 1984 (with Terry Gavaghan as the producer) “Spartan Warrior” was originally released via Roadrunner Records in the same year. Their line-up was Tom Spencer on bass, Gordon Webster on drums, Neil Wilkinson on guitars, Dave Wilkinson on vocals and Paul Swaddle also on guitars. The album doesn’t lack originality or catchy songs. It has several top notch moments, solid rhythm section and excellent guitar work and despite the fact that failed to make Spartan Warrior big; it left its mark to the back then in its final death throes genre that thankfully survived through the decades even in much less popular status, something that didn’t happen with the band (after the release of the two LPs the band from Sunderland split up in 1985). Later in 2006 though Spartan Warrior return from the grave releasing a good and decent album entitled “Behind Closed Eyes” in 2010 via Iron Age Records and the rather weak but also decent “Hell to Pay” in 2018 via Pure Steel Records, when many N.W.O.B.H.M. bands reunited and released older material in reissues or combinations and new records in several bigger or smaller labels.
Spartan Warrior is a fine example of a band that its members were firstly fans of a genre, that stayed closer to the principles and the foundations of the genre than its founders. And they’ve done it with style and true devotion to the music they love. Lovers of lo-fi, raw N.W.O.B.H.M. in the veins of Saxon before Crusader, Crucifixion, Sparta, More, Savage, as well as Tank and early Tygers of Pan Tang.
Highlights: “Black Widow”, “Son of a Bitch”, “Sentenced to Die,” “The Mercenary”, and “French Girls”.