On June 23, 1992 "Killers" released their debut album "Murder One".
"Killers" (not to be confused with the Alternative rock American band "The Killers"), is a British Heavy metal band formed in 1990 by ex-"Iron Maiden" frontman Paul Di'Anno.
Before forming "Killers", Paul Di'Anno had a notable career in the heavy metal scene. As well known, he rose to fame as the lead vocalist for "Iron Maiden" from 1977 to 1981. Di'Anno's powerful and gritty voice contributed to "Iron Maiden's" early success, and their debut album "Iron Maiden" and the follow-up "Killers" are considered classics in the genre. However, due to Di'Anno's personal issues and conflicts within the band, he departed from "Iron Maiden" in 1981.
Following his departure, Di'Anno embarked on various musical endeavors. He formed the band "Di'Anno", which released one album and toured extensively. The group showcased a sound different from the traditional New Wave of British Heavy Metal, leaning towards a more Americanized rock sound. After Di'Anno, he joined "Gogmagog", a supergroup project assembled by Jonathan King, including bassist Neil Murray, guitarists Pete Willis and Janick Gers and drummer Clive Burr.
Di'Anno then formed "Battlezone", another heavy metal band that released several albums. However, conflicts within the band and issues with drugs and infighting led to its eventual dissolution. Following the breakup of Battlezone, Di'Anno joined "Praying Mantis" for a tour of Japan before forming "Killers" in 1990 along with guitarist Cliff Evans, drummer Steve Hopgood, and bassist John Gallagher. In the beginning they played only "Iron Maiden" songs because they had not written any material, but apparently, that was enough for major record BMG which gave the band a $250,000 contract.
Once signed, Killers began writing their debut album, "Murder One," with renowned producer Rob Fraboni. The band relocated to Binghamton, where they worked on the album and developed their own material. "Murder One" showcased the band's musical prowess, blending heavy riffs, melodic hooks, and Di'Anno's distinctive vocals. The album marked a new chapter in Di'Anno's career, as he continued to evolve as a frontman and songwriter.
"Murder One" is a sonic journey that immerses listeners in the essence of classic heavy metal, reminiscent of the golden era of the 1980s. The album kicks off with a thunderous opener, the hammer-esque horror-themed "Impaler", channeling heaviness and setting the stage for the exhilarating ride that awaits. Di'Anno's signature raspy vocals instantly transport you back to the early days of "Iron Maiden", evoking a sense of nostalgia and familiarity.
The album continues with "The Beast Arises" which opening riff and Di'anno's vocals will remind you of "Accept". Then comes the first cover "Children of the Revolution" which turns T-Rex's hit into a classic 80's heavy metal tune injecting infectious energy into the choruses and adding two blistering guitar solos. "S & M" features a great bass-drum pattern, melodic guitar lines and powerful Di'anno vocals. "Takin' No Prisoners" brings forth shades of "Queensrÿche" both in Di'anno vocal color and melody, with modified elements from "I Don't Believe in Love". "Marshall Lockjaw" is a fast-paced rocker about a futuristic bounty-hunter whose character is featured on the inside booklet of the album. "Protector" drumming intro threw us back to "The Ides Of March" the opening track of "Killers", while the power ballad "Dream Keeper" captivates us with its heartfelt lyrics and showcases one of Di'Anno's most compelling performances on the album. As the album progresses, DiAnno continues to show his vocals diversity, yet again sometimes sounding like Geoff Tate in "Awakening". The album ends with a rendition of the classic epochal power "Iron Maiden's" ballad "Remember Tomorrow". While the cover may not surpass the original, it still adds to the album's charm.
The remastered version of the album includes bonus rehearsal recordings of "Impaler", "The Beast Arises", "Marshall Lockjaw", and "Children of the Revolution", along with an acoustic version of "Dream Keeper". These recordings offer a glimpse into the band's preparation process, adds context and enhances the overall experience.
"Murder One" represents a pivotal and transitional chapter in Paul Di'Anno's career. It may not possess the cohesive identity of his previous endeavors, but it showcases Di'Anno's relentless spirit to evolve and explore new musical avenues. With its amalgamation of various metal influences and Di'Anno's distinctive vocal prowess, "Murder One" remains an intriguing testament to an artist's journey of self-discovery.
Despite its fragmented nature and the shadows it casts on Di'Anno's future trajectory, "Murder One" stands as a testament to his resilience and determination to forge ahead. While it may not be a groundbreaking or genre-defining release, the album offers a glimpse into the artistic evolution of a charismatic frontman, serving as a reminder of his contributions to the metal landscape.