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Di'Anno : Di'Anno
(FM Records - 1984)
Category : criminally overlooked
3,5 stars

This is the first album Paul Di'Anno released after parting ways with Iron Maiden and to me it's more entertaining than his output of the eight or so years afterwards(*). Apart from those few thrashy Pantera-inspired tracks on the second album of his band Killers (released 1992) everything Paul Di'Anno released between 1985 and 1995 could still be categorised under classic 'New Wave of British Heavy Metal'. It's as if he has always been trying to recapture the magic of the period when he was in Iron Maiden. Unfortunately his song writing efforts to achieve this goal were a bit too generic for my taste to set any of the bands he was in (Killers, Praying Mantis, Battlezone, etcetera...) aside from the hordes of others that were spewing out the same kind of material. So, when you hear this Di'Anno album instead you might be forgiven to think that this is not the same artist.

First of all, it's not Metal. It's melodic Hard Rock, almost AOR even. Paul's singing style is different as well. Less agressive, less punky, more melodic, which suits the songs well. But above all, the song writing is inspired, on a high level, even though the style is rather mainstream. Just listen to 'Tales of the Unexpected' and 'Antigua'. Those are two instant Rock classics right there.

The two aformentioned tracks alone already make the album worth looking for, but the album works as a whole as well, as there's no filler material present. Even the two singles that were taken from this album have essence.

It's unfortunate this album failed to make any waves in the Metal scene of the moment. I guess it just was released at the wrong moment as it gave the impression that Paul Di'Anno had mellowed out, at a time when the Metal scene was starting to go in the opposite direction, towards more extreme forms of Metal like 'Speed' and 'Thrash'. Maybe a record label like Frontiers should re-release it now, with this new revival of melodic Metal going on and all.

Paul Di'Anno's website:

(* = note: I'm only comparing this album to 5 or so albums I heard of his 1985 - 1992 period. There are a few more albums from that period I haven't heard yet, nor have I heard anything he released after the year 1992, so my opinion on his later output is based on partial knowledge only)

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