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Warrior Soul: Stiff Middle Finger

Album Review

Alt-rock trailblazer still kicking against the pricks.

Operating several fathoms under the sonar from where – in an idealised meritocracy – he should be, it’s to Kory Clarke’s credit that his righteous ire and dogged resilience haven’t withered with age.

Often furious (if occasionally unfocused) diatribes against the horrors of the modern day – corporate greed, state power – are tempered with rallying cries for activism and the Occupy movement. Where a song proclaiming his love for a junky stripper fits in with all this is anyone’s guess, though this thematic backflip certainly reflects the musical contrasts on offer here. 

The spacey art-rock bombast that announced their arrival back in 1990 is in full effect on Occupy and Rubicon, and a startlingly effective foray into industrial electronica (2012) patches a spot that Trent Reznor seemingly missed. 

Clarke’s voice, now cracked and hoarse, brings a pathos and gruff authority to everything it graces, though a soft spot for the odd Skid Row-esque plodder might be better avoided.

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