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Warhorse biography
Active from 1970 to 1974 - They have since played together on several occasions, including 1985 and 2005.

Most famous for being the band of ex-MK1 PURPLE bassist Nicky Simper, this group also had in members Ashley Holt on vocals, Mac Poole on drums, Frank Wilson on kbs and respectively Ged Peck and Pete Parker on guitars on their first and second albums. Their first album is very much in the mould of DEEP PURPLE in between the Mk1 and Mk2 sound, but their second is an harder edged affair with more prominent affair. Both albums are quite fine in quality and should please most progheads into the 70's. It is interesting to make a parallel between WARHORSE and CAPTAIN BEYOND as that band had the other ex-PURPLE frontman Rod Evans, and they also developed an harder edged sound than that of Mk1 PURPLE, one of the reasons Ritchie BLACKMORE sacked the two unlucky boys.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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Purple Pyramid 2018
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WARHORSE discography

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WARHORSE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.55 | 61 ratings
2.95 | 44 ratings
Red Sea

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.55 | 61 ratings

Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have always liked Nick Simper bass playing when he was in Deep Purple. But it took decades before I could get a hold of his post DP band Warhorse. Listening to it nowadays it is easy to understand why it was not exactly a great success. The band sounds too much like- guess who? - DP. In fact Warhorse, the album sounds a lot like a mix of MK I & MK II Deep Purple,with obvious tendencies for the former. Future Rick Wakemanīs singer Ashley Holt is the vocalist here, most of the time sounding like Rod Evans, but sometimes trying to scream like Ian Gillan.

Overall the music is quite good. I was surprised by the the proficiency of keyboardist Frank Wilson, who does handle things much like Jon Lord would. In fact, all the musicians are quite good, although not in the same manner as the original DP, of course. It would be too much. But they were very good anyway, And the songs are not that bad either. Derivative? Sure, yes, but also well done.

In the end the public did not buy that much of the LP. And there was a good reason for that: with the Gillan/Glover Deep Purple at its peak, who would bother to follow a carbon copy, even a good one? But nowadays, with MKII Deep Purple long gone, you can appreciate this band a lot more. It is good early 70īs hard rock. The band certainly had both the knack for writing nice tunes and the technical ability to deliver the goods. And being able to be favorably compared to such an iconic and accomplished band as this is no small feat. With time they could probably leave the DP shadow and find their own sound. Unfortunately this was not to be. They disbanded soon after their second and final album. But left something very interesting anyway.

Rating: between 3 and 3.5 stars. Not essential in any way, but very good 70īs hard rock. if you are a fan of Deep Purple, specially the mark I version, chances are you will like Warhorse a lot.

 Red Sea by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.95 | 44 ratings

Red Sea
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Red Sea' - Warhorse (61/100)

It was released over four decades from the time I've first listened to it, and still I find myself disappointed by Warhorse's second, final album. Following his last shows with Deep Purple, bassist Nick Simper went on to create a band and record of same name that possibly rocked even harder than anything Purple conjured in their early days. Warhorse stands as one of the strongest hard rock records I've heard from that genre, to the point where I might have said they deserved equally favourable mention alongside Captain Beyond, the better-known (and loved) by-product of Ritchie Blackmore's late 60s staff adjustments. Hell; I usually find myself bored stiff by the sort of fuzzy organ rock they were playing, but I was impressed by every song on that self-titled.

Red Sea, by contrast, is almost universally thought of as a lukewarm disappointment in hindsight, and for good reason. The album apparently came together in a hurry, adopting a more predictable take on hard rock that made them sound just like the bland legions their self-titled dared to set them apart from. With that said, I can't call Red Sea a bad album. It's average hard rock fare, perfectly average, in fact. I might even say, based on the album's more outlandish cuts like "Back in Time" and "Mouthpiece", that Warhorse were still distinguishing themselves here, albeit in milder ways. Nonetheless, I can't listen to Red Sea and feel the slightest bit reminded of how tight they were on the debut, and that's a damning consideration if ever there was one.

Warhorse pulled the reins back on their proto-metal here; the result of which is a record more closely tied to rhythm-and-blues tropes. "Red Sea" and "Confident but Wrong" are solid examples of the more conventional road the band were taking with this album. The guitar and organ alike have both recoiled a bit in the mix, giving extra room for Ashley Holt to strut his stuff. But I'm not hearing the sort of passion in his voice here I heard on "No Chance" or "Solitude"; his voice sounds wearier on Red Sea, though those looking for a confident vocal performance should be satisfied with the straightforwardly ballsy "Sybilla".

"I (Who Have Nothing)" is a great slower song to round off the record, and among the few that would have fit on the debut without a hitch. The lame balladry found in "Feeling Better" is enough to sour some of the album's positives, but Warhorse's two longer pieces may have actually hinted at a potential for better things. "Back in Time" is characterized by Ged Peck's fuzzy noodling, in the vague ballpark of what Page did in the mid-section of Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker". Best of all, without a doubt, is "Mouthpiece", a blues rock instrumental that aspires to greatness. This is the same Warhorse that impressed me so much with the debut, but a generally unmemorable set of songwriting keeps it from sounding anywhere near as enduring.

Red Sea isn't such a bad album overall, but the fact that it followed up such a tight record weighs heavily against it. Is that unfair to the music? It's possible. However, I don't think the album would be half as remembered by people today, had it not been heir apparent to one of hard rock's most underrated classics. For a band that rocked as hard as anything 1970 had to offer, Warhorse ended their career sounding remarkably... average.

 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.55 | 61 ratings

Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Warhorse' - Warhorse (81/100)

The story of Warhorse is virtually indistinguishable from the legend of Deep Purple. On the eve of creating some of the band's greatest records, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore fired original vocalist Rod Evans, and bassist Nick Simper. Evans, of course, would go on to found Captain Beyond, and a masterpiece of a self-titled debut at that. In Simper's case, Blackmore let him go on the grounds that his bass playing was supposedly too old fashioned for his artistic vision, so its fairly ironic that his new band Warhorse would dare to rock even harder than Deep Purple's early output. Like Captain Beyond, Warhorse would erupt with an excellent debut. While it may not have sparked a wholesome career (their second effort Red Sea wasn't quite so solid), Warhorse stands as one of the best hard rock albums I've heard from the era. Considering how many mediocres plagued the turn-of-decade British rock explosion, the fact that Warhorse still sound relatively exciting is more than reason enough to recommend them.

I could tell there was something special about Warhorse by the end of the first song, "Vulture Blood". Though it opens in a fairly typical manner for psych-tinged hard rock, Warhorse soon veer their opener down a corridor that reeks of proto-metal. Armed with a guitar/organ tag-team, Ged Peck and Frank Wilson's instrumental chops here recall the twin harmonies Iron Maiden would be pulling off almost a full decade after. While Warhorse's fuzzy drive still sounds very much a part of their time, the way they were using it on this album was impressive and occasionally even unpredictable. Again; I don't know how many times I've come across a psychedelic hard rock that painted by numbers more rigidly than a toddler with OCD. Warhorse never stray from the general expectations of their era, but they definitely had the special ingredient in their music that made them sound as exciting as they wanted to be.

That special ingredient may very well have been the passion of presentation. Ashley Holt's vocal performances on "No Chance" and "Solitude" are practically dripping with passionate energy, and the band's rhythm section sounds wide awake even with the album's most delicate parts. Ultimately though, I think Warhorse managed to set themselves apart via the variety and strength of their songwriting. Think of most of your favourite pop and rock masterpieces, and they should all have at least one thing in common: masters know how to make each song a distinctive experience apart from the others. "Vulture Blood" and "Burning" are proto-metallic trips into hard rock. "No Chance" and "Solitude" are power ballads with a rare vulnerability to their lyrics seen only rarely in their style. "Ritual" and "St. Louis" are more concise blues rockers, and "Woman of the Devil" is a stone's throw away from a 'Sabbath' with early doom, finally livened up by the end with a more conventional hard rock injection. All of the songs on Warhorse are solid, though they don't always mesh well together. "St. Louis", for example-- while by all means a fine upbeat blueser-- feels out-of-place in the midst of the album's occult and melancholic tone. All the same, with this or any debut, mistakes are expected to happen. What does matter is that Warhorse managed to stand apart from most of their contemporaries, in one that arguably ranked among the most crowded of genres circa 1970.

 Red Sea by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.95 | 44 ratings

Red Sea
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by maryes

2 stars WARHORSE "Red Sea" is the secound studio album from this British band, and in spite bring in his line-up at least two reasonable attractions - the bassist Nicky Simper (ex DEEP PURPLE) and Ashley Holt (future vocalist from Rick Wakeman's The English Rock Essemble) with his harsh and strong medium vocal timbre. However... the results are far from my expectations, and still I don't consider a "despicable" album, on the other hand exist very few moments to detach. One of these few moments as the track 1 "Red Sea" with a bass-guitar line that reminds a DEEP PURPLE'S theme called "Hush" and track 6 "Mouthpiece",this last much more due the drum solo, instead the musical theme. In fact the disk is much more a hard rock album with some psychedelic reminiscences ! In this way nor Holt's strong vocals are enough to save the album !!! My rate is 2 stars !!!
 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.55 | 61 ratings

Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The liner notes credit Warhorse with talent and innovation, saying they were among the Heavy Rock bands of the early seventies and worthy of credit. When the first album was released under the Vertigo label, the band found themselves being compared to Black Sabbath, also on Vertigo. Heavy guitar aside, however, Warhorse sound nothing like Black Sabbath; Warhorse had a Hammond organ. In fact, if you want comparisons to contemporary heavy bands of the early seventies I would say look no further than Uriah Heep. There are several instances on this album the Warhorse sound very similar to the Heep, and during one track I couldn't help but think of Vanilla Fudge's album "Renaissance".

Two main differences, however, would be guitarist Ged Peck's playing style, which sounds very much as though he graduated from the Ritchie Blackmore School Of Guitar (with a C+). The resemblance to Blackmore's style and sound is notable on at least three tracks, especially on "Ritual", which has a guitar solo and rhythm quite similar to Deep Purple's "Wring That Neck" (almost a direct rip-off in one part). It should come as no surprise then to find DP's original bass player, Nick Simper, as the leader of the Warhorse group. Perhaps he just had to have a Blackmore-esque guitarist along with a Hammond organ and he may have loved playing "Wring That Neck" so much that he had to have a close facsimile to that song on his band's album.

The other distinguishable sound of Warhorse is the vocal effort of Ashley Holt. A guy who can scream out notes when he wants to, Ashley Holt has a distinct voice, though not always in a favourable way. On "No Chance" he sounds more like he's half reading, half singing in a bored tone. The lyrics sound equally boring. Ashley Holt generally does not have an exciting voice in my opinion, though when he gets going, as in "St. Louise", he can let it rip. I would like to add a favourable comment that goes to Frank Wilson's organ playing. Perhaps he is the most skilled musician in the band, though without the degree of precision and style of Jon Lord.

The album starts off a bit slow, meaning it doesn't seem to do anything exciting or interesting until the third track, "Burning", and then does alright for the next three tracks. My personal favourite is the final track "Woman of the Devil", which actually does sound a little like Sabbath near the beginning.This song takes its time to build and has some decent bass parts. Ashly Holt's screams are full of raw power but the mix on the album puts an echo on them as if to make him sound more like Ian Gillan than he is capable of doing on his own. Was Simper trying to compete with the Mark II lineup of his former band?

The liner notes suggest the band's lack of success can be blamed on poor timing with record deals and internal problems but to me they just don't sound as exciting as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. I have gone back to listen to a few songs again recently, hoping my opinion would be more favourable this time round but sadly I still find most of the songs here only semi-inspired hard rock tunes that come across as vainly hoping to capture a slice of the Deep Purple market. It sounds derisive but that's my impression. Sorry Nicky.

 Red Sea by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.95 | 44 ratings

Red Sea
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars One thing I like about this vintage music is mostly the recording quality which actually not good according to modern standards. But if we look at the time when this album was released there is something peculiar that reminds me to the nuance of the 70s. Indeed, I like the sound very much. It's probably the recording technology that was truly analog recording that makes the listening experience enjoyable. For me personally, I need to mix my listening experience with the vintage recording like this to keep it balanced.

Musically, this second album by Warhorse is not bad at all even though it's not as good as the debut one. But it's alright as far as we do not expect something complex in its composition. From the opening track Red Sea (4:20) we can hear the sound of 70s with its simple straight forward composition in vintage rock style. There is no guitar solo as Deep Purple, for example, but it's quite OK overall. So is the case with the other tracks that follow after this. On thing that I always like listening to this album is the sixth track Mouthpiece (8:43) that is so nice instrumental composition using Hammond organ. The pop song I (Who Have Nothing) (5;16) sounds different here because it's sung in rock style. The other thing I love about Warhorse is the vocal quality of Ashley Holt - I always mentioned this on my reviews about the quality and style of Ashley Holt.

Overall, I like this album because of the music is quite simple and the recording quality is so vintage. Keep on proggin' ....!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.55 | 61 ratings

Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There's probably an underlying story beneath the crack of this album; almost like a tale of two bands made by ex-Deep Purple men. More attention has been given to Captain Beyond, singer Rod Evans's project (along with Bobby Caldwell and Iron Butterfly castoffs), but I felt I needed to give big sister Warhorse a chance (bassist Nick Simper's doing). Simper's band came out before Evans's did, and it really sounds like it.

Warhorse pretty much sounds just like a 60's Deep Purple offshoot, or a sound-alike to Uriah Heep. Heavy rock cluttered with Hammond organs squeezing in a couple of ballad/epic (on this album, the words are interchangeable) things pretty much is this album. I wouldn't call it unique by any stretch of the imagination, and that's what hurts WARHORSE; it sounds too much like ''insert-70's-Hammond-organ-rock-band-here''. The playing and riffing are far from terrible, singer Ashley Holt is only partially annoying (I really wish he didn't aim for the high notes) and there are a few catchy songs here even without a definitive highlight.

Believe it or not, the least prog track ''St. Louis'' is my personal favourite track (there's hometown bias, but still...). ''Woman of the Devil'' has a Captain Beyond-like beginning (time-sig wise), and both ''Burning'' and ''Ritual'' have great riffing foundations. The ballady epics ''No Chance'' and ''Solitude'' drive me nuts no thanks to the vocals that sound as if Holt just read the words straight from a piece of paper and sang just to hit the notes right. My idea of singing (having stage experience) is not to sing but to tell a story or communicate beit an album or stage, and about 90% of rock, pop and otherwise singers don't have that ability. It bothers me when the piece aims to emote, but none of the performers (instrumentalists included) really make the emotion credible.

Unlike the Captain Beyond debut, WARHORSE isn't that long lost classic. The points where the energy really translates well is counter-balanced by yawner monotonies. Aside from that, WARHORSE is in no way unique or special musically, and I consider the project fringe prog; I'm fine with them belonging in Heavy Prog, but it's still a stretch. If it didn't sound like a proggy REO TWO or it had that IT factor that made it stand out amongst the crowd of 70's rock bands, I might have liked WARHORSE more.

 Red Sea by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.95 | 44 ratings

Red Sea
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This band released a damned good debut album a year prior Red Sea which is unfortunately also their last one.

The opening song and title track is fully Mark I oriented as if nostalgia was still very much present for Nick (he was sacked from Purple in 69). The overall sound of this album, is heavier than ever. In a way, a song as Back In Time can compete with Purple Mark II slow and heavy number like Bloodsucker or Into The Fire from the magnificent In Rock album.

It also has the defect of the time: an average guitar solo in the middle which might be a live asset but that is quite useless here. Self-indulgence is the word. Song writing is also less impressive on Red Sea. A song as Confident But Wrong only emerges thanks to the excellent guitar break for instance.

The bluesy Feeling Better and the below average lyrics is by no mean an improvement IMO. I have to say that this album is quite a deception so far. The heavy psychedelic Sybilla and its echoed vocals sounds pretty outdated and again, the bluesy mood is not much appreciated by yours truly.

Self indulgence also characterizes the long instrumental Mouthpiece. It is a showcase for each band member to prove his abilities; but again you could do so during concerts but not especially on a studio album. Even in the early seventies. All this drumming solo was not all that necessary in my opinion.

The closing number (I), even if on the mellow side, is my favourite of the original album. It is another trip into the Mark I repertoire. The organ work is excellent and at least each musician is performing for the whole unity of the band and not for himself. Vocals are rather powerful as well.

And that's it for this album.A major disappointment as far as I'm concerned.

The CD comes with an awful lot of bonus tracks (like their first album). There is a second live version of their very good Ritual from their debut; but another live version was already available as a bonus on their first CD re-release. So, I don' believe that it was necessary to have a second one. Anyway, this good song is welcome here.

All the other songs (five in total) are demos of unreleased tracks. None of them are highlights but they aren't bad either. The good rocking Bad Time has lost the heavy feeling that is mostly present on Red Sea.

She Was My Friend is a good rock ballad, again on a much smoother tone than usual but he funky/heavy Gypsy Dancer won't remain in the music history, I'm afraid. Surprisingly enough, an excellent is featured as a bonus track: House Of The Dolls. It is the only song that could compete with their excellent debut album. It is a fine and highly energetic piece of hard-rock music which could have easily fit onto a Mark II album: the best stuff available on this CD which closes on a more conventional and good heavy-rock song (Standing Right Behind You).

Two stars.

 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.55 | 61 ratings

Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In the same way that I was interested into "Captain Beyond" because of Rod Evans, I was quite keen on listening to "Warhorse" and Nick Simper. And I was not disappointed.

What came to my mind while I was listening the opening number was a great feeling of satisfaction: superb Hammond organ, wild beat. A great hard-rock moment. BUT what I could absolutely not stand were the shouts of their lead singer (Ashley Holt). He kind of ruined my opinion about this otherwise great track.

Things are getting much better on his side during "No Chance". He is effectively singing here (and not shouting) and the band keeps on their impeccable duty on all of the instruments. It is one of my favourite songs from this album (but there are plenty).

When "Burning" starts, the Purple feeling is inevitable. The rhythmic section is doing a fine performance (Nick is really outstanding here). This song features all the elements a hard-rock fan is keen on listening: great beat, fine vocals and a sublime organ work. Frank Wilson is an excellent keys player. He is really pumping magnificent sounds out of his organ. I guess that the best references to mention are Lord, Hensley and Crane. This album is a real good dynamite one. The frenetic "St. Louis" (a cover from the "Easybeats") is a formidable rock and pop anthem. This album doesn't leave you breathe for a second (well, only the blanks between the songs I guess).

The same musical skills can be noticed in "Ritual". This time, it is the occasion for Ged Peck to offer a gorgeous guitar solo. Needless to say that the beat is quite sustained as well. Dynamite, I just told you.

Some production problem are noticeable with the vocal parts during the magnificent "Solitude". It is another fantastic song which starts almost tranquil and develops in a fabulous crescendo. Fully prog key parts, crying guitar and languish, passionate vocals. My goodness! This album is quite a ride! Highlights after highlights. "Solitude" is a BEAUTIFUL track.

The closing number has a similar struture as "Solitude". It opens on a fantastic keys section which started slowly and accelerates like hell. Mark I is pretty close. Even the funky orientation of "Woman Of The Devil" can't prevent me to like it. Heavy psychedelia, crazy beat, destroying guitar riffs coupled with a killer solo. This is great music.

This album really rocks from start to finish. It is a pity that this release was almost unexposed at the time of recording. This is a great hard-rock album IMHHO.

The CD edition is completed with several live tracks as well as a demo song ("Miss Jane"). While the unreleased studio track is avoidable, it is needless to say that the rendition of "Ritual" is not shy of the studio counterpart. It is a pity that "Solitude" has been emasclated by half while played "live" and ends quite abruptly. I put "live" into bracket because these songs are live in the studio actually. Still, they remain excellent and it is a shame that no official "Warhorse" live recordings are available.

These versions should be rather consider as demos as well. Both "Woman..." and "Burning" are again on par with the studio release. Which means VERY GOOD as the whole album.

I can't think of a lower rating than four stars.

 Red Sea by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.95 | 44 ratings

Red Sea
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Impressive second album by the highly talented if flawed Warhorse, a heavy progressive dynamo that threw together everything from Creedence, Zeppelin, and the Allmans to Tull, Wakeman, and ELP. There is also a Deep Purple connection as bassist Nick Simper was an early Purple bandmember. Much of the singing is not the best and the session would have benefited immensely from a Rod Stewart or even a Joe Cocker, but those vocalists were undoubtedly busy (as was Rick Wakeman evidently, as he failed to appear at Warhorse rehearsals so often he was replaced on keys by Frank Wilson) and this group did, as all struggling musicians do, the best with what they could find.

The title rocks with tough organ from Wilson, Simper and drummer Mac Poole's (later of Gong) firm groove, Peter Parks' sweet guitar harmonies and Ashley Holt's strained moaning. 'Back in Time' follows-up in stride, Holt's primal scream serving well and a reasonable guitar break from Parks culminating in a psych jam. The commercial 'Confident But Wrong' is typical but good Rhythm n' Blues with an organ interlude, but the soggy ballad 'Feeling Better' disappoints and 'Sibila' is classic early stoner rock with more sweet guitars. 'Mouthpiece' redeems them with a fabulous display of each player's abilities.

Why the band failed to take off in the way they might have is debated; bad timing, not enough promotion or record company support... but considering the period [how's this for an interesting perspective from Philip S. Walker's notes; "...Heavy Rock as a style grew out of Progressive Rock sometime in the early 1970s. The trend setters were Deep Purple and Black Sabbath"] 'Red Sea' may just not have been competitive or distinct enough an offering. But a very good prog album is in there somewhere and if you gravitate to this sort of early 70s amalgam of semi-classical organ power and gritty hard rockin', Warhorse were one of the most promising if unfulfilled groups of that era. Five extra demo cuts and a live track are included on the 1999 reissue.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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