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WARHORSE

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Warhorse biography
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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WarhorseWarhorse
Import
Angel Air 1999
Audio CD$11.49
$6.63 (used)
Red SeaRed Sea
Import
ANGEL AIR 2008
Audio CD$11.88
$9.98 (used)
Red SeaRed Sea
Import
Repertoire 2010
Audio CD$10.04
$9.98 (used)
As Heaven Turns to AshAs Heaven Turns to Ash
Southern Lord 2001
Audio CD$377.84
$19.98 (used)
St. Louis (UK first pressing vinyl single)St. Louis (UK first pressing vinyl single)
Vertigo
Vinyl$99.99 (used)
Red SeaRed Sea
Synergie OMP 2011
Audio CD$15.99
SeductionSeduction
Unknown
Vinyl$60.00 (used)
The Warhorse Story Vol.2 - Red SeaThe Warhorse Story Vol.2 - Red Sea
Import · Extra tracks
RPM
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WARHORSE discography


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

3.63 | 40 ratings
Warhorse
1970
2.85 | 27 ratings
Red Sea
1972

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WARHORSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Red Sea by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.85 | 27 ratings

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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 !!!

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 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.63 | 40 ratings

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Warhorse
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by FragileKings

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.

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 Red Sea by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.85 | 27 ratings

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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

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 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.63 | 40 ratings

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Warhorse
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.

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 Red Sea by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.85 | 27 ratings

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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.

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 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.63 | 40 ratings

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Warhorse
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.

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 Red Sea by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.85 | 27 ratings

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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.

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 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.63 | 40 ratings

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Warhorse
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by Deepslumber

5 stars After this record Deep Purple should be dead. Why? Because their fans shoul change into Warhorse fans. What an album this is! Strong rock tracks like Vulture Blood, great epic ballad Solitude and very catchy tracks like Ritual (you should definilty find the live version from Beat Club). Rock as it best. No dull moments here. Deep Purple Mk II fans - this is your favourite album (even if you don't know it yet). If there is something like hard rock (oh, how much I don't like this two words...), it's definitely Warhorse. An essential; for every music lover.

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 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.63 | 40 ratings

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Warhorse
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Wanna know the truth? I just bought this album last week! Pity me . I heard the band since it was late seventies (if I'm not mistaken) but I never felt attracted to purchase the album and only recently when I visited the studio of our new local classic rock radio: The Jakarta Alternative Station (why they call it alternative? Because it's the only classic rock radio down here!) I was amazed with the fact that this band produced very good music when this radio owner (Ilham) showed me the CD he copied from collection of 10,000 LPs!. So the next day after I visited the station, I went to CD store and found this album that cost me USD 18 - which is too expensive for me. Oh . what a price! But never mind - it must justify the investment. Right there in the store I opened the digipak (remastered edition) and asked the storekeeper to play this CD. Boom! "Vulture Blood" rocked the store man .!! People who were visiting the store quite surprised with this radical (and unexpected) change from what was played before which was Britney Spears or Mariah Carey . or whoever I don't know, it doesn't matter. What matters most is WARHORSE rocked the CD store!!! Yeah man .. Kip on rokin' .

What surprised me was the fact when I opened the CD inlay and found this name printed: Ashley Holt. Wow! What a great surprise for. I had been wondering for long about who is this gentleman when I was amazed with his contribution to early Rick Wakeman's albums. He sang wonderfully "You shall hang said the judge ." in "The Prisoner" from No Earthly Connection - Rick's masterpiece! Now .. I gotcha man .!! Finally. So, by knowing this, my USD 18 investment is really justified and I actually should have bought this album long time ago. The only information that I got about Warhorse had always been: a band by Deep Purple's former bassist Nick Simpler. That's it. No one mentioned that Ashley Holt was there. And now I understand why Rick Wakeman asked him to contribute to Rick's early albums.

The music of this album is really nuansamatik - that is a music that truly represents the era of rock music in the seventies. The recording quality is very analog and it creates great value for me personally. As the era was characterized by the use of Hammond organ so is the case with this album. The Hammond organ sound by Frank Wilson is really killing me even from the opening track "Vulture Blood". I would not deny that the music is pretty close with early albums of Deep Purple. The other characteristic is the guitar-playing style which is very bluesy and a bit funk but it merges wonderfully with the rock elements. Nick Simpler's inventive bass guitar playing style is very obvious here.

The album kicks off with a church organ sound that opens "Vulture Blood" (6:13) followed with dynamic drum and guitar work that remarks the rock part of the music. Ashley Holt sings wonderfully with organ as key rhythm section augmented with guitar work by Ged Peck. It's so classic and it's so rewarding .. Especially the organ solo . followed with guitar in alternate uh man .. it's killing me. If you are listening to this album with headphone, you will find great bass guitar playing. "No Chance" (6:22) is a bit melancholic with great organ work at background and melodic singing part. This is true seventies! This is one of my favorite tracks. "Burning" (6:17) brings the music upbeat with still maintaining soaring organ and stunning guitar work. The organ playing style reminds me to Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep. "Ritual" guitar work at opening part reminds me to Deep Purple's music. "Solitude" (8:48) is another excellent track exploring acoustic guitar and organ with vocal power. The chords and notes used are somewhat very progressive. "Woman of the Devil" (7:16) sees the combination of Emerson's The Nice and Deep Purple music. Excellent.

This album is highly recommended. If you can appreciate classic rock / prog music in the seventies, this album is a must. I never regret to purchase this CD that is actually expensive for me. I still want to purchase the second album which featured a song that became a national hit at that time. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.63 | 40 ratings

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Warhorse
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by lesbaker999

4 stars I was lucky enough to see this band many years back and recently obtained their album which I had early lost. They were very good, and quite possibly one of the best bands of their day. Their set consisted of highly complex arrangements, but the sheer raw power of the playing was not lost.

But the guy that really struck me as truly great was the guitarist, Ged Peck. He could do things that I've never seen anyone else do. He was fast beyond belief, although he never pranced about like others. He was the basis of that band and when he left, they clearly lost direction.

As for the album, I really feel that although it's very good, it only gives a small indication of the talent of this group.

Perhaps - as a budding guitarist myself in these days - I'm just a slight bit biased, but there were many others like me who used to stand in awe in front of that guy trying to learn how he did it. He was the finest, without doubt, and it's a shame that few people have heard of him.

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