It’s been about fifteen years since Paul Di’Anno, one of my favourite metal vocalists, last released an album of new material. That album was (like so much of Di’Anno’s work) the under-appreciated Nomad from 2000 (this album was later repackaged as The Living Dead by Magick/Cleopatra Records in 2006 and was given a quite well done music video for the title track). But at long last, that’s about to change. His new band Architects of Chaoz have just finished recording material for their debut album League of Shadows and have announced that it will be released on the 29th May.
For me Paul will always be the voice of Iron Maiden, he gave them a rawness I feel they have lacked ever since his departure back in 1981 (Paul always mentions in interviews how he had come from a punk background before joining Maiden). With the albums Iron Maiden, Killers and Number of the Beast I feel my Iron Maiden collection is pretty much complete. Unfortunately, though, since leaving Maiden Di’Anno’s solo career has seemed a little unfocused. His first post-Maiden band DiAnno lasted only one, in my opinion, unremarkable self-titled album, which was released in 1984. The music on Di’Anno was very far removed from Maiden.”The music we were putting together was certainly different – still with a hard rock edge, but with keyboards, time changes and a more progressive feel,” recollected Paul on page 114 of his autobiography The Beast. “I tell people now that it was sort of like Rush meets Duran Duran . . .” He goes on to say on page 116, “It was an experiment, really, just to see what happened. I have to say that the progressive, sort of melodic-rock approach we took, with the keyboards and that, were never really my thing.”
After that band broke up Di’Anno returned with the band Battlezone, they managed two albums, Fighting Back (1986) and Children of Madness (1987), before breaking up. “When Battlezone finally split up, that was nearly it for me,” wrote Di’Anno on page 181 of The Beast. “The end. I just went home and shut the fucking the door on it all. I couldn’t really be arsed with it any more. At that point, I could have turned my back on the whole business for good, and that’s the truth.” But again Di’Anno came back, this time with probably his best post-maiden band, so perhaps it’s fitting that their name harkens back to DiAnno’s time with Maiden, this band was Killers. Their first album Murder One (1992) is awesome and in my opinion as good as anything Maiden have put out. Their second album Menace to Society (1994), though good, was however not as good as Murder One. Di’Anno tries some Phil Anselmo-like vocal stylings here and whole thing sounds very Pantera-ish – just not as good. And then that was it (another band bites the dust), Killers disbanded. Di’Anno had some trouble with the law. After serving some time, he was deported and became barred from returning to the US. Setting up home in Brazil, he reformed Battlezone for a great album called Feel My Pain (1998) only to then disband it again. And that’s when we get Di’Anno’s last release Nomad.
Since that album further solo albums, though talked about in interviews, have never materialised. There was even a Killers reunion and album, The Lazarus Syndrome, announced. The album was scheduled to be released in 2014, I’m still waiting!
From Iron Maiden to Di’Anno to Battlezone to Killers then back to Battlezone, Paul Di’Anno just can’t seem settle down and find his home within a band for too long. But now with the Architects of Choaz will things be different? I hope so but, to be honest, I doubt it.
People nowadays seem to enjoy mocking Di’Anno (and there is a lot to make fun of) but he’s a great vocalist and lyricist and deserves respect. He might not be the most focused artist ever (his solo website hasn’t even been updated with news of his new band yet) but he’s still a talent and I just hope we get more than one Architects of Chaoz album and that I get to see them play a venue in London soon.
To support the band check out their facebook page.