Another Million Dollars Gone… New York’s finest on a goddamned coffee break–James Ray’s Gangwar’s ‘Dios Esta De Nuestro Lado’ hits 25
By: Peter Marks
We’d been anxiously awaiting this one well before it arrived; preceded by two singles and on the auspicious (later to become odious) Merciful Release label, this was an album which did not even try to hide what it was: swaggering, macho, and at times nihilistic. Leather, whiskey and wheels… No quarter was given to the press or the uninitiated, JRG were at the peak of their powers during this era. I could link the heartland fanzine articles but if you’re reading this odds are you’ve already got those memorized.
If you wonder what this is all about then point your cynical millennial browsers at the tube, a hint may await.
James Ray had dutifully done his time in The Performance and had risen quite high for Newcastle having provided vocals on The Sisterhood’s one record ‘Gift’ and while we’d loved ‘Texas’ to bits there was more to explore. What was that you ask, well take a ride with me on-line 35 downtown… into Second Avenue records we go to ask the naïvely leading question “what’s in gothic box number three?” I should have known what I was in for when the fellow I’d asked smirked. Oh you have it in stock do you, I’d not counted on this. Do tell.
With what else was going on that year, you’d have been forgiven for not noticing this one but then few on this side of the pond did. I had to educate many and I obviously still am, does the number reading this article number above 10? But forget all that, were the songs worth it? There were hints dropped about the recordings going on and if only Gangwar had kept this line-up, Roy Neave may as well have been in the band as his influence from their Performance days shines through broadly.
Yeah that was a b-side before it became a compilation.
Well then, back to it. Namely a song like “Badlands” which in under the span of three minutes absolutely killed it. He’s had many projects since Gangwar but none -and I do mean NONE- of them have a cut like this in their arsenal. Don’t mind the Manson sample, he won’t, but do take heed of the immaculate textures which overtake one another to produce a very shiny, seamless tune. You may even find yourself singing along, I still do after twenty-five years.
First there was a collapse of civilization… I like the pain, I like the misery. Who knew a Van Damme flick could be employed to such savage ends. Not even McCoy’s cameo in ‘Hardware’ could have taken it this far which is probably why there hasn’t been a record like ‘Dios Esta De Nuestro Lado’ since; God can only pick one side to be on, after all.
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