(*Note: excessive track length on trk 10 / 'Nature' fixed Oct 15, 2013)
Michael Rose is definitely on a roll. I pegged his previous release African Roots as his best, but Warrior tops it (if only marginally). It's certainly the closest Rose has come has come to capturing the sound of his Black Uhuru days. That may or may not have been his intention, but given the presence of such Uhuru-era players as Sly Dunbar and Daryl Thompson and the prominence of female backing vocals on a few tracks (beautifully rendered by Rochelle Bradshaw), the comparisons are hard to ignore. Similarly, the riddims are reminiscent of a time when reggae was hardening up a bit inna "rockers" stylee while keeping that necessary pulse. Warrior isn't nostalgia, though. It's Rose continuing to grow and develop even as he retains many of the strengths that make him one of reggae's most distinctive artists. He's toned down his vocal eccentricities noticeably without losing the combination of ominous and playful tones that's served him so well for so long. His convictions regarding spiritual matters ("Zion"), self-assuredness ("Solid Ground," "Them a Look") and his own brand of militancy ("Warrior") are delivered in a commanding, clear-headed voice of reason that very nearly epitomizes what modern roots is (or at least ought to be) all about. So, is there anything wrong with this disc? Well, apart from the fact that the last track runs 12 minutes but only has four minutes worth of song, not really. This is Rose's second full-length album for producer/mixer/multi--instrumentalist Ryan Moore's M Records, and the affiliation continues to be a perfect fit. Great songs, clean but edgy sound, varied arrangements, top-flight musicians, and a singer in peak form; Warrior has all that and more going for it - Tom Orr
released 12 May 2006
Produced & mixed by Ryan Moore
A Twilight Circus Production
Musicians: Sly Dunbar, Dean Fraser, Skully, Nambo, Chinna Smith, Bowie McLachlan, Daryl Thompson, Wally Badarou, Ryan Moore
Recorded in London, Kingston - Jamaica & Studio Twilight - NL.