ALBUM REVIEW: Unholy Alliance – No Dogs Allowed (Nunny Dave Records)
Unholy Alliance burst onto the ‘older punks scene’ at the back end of 2018 and came to my attention when they were supporting Cockney Rejects at The Lantern, Halifax.
Ever since that gig, I’ve been waiting for the band to release something due to the impressive performance they put on that December night.
The wait is over as their first recording, No Dogs Allowed, is out now on Nunny Dave Records.
The title of the record might well be a cheeky nod and a wink reference to the band’s past, when they were known as English Dogs.
English Dogs started off as a UK82 punk band who ‘metal-morphosised’ into one of the best UK punk/metal crossover bands of the mid-1980s, releasing the superb Forward Into Battle LP.
But Unholy Alliance kick the living crap out of English Dogs musically speaking with this 30-minute slab of D-beat punk-metal.
If you like the noises in your head to be driven by Discharge-style distortion, punk-metal guitar riffs and angry, aggressive vocals then this album is for you.
Likewise, if you like your punk to be about war, corruption, religion and the monarchy then No Dogs Allowed ticks that box too.
It’s an absolute killer of an album which deserves much more coverage than it’s getting at the moment (ie virtually none).
It’s 11 brutal tracks and not one dud amongst them. the standouts are those which characterise D-beat – namely, Guns And Gods, Enemy Closing In and Mercy Killings.
The title track sounds almost as if it was taken from the aforementioned Forward Into Battle LP, as you can definitely hear ye olde English Dogs howling and growling influences throughout (as well as a sprinkling of Exciter).
Look What I Had for Tea is a commentary of the banality of social media. It was this song at the Halifax gig (and their cover of H Eyes by The Ruts – dedicated to a local lad who died of heroin use) that made me want to find out more about this band.
Speaking of food pics, check out the mischievous image on the CD itself – something they had for their tea at another fine punk-promoting venue (namely, the Black Bull, Gateshead).
But the best two tracks (impossible to pick one) are Looking At Strangers and Never Before. The whole album features great guitar riffs and pounding bass lines – but these two in particular are exceptional.
Tat’s bass playing is among the best in the business – and I have a feeling that many of these songs have been built around his frantic, furious fretwork.
Take a listen to the bass line intro to Never Before which opens the album and you’ll see why his musicianship stands head and shoulders above many of his contemporaries – and he is definitely up there with the likes of Lemmy, Burton and Rainy as a Fellow of the Gods of Four Strings!
No Dogs Allowed is available direct from the band on their FaceBook page for £10, some of which goes to a local foodbank.
Alternatively, check them out live at The Black Bull in Gateshead (July 19) or The Blind Pig in Sowerby Bridge (July 20), where the CD will be for sale.
It’s one of the best things you’ll see and buy in 2019!