The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
CDWar and Peace the Flesh and Blood Sessions review








Originally released in 1999 the Deadline re-release of Jeff Pilson’s first project after leaving Dokken has seen the light of day before, but here it’s repackaged in an expanded format. For those not familiar with the band originally called ‘Flesh and Blood’ but forced to change their name to ‘War and Peace’ due to another band of the same name you have been missing out on a gem.


‘War and Peace’ went on to release four albums but by then the band had a very different line up to the axis of Jeff, Vinny Appice, Michael Diamond and Randy Hansen represented here. Along the way of course they had in their ranks both Russ Parrish (of Steel Panther) and Ricky Parent (who spent time in Enuff Z’Nuff.


All that is by the by, as what you get here is some great hard rock that underlines the huge contribution Pilson played in defining the Dokken sound, both in terms of song writing but also in musical arrangements and vocals.


If anything this slab of ‘War and Peace’, even though the tunes are essentially remixed and reproduced demos, is as good as anything from that later first period of Dokken. So if you are looking for something that has both stood the test of time remarkably well but which also is a bit of a ‘what might have been’ then this is for you. If you’re a Dokken fan this is also for you.


Check out tracks like opener ‘Kill for the Love of God’ and you can only imagine where this would have led to, it’s heaviness seems years ahead of its time. Pilson’s vocals are spot on. Indeed the first 5 tracks from the original demo really do capture that Dokken sound but add to it; and of those initial tracks it has to be ‘Nailed to the Cross’ that marks the peak for me at least, but ‘If I Put my Love in You’ gives it a run for its money. It’s metal with some great melodies, interesting lyrics and strong riffs, quite simply as good as it got in those days which makes the lack of label support at the time all the more surprising.


Of the songs Pilson wrote later with Michael Diamond ‘Idle Worship’ is another stand out track.  But I can’t stress enough how much this album stands on its own two feet, a worthy addition to any collection that needs a bit more melodic Metal. Bonus track ‘Heaven Knows’ which Jeff dusted off especially for this release and which dates back to around 1990 is a worthy addition to and bridges the gap between that first phase of War and Peace and the band that put out 1993’s ‘Time Capsule’.
A great album and not just for completists.   



Mark Diggins