For a long time, the English Dogs were a band of two distinct halves: the metal Dogs and the punk Dogs, and for a while you even had both versions out on tour at once and it all got a bit acrimonious. Now, whilst most fans were partial to one, but not the other, your humble reviewer always had a soft spot for both incarnations of the band, which is why Unholy Alliance are such a welcome addition to the scene.
Proving beyond all doubt that you can teach an old Dog new tricks, Unholy Alliance sees ‘metal Dogs’ vocalist Adie teaming up with most of the ‘punk Dogs’, namely Nick, Tat and Grizz (minus irrepressible vocalist Wakey, of course) and forging their own path defiantly straight down the middle of the two camps. ‘Guns And Gods’ and ‘You Don’t Know Me’ could almost have been lifted straight from the classic ‘To The Ends Of The Earth’ 12” (35 years old now and the veritable launch pad of UK crossover) whilst ‘Looking At The Strangers’ harks all the way back to 1983 and the incendiary ‘Mad Punx & English Dogs’ 12”. The fact that none of Unholy Alliance played on the latter, and only one of them was involved with the former, matters not one jot when they’ve captured the excitement and power of don’t-give-a-fuck metallic punk with such conviction.
The production is thick and gnarly, capturing an abrasive edge to the band that suits Adie’s rasp to a tee, and there’s some great musicianship on display, not least of all from bassist Tat who underpins Nick’s aggressive riffs with some fluidly melodic roving runs. So, the best of both worlds then – and there’s no need to take sides anymore. Ian Glasper