Reviews & Recommendations
You are not our heroes anymore
Dim the lights the time is come
Into the ring the father and the son
-- Heroe - NMA
New Model Army
(Justin Sullivan, & Co)
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"From their beginnings on, the New Model Army (named after the English revolutionary army of Oliver Cromwell) were respected for their working class-ethics and uncompromised views on politics which never bowed to anything. With the interesting mixture of melodic punk, frequent acoustic parts, occasional folk and the charismatic voice of fronter Justin Sullivan, they were able to gather a small but loyal followership, and especially their concerts are events which shouldn´t be missed."
-- wavemeister,

"New Model Army began in the early 1980s as a tried-and-true rock trio, playing songs like "Great Expectations" and "No Rest" with the punchy pogo drums and bass of punk and the atmospheric guitars of an early U2 or Alarm. But always in the background -- in the songwriting, for certain, but also in the occasional harmonica and acoustic guitar -- was the specter of American and English folk music. It was when Sullivan (NMA's primary consistency) embraced that folk passion, with fiddles and more unabashed traditional-song influences in his songwriting, that the band came into its own. It's then that the heart-on-sleeve everyday anthems became something more, something particular to NMA and not necessarily for the average new waver."
-- Justin Hopper,, 3/04

 Discography - Album / CD Reviews

1983: Vengeance

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1985: No rest for the wicked audio

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**** 1986: The Ghost of Cain audio

"This is the 3rd record from the most criminally underrated band in the world. Describing it is difficult; I would venture to say that it sounds like Killing Joke with a little bit of 80's gothic rock thrown in. It's really difficult to nail down their style though, as the music is so unbelievably unique and original - you're better off just listening to it. The general feel of the album is one of the sophistication and maturity of their later records coupled with the raw energy of the early ones. Although all of NMA's records are great, this is the point where the two styles meet and an essential album in anyone's collection, no matter what kind of music you listen to. I know people into goth, alternative, punk, folk rock, metal, etc. who enjoy this album - it's a true example of a completely successful musical crossover that anyone can enjoy.
-- Answer Machine "trpsodoom", amazon customer, 7/01

****½ 1989: Thunder and Consolation audio

"A decade after forming, New Model Army finally released its masterpiece, 'Thunder and Consolation'. The guidance of mainstream producer Tom Dowd on a half-dozen tracks and the occasional presence of a violin do nothing to quell the fury of these electric-folk heroes. In fact, Dowd's sumptuous touches on the epic Green and Grey add immeasurable drama to Slade's passionate, opaque lyricism. The songs, on the whole, are the most personal the band has ever recorded — especially the searing "Inheritance," on which Slade manages to not sound foolish chanting a bitter message to his parents over a stark drum track. The CD adds five songs, including New Model Army's three studio tracks and the haunting, heartfelt Nothing Touches."

***½ 1990: Impurityaudio
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**** 1992: History: The Singles 85-91audio
"... the six years bundled up here were just as stellar. The group released a dozen singles during this period, and the A-sides all appear here in chronological order, kicking off with the blind fury of No Rest, down into the bitter irony of 51st State, through the desolation of science gone insane of White Coats, across the outcasts' anthem of Vagabonds, into the nostalgic valleys of Green and Grey, diving into the barely suppressed rage of "Purity," and ending live in Space. (...) It's a stunning collection of hard-hitting songs, further plumped by two new numbers cut for this set. It's the best recruitment tool in their kit and a stellar introduction to New Model Army's militant world."
-- Jo-Ann Greene, AMG

1993: The Love of Hopeless Causes
"Perhaps mindful of the concert record's invigorating sound, 'The Love of Hopeless Causes' (New Model Army's first American release in four years) was waxed live in the studio with Niko Bolas and then mixed by veteran producer Bob Clearmountain, achieving a fine compromise between clarity and rawness. The blasting single Here Comes the War alternates between anxious verses and the intense power-chord-fueled chorus: /Put out the lights on the age of reason/. A distorted synth-bass riff rolls through the laconic ballad Living in the Rose, while These Words is another intimate acoustic creations. New Model Army's biggest strength has always been Sullivan's songwriting and bullshit-immune moral fervor, and traditionally styled Army tunes (minor-key bittersweet anthems all) like Believe It, White Light and Bad Old World are heavily armed with melody, heart and hooks. Filled with self-questioning and regret, the last of those is an especially well-written and personal observation on friends who have chosen to drop out of urban society and head off for the simple life."

1998: Strange Brotherhoodaudio
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2000: Eightaudio
"... the blast of the early albums is replaced by a sharp blade of sound. Previous albums were war, this is a knife-fight. Personal issues are here: self-doubt, loss of loved ones, desire to escape "the struggle". There's also the global issues - our media spoon-feeding , road-building, the current state of rock'n'roll... No surprises there! Justin Sullivan has split from his long-time partner in the band, Rob Heaton, and enlisted 2 new musicians, Michael Dean and Dean White, to join the other 2 regulars. The new energy is very evident, but restrained, sharp, tight."
-- Danny Child, customer, 3/00

****¼ 2003: Great Expectations: The Singles Collection

"Throughout their 20 year history, New Model Army have never really fallen into a clearly defined musical genre. That's one of the reasons why nothing on 'Great Expectations,' their new singles collection, sounds the least bit dated. Existing just outside the mainstream, the group has consistently put out fantastic, emotionally charged rock music with highly intelligent lyrics and a slightly dark edge. 'Great Expectations' is really just a small sampling of what New Model Army are about, but it serves as a great introduction to the band."
--, 03

***¾ 2005: Carnival audio

Musicfolio Picks: Too Close To The Sun, Another Imperial Day, Water, Red Earth
"... there’s idiocy in the corridors of power, corruption brewing in the UN soup kitchen, army men strewn across the sandpit and terrorism in the understairs cupboard. Plenty to be pissed off about. A little disheartening, then, that NMA wait until four Carnival tracks in to break into caustic assault mode. Nonetheless, the one-two combo of nervous lament and guitar wall onslaught that drives Carlisle Road through a grim tale of social breakdown finally kicks off an impressive sequence. Red Earth employs a similar structural approach for it’s impassioned call to arms, and Too Close to the Sun distracts with teasing beauty before delivering the sharp slap of environmental collapse. This chunk of worthy rabble-rousing, rounded off by Another Imperial Day (amongst other things, a prolonged jab at Britain’s hypocritical deportation of political asylum seekers to such wonderful safe-havens as Iraq and Zimbabwe), forms the album’s solid core. What surrounds this focused centre can feel a little flabby at times though, especially if you turned up for some fist-pumping progressive zeal. Entirely excused from this criticism is Fireworks Night, the tribute to the late Robert Heaton—which closes the album with majestic grace and the heartfelt emotion of genuine friendship."
-- Peter Parrish, Stylus Magazine, 9/05

***¼ 2007: High audio

Tracklisting: 1.Wired 2.One Of The Chosen 3.High 4.No Mirror, No Shadow 5.Dawn 6.All Consuming Fire 7.Sky In Your Eyes 8.Into The Wind 9.Nothing Dies Easy 10.Breathing 11.Rivers 12.Bloodsports

"It's all a very long way from the 1980s rash of post-punk, proto syndicalist agit-pop, but New Model Army have prevailed. As dedicated as ever to their craft of melodic rock with something to say, front man Justin Sullivan has wrapped his vocal chords around a dystopian wealth of words that invoke the twisted souls of Nick Cave and Henry Rollins at their best, but recall a depressed John Martyn at their worst. Musically, NMA have settled into a kind of mid-range soft rock, but that hasn't diluted their ire and songs like Bloodsports encapsulate much that is wrong with the world. The addition of blues guitar master Marshall Gill has given the band greater musical scope, but it's unlikely they'll get to preach to anyone other than the previously converted."
-- Nick Churchill,, 8/07

*** 2009: Today is a Good Day

Tracklisting: 1. Today Is A Good Day 2. Autumn 3. Peace Is Only 4. States Radio 5. God Save Me 6. Disappeared 7. Ocean Rising 8. Mambo Queen Of The Sandstone City 9. La Push 10. Arm Yourselves & Run 11. Bad Harvest 12. North Star
"After almost 30 years of making music, New Model Army release their 11th studio album. The line-up has changed over the years and each album is a little different from what ever went before, but still at the helm, and unmistakably so, is Justin Sullivan – main songwriter, lyricist and the underpinning creative force. (...) Except for the final track, the album was recorded without a click track and also without much embellishment and that raw 'live’ feeling is evident. The eponymous opening track (and single download) is probably the closest NMA have gotten to sounding like a metal band. The relatively recent addition of Marshall Gill brings a harder guitar edge that is at times a little incongruent, but on the opener it works very well. More Metallica than NMA! Autumn, States Radio, Disappeared and La Push carry that classic NMA mark – great lyrics and a passionate delivery. Good to either sing along to, jump around to, or both. The inclusion of Ocean Rising, a track originally recorded on Justin Sullivan’s solo album of a few years back (and one that has been played extensively live), seems a little unnecessary. However, the recording here does feel more complete and beguiling in comparison. There are a couple of less auspicious tracks – Bad Harvest, Mambo Queen of the Sandstone City, but they probably deserve to be first judged when they’re thrashed out loud and live. Despite being flawed in places, 'Today’ remains a strong album.
-- Max G,, 9/09

Recommended Links: Official site
New Model Army: Discography
Similar/Related Artists:

Justin Sullivan | Sex Pistols | Killing Joke| The Alarm | U2 | Danse Society | Spear of Destiny | Bolshoi | The Damned

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