Winger – ‘Pull’ (1993) – Album Review

By 1993, the music landscaped had completely changed for the 80’s glam metal scene. Gone were the bands I’d had grown up loving and replaced by Grunge, but that didn’t stop bands from putting out albums. In fact, for one band, Winger, it might have produced its best album to date. Beavis and Butthead might have made Winger a laughing stock, but us diehard fans, didn’t take stock in that farce. No, we continued to follow the band’s music and if we hadn’t we might’ve missed out on the band’s heaviest and most daring album.

The band was down to three members with Kip Winger, Rob Morgenstein and Reb Beach as keyboardist Paul Taylor had left the band. He wasn’t the only one to leave as producer Beau Hill was out as well. In his stead were Kip Winger himself along with the help of Mike Shipley who had recently worked on Def Leppard’s Adrenalize album. Released on May 18, 1993, ‘Pull” showcased a very mature Winger and a band that wasn’t going to be stopped creating and putting out their best material (even though this was their last album for years to follow).

The opening track, “Blind Revolution Mad”, starts off with an acoustic guitar with a very dark overtone. Kip was singing in richer, deeper tone that came across as eerie and meaner. The song keeps building slowly with each line and you feel an intensity that is about to be unleashed. The first chorus is ready to explode and the song goes full on gangbusters. It is bombastic, energizing and electric. The guitar riffs are shocking, the drums are destructive and when Kip lets loose, his energy is set forth upon the world. A brutal and glorious song.

The sole single, “Down Incognito” did go to #15 on the Mainstream Rock Chart, but it is way better than that. It opens with a harmonica and you think they are going all bluesy which they do a little, then the guitars come in, the riffs fly, the drums pound and Kip goes all sinister with the opening verse. The chorus is full of harmonies and damn, it is so contagious as I catch it real quick. The song gets a little more upbeat, but still has that edge, that little something extra that makes it one of my favorite tracks. I love the last line…”Me and my amigos, down incognito”…I don’t know why, I just love it. When I was young, I wanted to know where Incognito was because I wanted to go there too!! (kidding).

“Spell I’m Under” starts off slow and I thought was going to be a ballad, but by the end of the verse, the song turned it up a notch and although the chorus is catchy, the song is dark and foreboding and there feels like there is a lot of pain in those lyrics. The guitars are sullen, the drums and bass are depressing sounding, but it all together is quite beautiful to me. The 90’s saw bands try to do the grunge thing, but that isn’t what Winger was doing. These felt real and authentic.

Then we get to “In My Vein” and Kip comes out swinging and aggressively attacks those lyrics. The band joins in matching that intensity. This one is heavy and rocks out but gives us a chorus that isn’t as catchy and more in your face like a fist to the chin. There is no confusing this song with the hair band era. It is metal all the way.

“Junkyard Dog (Tears on Stone)” is up next and one of the best songs on the album. It is another heavy ass, slamming, brutal song. The band keeps getting heavier and aggressive. The chorus is huge and massive. It is catchy and it is short and sweet before Kip gets angry in those verses. The guitar and bass are just as dark and set a nasty tone. Kip’s vocals seal the deal for me as they can be dark and deep or hit some notes that only that junkyard dog can hear. There are some changes in the song that scream prog to me as well which is really cool. Heck the song goes on for almost 7 minutes. The solo is as dirty as a junkyard and the band lays waste to everyone around them. I think I need a shower after this one.

Next up is “The Lucky One” and we get our first ballad. A slower, acoustic piece that sees Kip go all soft and gently with his approach. The keyboards add a nice layer to it as well. The chorus adds the power to the ballad and I would say this is the one song on the album that feels like it could’ve fit with the bands first two albums. And that isn’t a bad thing, just an observation.

The band goes back to the heavy and in a big way. “In for the Kill” is as lethal as the title sounds. A very political song which shows they have some depth in their lyrics. The chorus is another angry, aggressive and catchy chorus. They keep it short and jump right back in to the next verse. I like the dark energy of this one and they don’t hold back telling you what they think. There is a bridge that is layered with some great harmonies and really take the song to another level for me. Another favorite.

“No Man’s Land” keeps the energy and rocking going. Another uptempo rocker, that was more melodic hard rock than metal, but still feels great and fits in with the rest of the album. They all can’t be full on aggression. I like the change up, plus it is still a little of the first two albums and I did like that stuff as well and wouldn’t have felt out of place on either of those records.

Then it is back to the heavier stuff with “Like a Ritual”. More pounding drums and a lot of killer riffs. Kip almost speaks-sings some of the lyrics which is great and the chorus is not as big as others on here, but still catchy. This one doesn’t stand out as much as the rest of the album, but still worth a listen and your time.

I have a lot of favorites on here and the final track might be #1. “Who’s the One” is an acoustic ballad that is my all time favorite ballad by the band. Kip’s vocals with the acoustic guitars are a perfectly blend of melodies and harmonies between a voice and an instrument. He also is feeling the song as he sings as he pulls a lot of emotion in to it. It is one of the most beautiful songs the band has ever done. The chorus is a huge payoff as the percussion done by Rob also adds some beautiful flavors to the song. If a song can be perfect, this would be as close as you could get. What a way to go out, leave me wanting more.

For me, this blew the doors off the first two albums as it was more metal, heavier, dirtier, grittier and just more everything. They stepped it up a notch and did not disappoint. Kip Winger has described this album as the birth of the band and I would have to agree. This was their more true, authentic self in my opinion as everything that has come after it has felt more like this then the first two. If you thought they were too sugary sweet before, then this will be more what you want. Songs like “Junkyard Dog”, “In for the Kill” and “Blind Revolution Mad” are all brutal, tasty treats while “Down Incognito” and “Who’s the One” are the icing on the top of those treats. This is a band that wanted to show the world, there was more to them then Glam metal, these guys could flat out rock with the best of them and they succeeded in showing it. My Overall Score is a solid 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars!!! Beavis and Butthead can kiss Winger’s Ass!!


12 thoughts on “Winger – ‘Pull’ (1993) – Album Review

  1. I remember hearing Spell I’m under for the first time on a Winger compilation. Great song. The chorus had a real Def Leppard sound to it, as if Mutt was producing.


  2. Yeah I’m pretty sure their reputation kept me away from them, when this came out I recall seeing bits and pieces about it being really good but I was well into other things by that time. This is one I should probably give a spin, the stuff I played on the post sounds pretty good.


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