Zion Train – ‘Warrior Step / Warrior Dub’ 7″ [Universal Egg]

Immortalised in Babylon as a clash-winning dub, ‘Warrior Charge’ is possibly one of the best known and most-exposed rhythms in UK’s reggae history. Recorded by Aswad in 1981, the tune not only soundtracked the film, but years earlier had found success in both Britain and Jamaica, one of the first to do so.

Despite it’s status and the genre’s history of versioning and reappropriating, ‘Warrior Charge’ hasn’t been as rinsed out as some of the box classics over the decades. One of the more technical rhythms, perhaps the instrumental layers prove too hard to replicate properly. Likely there’s also a level of respect granted to the original; an intimidation of sorts to do justice to it if you’re going to remake it and press it up.

Operating out of Britain since 1988, Zion Train have done well to take on a version of it, released a couple months back. In fact the London based ensemble are likely one of the few operations in the world that are bang on rights to do so.

With an impressive live lineup that goes from a full band to sound system operation, they’ve pushed themselves consistently and broken ground across the dub spectrum for decades. They know their history, and continue to help write modern day in to the future.

Renamed ‘Warrior Step’, Zion Train are spot-on with their interpretation. The brash horns are retained, with the rhythm and bassline updated to a modern squelch in areas, and stripped back in others.

The vibe moves from the lively celebration granted in the original to something slightly more functional to present day, the sonic palette more spread out and workable. The harmonica comes to the front and the siren is ever noticeable, with all elements built up more than the original pressing, allowing you to adjust the track as you see fit.

‘Warrior Dub’ on the flip is equally nice, pushing the bones of the version to the ends of what they are, using the echo and flying cymbals to make new sounds still. Spread across an open ended structure it’s a classic dub of an a-side in every sense of the word.

Haters going to hate on a something like this being updated, which is understandable to some degree. But those in the dance will be incredibly appreciative of this version going out via a decent system. Released on their own Deep Root imprint via Universal Egg, you can still gran the 45 at RwdFd here: https://rwdfwd.com/products/zion-train-warrior-step/

Just for kicks we dropped it over a few scenes from Babylon, to show where it may’ve fit in with the original.