ART

Proto-Metal • United Kingdom
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Art - the band name The VIP's (from Carlisle, the county of Cumbria) on this album. This is the only LP, there were singles (5 or 6) ... Bit-group was created in 1963 from the group The Ramrods. The original lineup - keyboardist / vocalist Mike Harrison (ex-Dino and the Danubes, The Dakotas, The Ramrods), bassist Greg Ridley (ex-Dino and the Danubes, The Dakotas), rhythm guitarist Frank Kenyon (ex-The Teenages, The Ramrods), lead guitarist Jimmy Henshaw (ex-The Ramrods) and drummer Walter Johnstone (ex-The Teenages, The Ramrods). Later in the group a short time playing Keith Emerson (Keith Emerson), but not on this album. By 1967 ("Summer of Love"- The Summer of Love) the group began playing psychedelic, were composed of: Mike Harrison, Greg Ridley, and drummer Mike Kellie and guitarist Luther Grosvenor. And after the release of this album, along came an American keyboardist / vocalist Gary Wright and the read more...
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ART Supernatural Fairy Tales album cover 3.93 | 3 ratings
Supernatural Fairy Tales
Proto-Metal 1967

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.. Album Cover
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What's That Sound (for What It's Worth) / Rome Take Away Three
Proto-Metal 1967
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What's That Sound (for What It's Worth / Flying Anchors
Proto-Metal 1975

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ART Supernatural Fairy Tales

Album · 1967 · Proto-Metal
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Possibly my favourite album from 1967, this sole album from Art is far more than a collectable artifact.

The wonderful Hapshash and the Coloured Coat designed cover is one of the best ever created - and, it has to be said, looks amazing on the original first press vinyl - later pressings seem to lose something of the multi-dimensionalness of it.

The cover art has an even stronger link than many others of the time to the designers - the members of Art were involved in a project with H&tCC, called "Hapshash and the Coloured Coat featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids.

Forget Steppenwolf, this was the first documented mention of Heavy Metal in connection with music.

Before Art did that project, they toured for several years as the V.I.P.s, culminating at a gig in Croydon, where Chas Chandler, manager of the Animals, introduced them to his latest protege, an American guitarist unknown in the UK.

Chandler persuaded the band to let his discovery jam with them onstage at this large gig. He went down a storm, and the band changed their sound and style as a result.

Oh, I nearly forgot! The guitarists' name was James Marshall Hendrix.

So on to the album, a mixed bag, which is unsurprising, given the release date, but contains plenty of heavy material that will delight and surprise anyone interested in the roots of the music.

The opener, "Think I'm Going Wierd" is satisfyingly and surprisingly heavy - we're talking at least Cream heavy, if not a little more - but without the "straight" blues feel of Cream. This is darker music altogether, and fantastic proto metal. The crashing intro with massively distorted metallic guitars is a real ear-opener, and the vocals are a fantastic blend of Steve Winwood and Ozzy Osbourne - you can clearly hear a strong influence on the young John Osbourne's vocal style.

There then follows a booming and heavy cover of the Buffalo Springfield classic, "What's that sound", predicting the heavy covers that Vanilla Fudge would become famous for.

"African Thing" is a more psychedelic freakout, with flavours of Gong's 1971 album, "Camembert Electrique" - and not particularly African in my humble opinion, until we get to the drum section, which might cause you to rip your clothes off, daub your body with paint and feathers and dance around - but maintains the overall dark flavour of the album nicely.

"Room with a View" is a crunchy, distorted Small Faces type of song - well done, with a Hendrixy bridge riff - hardly surprising that this band should be influenced by the shell-shock they must've got by being the band to introduce Jimi to the UK!

"Flying Anchors" kind of reminds me of "Changes", or a number of other quieter Black Sabbath numbers, with maybe a hint of later Pink Floyd.

Then it's up, up and away with the title track, which begins with a riff almost exactly like Hendrix's "Can You See Me" - and, given the release date, it's hard to know who copied who. Given the involvement, it hardly matters though. The Hendrix song is the superior, but "Supernatural Fairy Tales" is still a proto metal blast.

With a title like "Love Is Real" you wouldn't expect anything metallic, and this song is indeed just a nice slice of Beatles influenced psychedelia. Smokey!

"Come On Up" is an intriguing blend of Psych/Freakbeat and proto metal. The rhythm guitar sound is so far beyond the average fuzzed sound of the time it's not funny - and the regular chunking rhythm is metal to the core, sounding like "Ballroom Blitz" by The Sweet. The guitar solo rips, and is not your average psychedlic wailing nonsense. The song has a great sense of drama and pathos, using a build-up technique to generate excitement nicely.

"Brothers, Dads and Mothers" sounds rather Kinks inspired, with a little Spooky twist. As a song I find it rather dull, although I enjoy the Kaleidoscope style breakdown towards the chorus, and the Hammond snarl in the outro.

"Talkin' To Myself" is a rather average 60s style song done with impeccable style, and with little details that are actually quite impressive - but not very metallic.

"Alive Not Dead" seems to come from the Progressive music scene, and reminds me a fair bit of the Scottish Prog Rock act Clouds. There's a nice heavy guitar line running through, with elements of Blue Oyster Cult's much later style.

To wrap up, "Rome Take Away Three" features a monstrously heavy, doomy riff, completing an essential addition to any proto metal collection - but let's face it, if you have a hard time accepting Led Zeppelin as even metal related, you probably won't get much from this album unless you're open minded and know good heavy music when you hear it.

Because this is a very good album indeed. I'm struggling to call it a masterpiece, as there's nothing outstanding - and yet it is all outstanding in it's own way. As a historical artifact of metal, it's absolutely essential for its direct influence on Black Sabbath, and the source of possibly the earliest metal sounds ever recorded.

The follow-up to this album is Spoooky Tooth's debut, as Gary Wright joined the band, and they changed their name. Spooky Tooth, especially their second album, is essential owning for any fan of early metal.

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cannon wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Being a big fan of Spooky Tooth and the classic album, "Spooky Two" is essential in the development of metal but this album is not what so ever. This is a R&B, blues, psych and even some soul. Heavy and haunting at times, but not proto-metal. A good album and for fans of "The Tooth". The Pretty Things were doing this R&B/blues/rock back in 1964-65.

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