When Grand Funk Railroad manager Terry Knight teamed up with Fort Worth, Texas band Crowd +1, Texan hard rock history was about to be made. Crowd +1 had been performing for a few years (previously having been called The Naturals) and even released a few singles under both monikers. By 1969 guitar rock was undergoing a transformation to harder and heavier sounds. With Grand Funk's debut already out of the gate, Terry Knight changed Crowd +1's name to Bloodrock and their debut album released in March 1970 followed the thunder and noise and energy of GFR but with a sound unique to Bloodrock. The album cover was meant to shock with a blood-splattered stone lying on broken glass with the band's name in black twice (either for double eye-catching effect or the second time as the album title).
The highlights of Bloodrock's sound on this platter are of course the heavy guitar riffing and Hammond organ but also, and possibly even more so, drummer Jim Rutledge's gruff and frayed vocals that still managed to pack a white soul feeling. The music delivers hard-edged rock with strong psychedelic influences and at times some really heavy funky grooves. "Double Cross" has such a badass groove to it with some hard-hitting power chords and Rutledge's bad-mutha machismo vocal style.
Other stand out rockers are the slow but crunching "Timepiece" with an exchange between organ and guitar, and "Wicked Truth" which has such a cool buzzing guitar riff and features another member taking lead vocals (sorry I can't find out who but though his voice is a bit higher register he still sounds like he's spitting out nails and singing through gritted teeth).
Special mention goes to "Melvin Laid an Egg", which is often included on proto-metal playlists on YouTube for its awesome heavy riff. Slow and edgy, it would be a great riff in early doom metal.
The only track that deviates from the heavy rock groove is "Fantastic Piece of Architecture". The intro sounds more like something from Vanilla Fudge with church organ. The song is a long and slow haunting number featuring delicate but sombre vocals by Rutledge and some simple classical piano. Actually, this song sounds more like early '69 psychedelia than early '70 hard rock.
If there's any negative aspect to this album it's that the production sound is a bit rough - suitable to blast at high volumes but not something to satisfy an audiophile. But like many albums from this period, once you get into the music you are not likely to notice the roughness in recording quality because nearly everything on the album sounds rough and distorted.
After this album, Jim Rutledge was removed from the drum stool and placed up front behind the mic. Bloodrock would go on to record three or four more heavy rockers before a major lineup change that lead to a lighter, more progressive rock approach. The band ultimately parted ways in 1975.