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BLUE PHANTOM were a secret project by a bundle of session musicians, smartly plotted by a composer H. Tical aka Armando Sciascia, who was renowned as an Italian film composer, editor, producer in mid-60s, and simultaneously an owner of an Italian label Vedette Records. They released one and only album 'Distortions' in 1971 via Vedette Records, which was distributed not only in Italy but also in UK and France. Although 'Distortions' can be thought as a psychedelic progressive gem worldwide, it had never been re-released for a long while - an Italian independent label AMS reissued this album in 2008 finally
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BLUE PHANTOM Distortions album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Proto-Metal 1971


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Proto-Metal 1971

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BLUE PHANTOM Distortions

Album · 1971 · Proto-Metal
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Known for his film soundtracks - most of which are of a surprisingly high quality - and include "Tomb Of Torture" (originally released as Metempsycho in Italy in 1963), which is reportedly intense - composer Armando Sciascia is not the first you would think of to be involved in a one-off project producing music along the lines of The Stooges, Iron Butterfuly and Black Sabbath - but here you have it!

A one-off, interesting curio, and impressive album to boot, with some serious proto metal moments.

Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is the first citation, and it's given the full movie soundtrack treatment in the track Diodo. Wonderful, pounding stuff that really puts the original in the shade and gets the album going with a bang - a little low on the metal, perhaps, but a real flair for the style is shown here - and there's some fabulous drumming going on.

The main issue this album has from a metal perspective, is that it pulls in so many styles and influences that it's a bit of a stand-alone thing. It's not one style or another, but has flavours from everything, ending up in a dark, driving, powerful concoction that's quite unique - and not a little bit scary.

Thus it is that "Metamorphosis" isn't very metal until the last minute or so of the piece, and "Microchaos" piles straight in, heads down, and "Compression" sounds like something from White Noise's debut - a kind of harpsichord-led Waltz in Black with wooey noises. We are talking wierd here.

Likewise, "Equilibrium" has film track written right into it, but is so provocatively haunting it sends chills right through you despite the Bossa Nova keyboard style drums.

Thus it is that "Dipnoi" is the shock treatment you've been unknowingly craving, and a metallic highpoint, before launching into a kind of heavy Kraut vibe. There are some really great moments in this piece that are a real treat.

The Sabbath influence shines through in the doomy "Distillation", and you won't be ready for how this piece pans out, so I won't spoil it. Brrrrr!

After the brutal assault of "Violence", "Equilibrium" is a complete centralisation - as the name suggests, and "Psycho-Nebulous" is either a chilling ending or a complete let-down dependent on the mood (I've experienced it as both).

Total mood music - the Metal chill-out album you've been trying to find for ages. There are no lyrics as there are no vocals per se - just fantastic, dark sounds. The only slightly disappointing aspects for me are the unadventurous structures, which make repeated listening a rather limited business, and the rather "Radiophonic Workshop" electronic effects.

Those niggles aside, this is a fantastic album to own, although I'd be a bit hard-pushed to describe it as essential. I would totally recommend several listens to any metal fan without hesitation!

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