Phil Thompson
MMA Special Collaborator · Honorary Collaborator
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit more than 2 years ago

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1009 reviews/ratings
RUSH - Moving Pictures Hard Rock
BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Heavy Metal
CAPTAIN BEYOND - Captain Beyond Heavy Psych
KING CRIMSON - In The Court Of The Crimson King Proto-Metal
SPOOKY TOOTH - Spooky Two Proto-Metal
METALLICA - Kill 'em All Thrash Metal
KING'S X - Gretchen Goes To Nebraska Hard Rock
PORCUPINE TREE - In Absentia Metal Related
SLAYER - Reign in Blood Thrash Metal
SLAYER - South of Heaven Thrash Metal
VAN HALEN - Van Halen Hard Rock
THE STOOGES - Fun House Proto-Metal
JIMI HENDRIX - Axis: Bold As Love Proto-Metal
JIMI HENDRIX - Electric Ladyland Proto-Metal
NIRVANA - Nevermind Heavy Alternative Rock
BLACK SABBATH - Master Of Reality Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath Heavy Metal
BLUE CHEER - Outsideinside Heavy Psych

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Rock 335 3.23
2 Proto-Metal 194 3.26
3 Progressive Metal 114 3.43
4 Heavy Metal 86 3.10
5 Heavy Psych 59 3.43
6 Thrash Metal 34 3.65
7 Non-Metal 24 2.63
8 NWoBHM 16 3.69
9 Metal Related 16 3.44
10 Alternative Metal 15 3.47
11 Stoner Metal 12 3.50
12 Traditional Doom Metal 11 3.50
13 Doom Metal 11 3.50
14 Heavy Alternative Rock 10 3.55
15 Glam Metal 9 2.89
16 US Power Metal 8 3.69
17 Stoner Rock 8 3.38
18 Symphonic Metal 7 3.00
19 Sludge Metal 7 3.36
20 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 7 3.50
21 Power Metal 6 3.17
22 Groove Metal 4 3.63
23 Folk Metal 3 3.50
24 Funk Metal 3 3.17
25 Avant-garde Metal 3 3.17
26 Technical Thrash Metal 3 3.67
27 Speed Metal 1 3.00
28 Crossover Thrash 1 3.50
29 Neoclassical metal 1 3.00
30 Melodic Death Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

PINK FAIRIES Never Never Land

Album · 1971 · Heavy Psych
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On one side of the Atlantic there was The Fugs and thier freak folk/proto-punk poetry protests, thus followed by The Stooges and the MC5 scratching, spitting and crawling thier way out of the Motor City and on the other side of the pond, The Deviants who molted into the Pink Fairies and Third World War slithering out from the underground sewer of London with thier libertarian left wing anarchy to shake the establishment. 1970, the free festivals were flourishing with the hippy haze and biker battalions indulging in the ingestion of hallucinogens and marijuana and the Pink Fairies were the house band.

Guitarist/vocalist Paul Rudolph, bassist Derek Sanderson and drummer Russel Hunter had left the proto-stoner/freak folk hippy funsters The Deviants in 1970 and hooked up with drummer "Twink" who had played on the psychedelic rock opera masterpiece, 'S.F. Sorrow' from The Pretty Things in 1968 and released a solo album with the help of some of the Deviants titled, 'Think Pink' in 1970. Though with two drummers in the band it was "Twink" that laid down some tracks taking the lead vocals and drums with Rudolph completing the rest of tracks with his vocals on the Fairies 1971 debut, 'Never Never Land'.

The album opens up with "Do It" which would become thier anthem, "It's rock and roll man, and the message is, Do it!" A punch in the gut, a kick in the ass and a 2X4 to the teeth. Raw, ravishing, revolution rock 'n' roll. "Twink's" other tracks, "Heavenly Man" is somewhat a Floydian floating psych trip. "Wargirl" is laid back and Rudolph's reverbing guitar is right out of this world and "The Dream Is Just The Beginning" is a short acoustic number, just over a minute long.

Rudolph's brusque vocals with his raw, sloopy slammering guitar chops out boot stomping proto-punk on "Say You Love Me" and "Teenage Rebel". "Uncle Harry's Last Freakout" proto-typifies what the Fairies are all about, LSD induced interstellar illusions, good times, hectic heavy metal and revolting rioting rock 'n' roll. This is Rudolph's all out guitar assault. Over the wall wah wahs, entrenching echoes, deaf defying distortion and far too loud. An eleven minute mayhem. No control.

The title track takes on that space/psych sound similar to Floyd's, 'Obscured By Clouds" as does the opening two and half minutes of "Track One, Side Two" and then kicks into proto-metal pyro-technics and is followed by the Hawkwind-ish space/psych exploration instrumental, "Thor".

"The Snake", originally released as a single and is the A-side to "Do It" is contained as a bonus track on some reissues is argubly with "Do It", the Fairies MO, has to be one of the most unrefined, blistering proto-punk songs in history.

Paul Rudolph would leave after the Fairies second album, 'What A Bunch Of Sweeties', fed up with Sanderson's and Hunter's LSD use joined Hawkwind and former UFO guitarist Larry Wallis stepped in for 'Kings Of Oblivion'. Die hard fans of The Stooges and the MC5 are recommended to check out this album as are the loyal anarchists of punk rock's hey day.

FIRE Could You Understand Me

Album · 1973 · Proto-Metal
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A deluge of distortion. A fury of fuzz. A sloppy mess left after the destruction of a hurricane.

This album is absolutely overbearing. It has to be the fuzziest guitar based blues/proto-metal I've heard. It's almost laughable, but in some way it has a entertainment value as well. If you think Hendrix was heavy on the fuzz, wahs and distortion you got to check out this recording.

I special ordered this album on CD about five years ago, again based on the myths in the vinyl collector circles years ago. Yep, I was dupped and disappointed. This band sounds like it was in a contest at a Yugoslavian amateur hour. The band is from Yugoslavia but jumped the Iron Curtain to the Netherlands where they recorded this album in 1973.

There is no need to go into any track descriptions as it all fuzz. It's just one giant monoclinal piece of rock. The power trio is all out of synch mostly due to the terrible off timing drumming. It's really bad.

There is nothing else to say. One star for the music and one star for jumping the wall.


Album · 1975 · Hard Rock
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Canadian journeyman bassist/vocalist/songwriter Neil Merryweather has had somewhat of a long and eclectic career. Born in Toronto, Robert Neilson Lillie, performed under the name of Bobbie Neilson and played with some of the local artists in the area including the Mynah Birds, The Tripp and Bruce Cockburn's Flying Circus in which he left the band in 1968 to form his own group with fellow members from The Tripp. The band left Toronto for Los Angeles and signed to Capitol Records. Neilson changed his name to Neil Merryweather just before the release of the band's debut, simply titled "Merryweather", a heavy blues-rock style with tinges of psychedelic pop. Though the album had some guest appearences from Steve Miller, Dave Mason and blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, and did recieve some notice and then the release of "Word Of Mouth" in 1969, critically acclaimed, it sold poorly, so Merryweather then decided to head back home to Toronto.

Back in T.O., Neil put together a new band and released two more albums similar in vein to his first two with his new girlfriend/vocalist Lynn Carey, reminescent vocals of Janis Joplin, but again the albums didn't garner much attention. So Merryweather and Carey continued to record under the name of Mama Lion with an array of musicians and released two albums, a little more hard rockin' than Merryweather's previous releases, but the real show here is the two albums covers with the beautiful Lynn Carey gracing the cover. Yeah baby! She was the Penthouse Pet Of The Month for December, 1972. Check it out some time. She's stunning.

In 1972, Merryweather took the musicians from Mama Lion with the exception of Carey and went back to L.A. and went into studio and laid down two albums, "Heavy Cruiser" and "Lucky Dog" under the name of Heavy Cruiser. Heavy rock 'n' roll more than heavy rock. Again, no break through.

Still remaining in L.A., Neil then signed to Mercury Records and put out an ad in the local musician's magazine looking for new personnel for his new band, and recruited a drummer, a keyboardist who also had a Chamberlain, the grandaddy of the Mellotron and a synthesizer and two guitarists and thus the Space Rangers exploded out with thier 1974 release, "Space Rangers". Hard glam rock with passages of a psych/space ambience and somewhat in the style of a that mid '70's hard rock AOR. The album reached #5 on the Billboard charts and the song, "Hollywood Boulevard" recieved heavy FM airplay.

Basically without any help from Mercury and after touring with T. Rex, Kiss and E.L.O. and Neil supporting the band financially they went back into the studio, again with Merryweather producing. "Krpytonite" weighs alot heavier and harder than it's predecessor and radiated the galantic glam of Alice Copper, the sub-sonic sizzle of Sweet, the dimensional sound warp of Hawkwind and the bouldering boom of Sabbath. This album is heavy as any release from 1975.

After a few line-up changes, guitarist/synth-man, Timo Laine left after the first Space Ranger's album and later became known as one of the forefathers of the synthesizer guitar and keeping guitarist Michael "Jeep" Willis, obvious the right decesion, is the shooting star and is phenomanol on this recording. Often compared to Michael Schenker of UFO and arguably a fair comparison, "Jeep" jacks out the riffs and sprays out light speed solos and with Merryweather's bottom end bass, gruff vocals and his production tying in the synth space sounds without going out of the universe is terrific.

The first two tracks are the signature space metal songs off the album, "Kryptonite" and "Star Rider" are stunning and probably the best two tracks from the album. "Jeep" and his stellar guitar is out of this world. Wow! Can't get much better than this.

"Always Be You", somewhat of a ballad with well done harmony vocals yet retaining the weight of being heavy. I guess one could label it as AOR hard rock, typical trait of the time.

"Give It Everything We Got" opens up with a funky groove laden beat with the synth and Chamberlain being well incorporated and adds a spacey vibe without detracting the listener. Then the "Jeep" lights it up with an interlude of searing solos and ravaging riffs for the next three minutes. No doubt, smoldering Schenker-esque. The finally goes into crash landing with guitar and synth nose first.

The next track trys to emulate Mott The Hoople, the "Hollywood" era of Alice Cooper, and the AOR of latter day Sweet. "Groove" is just gagging. By far, the worst song on the album.

"Real Live Love" suggests a teenage girl song, something that Sweet would of laid down for a single. Not bad, but it is the next number, "You Know Where I'd Rather Be" where the Space Rangers shot out the lights, similar of Sweet and match them at thier own game, those catchy fuzz guitar hooks. Simply, it puts Slade to shame and the other glammers of the day, with of course the exception of Sweet.

The Space Rangers return to the stars with, "Let Us Be The Dawn". A psych/space/glam voyage with the Chamberlain providing the dark depths of space with the lazer licks of gunner "Jeep". Again, captain Merryweather keeps all the instruments in synch with his direction in the control room. Mission accomplished.

After returning to L.A. the band ran out of money, again no support from Mercury, the Space Rangers disbanded with Merryweather doing some production work for various artists including Randy California from Spirit. A few years latter, Neil took off to London with Michael "Jeep" Willis and did a few recordings and then his record label at that time, Chrysalis formed a new label, Dureco based in Amsterdam and he jumped over there and recorded his solo album, "Differences" in 1978 and then put together an AOR band called, Eyes in 1980 including "Jeep" on guitar.

Merryweather returned to L.A. and hooked up with ex-Runaway, Lita Ford and became her manager, played bass and produced her 1983 album, "Out For Blood". The sexy singer swindled Merryweather and after that incident he had enough of the music business and called it quits and is still in L.A. and is putting together a new version of the Space Rangers with guitarist Michael Willis. If an album is released, I'll be searching the universe, far and wide for it.

MESSAGE From Books And Dreams

Album · 1973 · Heavy Psych
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Great cover. I tend to associate it with another Krautrock album, Delusion from McChurch Soundroom. Similar cover, lyrical content, sound and style.

The Dawn Anew Coming, the debut from Message in 1972 takes a progressive melodic fusion of psych, jazz-fusion and folk and shades it with an overcast of a heavy sky. Early Tull, King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash. Well done prog.

As with thier first album, the band entered the studio with the great German producer, Deiter Dirks in 1973 and released, Of Books And Dreams. Ominous and repressive, a conscious effort to uncover the unconscious thought that effects personality through morbid fears and compulsions that accompany dreams. A play on the psyche, lyrically and musically.

"Sleep" introduces the listener with spoken words over a tumultous and tempestuous psychedelic/space splattering. A terrifying trip though trivial.

Sliding into deeper unconsciousness, "Dreams And Nightmares (Dreams)" culminates with the bass and the psychically induced guitar sequence from Allan Murdoch and expands and finally explodes into a ravishingly riff. One of the better openings I have heard from a heavy prog song in the first half of the '70's. The vocals of Tom McGuigan scream in, somewhat dischordal but deeply discerning. Fortunately it's Murdoch guitar that dominates most of this track with McGuigan's vocal chorus sustaining and limited in only in two parts of the song. At the ten minute mark, Murdoch slaps down a Iommi-esque solo that could be transported from Sabbath's self-titled debut. After the manic solo the bass slowly pulses and winds down this terrific and trembling track. The apex of the album.

Track three, "Turn Over" hears for the first time McGuigan's sax soloing over an eerie ambient guitar and then a rhythmic riff kicks in and the sax snakes out a shivering free-form jazz/psych synapses. Overload.

"Sigh" is the most melodic track from the album and McGuigan's vocals are annoying and overbearing, almost abrasive but fortunately at around the three and half minute mark Murdoch takes over with his guitar, showcasing shifting styles and sets the rhythm for the insane sax soloing and interplay for the next three minutes and the last two minutes ends as it as begun, with the addition of a sinister scream sequence. "Ahhhh".

The second part of "Dreams And Nightmares", "Nightmares" is 13 minutes of Krautrock psychosis. "Introducing The Myth" opens up with McGuigan's Mellotron as a sombre backdrop to his restrained vocals which are actually not so abrading as to his abandoning screaming. Again it's the chilling interplay of Murdoch's guitar and McGuigan's sax that take over this nightmare, "The Unpleasent Spell" and eventually the sandman (McGuigan) speaks in a suffering, aggravating and daunting tone. The closing of "Nightmare" trembles and traumatically tails off into silence. Terrific and terrifying.

If you're searching for a scary, spine-tingling sound experience, this is it. This album is mostly tagged as Krautrock but the sub-genre encompassess so many styles from proto-metal to electronic experimentation, so don't be decieved by the label as the Germans (though Message is half British) can be prolific at being heavy and dark. Really this is guitarist Allan Murdoch's trip though Tom McGuigan's multi-instrumental talents are substantial, it is his vocals that might be disturbing to some. The production of Deiter Dirks is somewhat similar to that of Nektar's first three albums in which he also produced as he did with many of the "heavier" Krautrockers in the early '70's.

Message would then make a signficant shift on thier next album to a jazz-fusion/eclectic prog and then sadly meander into that menancing "mainstream", melodic AOR/hard rock style that so many did in the mid/late '70's.


Album · 1973 · Hard Rock
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The 'Hogs pour out the pig iron. Hoofed-heavy, filthy, gluttonous and gloomy, so smeltering sloopy. Solid snorts out the eccentric, existential despair and the schizo side of "The Hog" (Tony McPhee).

Just coming off his solo album, "The Two Sides Of Tony (T.S.) McPhee" (1973) with his experimentation of the latest electronics on the side long track, "The Hunt", is a real shift from the bluesed psych, guitar swilling so synonymous with the Groundhogs and showcases McPhee's talent on the keyboards and synthesizers. McPhee would take his twisted taste of technical trickery and snarl it with his sonic, shifting guitar style that would be Solid.

Bringing back his rhythm section from Hogwash, drummer Clive Brooks and long time bassist, Pete Cruickshanks and recording in his home studio, this is all about the 'Hog and his new toys of a Mellotron and the latest synthesizer with a ring modulator, phasers and wah wahs and even on some tracks sending his gruff vocals through a vocoder with muddled effects, at times being messy.

The Mellotron morbidly magnifies the melancholy, manic-depressive lyrical content and shadely blends with the bog bottom blues boom and the progressive, stabbing sig shifts with "Light My Light", "Sins Of The Father" and "Snow Storm". Three outstanding tracks that would be become a mainstay in the 'Hog's live performances for the next two and half decades.

"Free From All Alarm" opens up acoustically, but McPhee can't make it without engaging electrification halfway the track. Too bad, the tune has a great greasy groove of country gliding over boogie. "Gosh darn it Tony! Let the strings slide and sing."

"Corn Cob" is the bacon of the 'Hogs. Barbequed blues-rock.

"Plea Sing, Plea Song". Please no.

"Hello da'ere" opens up "Joker's Grave" as it captures the capricious center of Tony McPhee's eccentricity. Synthesized silliness. Erratic and no purpose. Nine and half minutes of needless noodling.

Solid isn't up to the snuff as thier conceptual trilogy, "Thank Christ For The Bomb", "Split" and "Who'll Save The World? The Mighty Groundhogs!" and has the qualities and irregularities of Hogwash.

The Groundhogs disbanded after this release but McPhee put together a new lineup two years later and released two albums in 1976, "Black Diamond" and "Crosscut Saw". The 'Hogs didn't sell out to the "mainstream" as so many of thier contemparies from the heyday of proto-metal did, however they were also put out to pasture by the emerging presence of punk.

Note: August 2011. Just released, a live album from the tour that followed the release of Solid in 1974 containing, "Light My Light", "Free From All Alarm" and "Sins Of The Father/Sad Go Round" from Solid. "Dog Me Bitch" from the solo album, The Two Sides Of Tony (T.S.) Mcphee and "Soldier" from Thank Christ For The Bomb.

All these tracks have been released in part on other live compilations but never together as recorded on May 23rd, 1974.

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