Metal Music Reviews from cannon

PINK FAIRIES Never Never Land

Album · 1971 · Heavy Psych
Cover art 4.12 | 3 ratings
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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
Cover art 2.75 | 2 ratings
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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
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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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
Cover art 3.58 | 2 ratings
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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
Cover art 3.62 | 4 ratings
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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.

NECROMANDUS Orexis of Death plus...

Album · 1999 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.50 | 2 ratings
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Don't be fooled the album cover and the title. If you're expecting a slab heavy, doom laden, riff-tearing Sabbath-esque assault, you're not going to find it here. If that's what you're searching for, check out Supernaut's self-titled debut from 1973 or First Daze Here from Pentagram. Orexis Of Death is more in line of hard progressive rock/heavy prog though it does exude a medieval ambience at times. Closer to the early incarnations of Wishbone Ash and Jade Warrior or even Black Widow, and obvious influences from King Crimson and yes, even Yes. With all that being said, this is an excellent album. I would tend to tag it more a heavy prog album than proto-metal.

Back in the "old days", relatively speaking, the '80's to be more precise when I was in full blown addiction of collecting vinyl there was many myths and legends attaining to rare, obscure, limited pressings and even unreleased recordings from the sub-genre of proto-metal that were rightly or wrongly attributed without much merit. Rumours would be a better word to use as these much hyped lost gems were unwarranted on many occassians and for the most part there was reasons why: bad production and sound quality, finicial backing, label promotion, weak material, etc., and in some cases the circumstances were unfortunate, this album being a perfect example.

The band was managed by Sabbath guitarist, Tony Iommi and Necromandus had laid down the tracks, but in 1973, Sabbath was huge and very busy, thus Iommi had kept putting off the final steps to get the record off the shelf and then guitarist Brian Dunnery announced he was leaving the band and Iommi axed the single and album slated for release as he believed the band didn't have it without Dunnery.

Fast forward to 1999 and finally the music was released. I heard this from the guys at my local vinyl shop and put in my order for the album. Some six weeks later the LP had arrived from the U.K. Man I was surprised. This wasn't was I was expecting. I wasn't really dissappointed, more surprised than anything. Damn, this is really good progressive rock and the production and sound quality just magnificant for 1973, especially for an album that was "shelved". The album was released again in 2005 as, "Oxeris Of Death plus..." that was remastered with a couple of bonus tracks. Now, I don't know if this was the case for the first issue, referring to being remastered. Anyways, it really doesn't matter. It's terrific.


Album · 1970 · Heavy Psych
Cover art 4.38 | 4 ratings
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1970. The dusk of a decade, darkness and the spawn of (proto) metal, a three year metagenesis incubation period of morphed sub-genres, thus the rising of the beast and the consolidation of material rising from the earth's surface. Slab-heavy, sinister, doom destined and stone sonic, the first crushing wall of oppression consisted of Black Sabbath's self-titled debut, Deep Purple's In Rock, the eponymous Lucifer's Friend, Kingdom Come from Sir Lord Baltimore, May Blitz, Bloodrock and a legion of other crusaders. Marching with the initial onslaught, though not on the frontline of the metallic mayhem, four young men (actually in thier late teens) waged axes, pounded the drums bringing the thundering boom of the war-clouds, stricking with swagger from the shadows with superior prowess and galloping gallantry - forward - Stray.

"All In Your Mind" is the intitial assault, slowly, deceptively builds and then swiftly bolts into a chugging plod of mortar fire riffs with a finesse vocal harmony verse/chorus. Enter the arial flight solos of guitarist Del Bromham switching to space searching sonics and back to a tank attack riffage with a smashing devasting end result. Holy smokes! Future metal monster, Maiden would unleash the same fury some twenty years later along with "Holy Smoke".

A dilatory drum beat and a guitar groove gains momentum with a wiry bass sneaking in tempered with a harmonic chorus and then the young gunslingers shatter the silence and let all hell break loose with a wall of distorted fuzz overdubed with a shooting guitar solo. "Taken All Those Good Things" ends the showdown with the boys struting out the verse and chorus as they step out of the saloon. Cocky.

"Around The World In 80 Days" and "Yesterday's Promises" takes a break from the frenzy. Both tracks are a mellow prog/psych sound with few time signature shifts but show cases simple song writing and musical structure with some brushes of exotic instrumentation without being to sappy/poppy. Beatle-esque. Tastefully done.

"Only What You Make It" brings back the momentus barrage of incoming shells right from the start and is relentless to the end of the mission. A harmonica is employed with this campaign of straight-ahead heavy rock. Well executed.

The band's first single, "Time Machine" starts off as more mild flower-power psych hit of the day with a captivating harmonic chorus verse and then griping guitars, catgut acoustic and fuzz drenched electric charge out with a wall of stinging semblance and ending with a conquering demon riff.

A chucka-wucka wave opens fire on this track, "Move On" and slides into a jazz/funk fusion rhythm with a stunning solo and then returning to the stammering rapid string attack joined in unison with a melodic vocal verse. Bromham then soars with his solo session over a groove laden bass and drums, never going into an annihallated suicide mission.

Nine minutes of proto-metal madness to end-all closes out the album. "In Reverse / Some Say" encircles and is entrenched in a cast iron composition of hammering and ductile distorted and doom riffs. Stomp and boogie then set the stage for a rip tearing, mish-mash of metal. Suddenly, the switch and swath of the axe leaves one in vertigo, mania and awe.

A top 10 proto-metal release from 1970, Stray's eponymous release features the best of "heavy" from the early '70's: the riffage of Sabbath and Budgie, progressive leanings and the sonic of Deep Purple, the space/sci-fi heavy psych of Hawkwind, the twisted steel blues base of May Blitz and the Groundhogs, the melodic vocal style of Wishbone Ash. Unfortunately Stray didn't recieve the "success" of these contemparies and after two more fantastic proto-metal releases the band changed thier formula to find "stardom" and left thier die hard fans confused though they would return to the heavy metal after a disappointing venture into more of a mainstream hard rock endeavour.

What seperated Stray from most hard rock/heavy psych bands of early '70's was thier hook laden, melodic and harmonic vocals. Vocalist Steve Gadd was very competent and had great unison harmonies with guitarist Del Bromham, but never took the spotlight away from Bromham as he is the show of this band. This album is dominated by the guitars as Bromham's gunning is relentless with mind boggling time signature shifts, power chords, manic solos and dark heavy riffs with some eclectic progressive tinges at precise times. The rhythm section of Ritchie Cole (drums) and Gary G. Giles (bass) lay down a very good foundation of chug and boom and keep up with Bromham's frantic, twisting and meandering. The songwriting is short and simple and may be the weak point of the album, but with that being said it doesn't hinder, take away or deter from the music.

Stray is still going strong today, forty years later with guitarist Del Bromham being the backbone and released probably thier best album since the mid '70's with Valhalla from 2010 and the band is still giggin' in the UK and was one hell of a live act back in thier heyday.


Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
Cover art 2.25 | 2 ratings
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Emerging from the second wave of the British blues revival, actually arriving late to the show, Killing Floor was a third tier, minor league band from this time period(circa. '67-'69) when other blues-rock artists like Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After, Free, Savoy Brown, Steamhammer and others were at the forefront of this music scene. Killing Floor's second (and last) album was released when all but the hard blues-rock in the U.K. had taken a back seat to other new musical styles.

Killing Floor's self-titled debut from 1969 was basically a reconfiguration of the Chicago electric blues. This formula was previously done years before by many other artists and done a whole lot better. Chicken Shack, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers come to mind, just to mention a few. Really, there is nothing heavy to this album and even there is no metal present what so ever.

For the second album, Out Of Uranus, the band brought in Larry Page as the excutive producer and the main man of the Penny Farthing label on which this album was released on and is best known as the producer for The Troggs. Obvious he had an influence on the band's musical style on this album as it's reminescent of The Trogg's later sound, a raw, raucous, proto-punk and psychedelic reverb, a 90 degree left turn from the style and sound of thier first album and lyrically a leftist, flower-power, anti-establishment view.

The brash and gritty sound actually becomes grating after a few songs and the vocals, are, well... However, there is some highlights from the album. Some excellent riffs on, "Out Of Uranus" and "Acid Bean" but are far and few between. Probably the standout track is, "Soon There Will Be Everthing" with the great violin work. My ears became weary by the monotony and the annoyance of this album. Very tiresome.

If you're looking for that underground, counter-culture, leftist ideaology, proto-punk album of the day but also wanting to hear some proto-metal as well, you're alot better off checking out the Pink Fairies or Third World War.


Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
Cover art 3.24 | 5 ratings
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"Many critics, fans, and college students have spent hours debating the serious question of what the worst album in the history of rock and roll is. One listen to Attila would provide them with an answer. Attila undoubtly is the worst album released in the history of rock and roll -- hell, the history of recorded music itself. There has been many bad ideas in rock, but none match the colossal stupidity of Attila". Stephen Thomas Erlewine - All Music Guide

It's bad, but not the worst in the history of rock, but close. I want to drink furniture polish after listening to this. It's a joke. I mean the album itself.

Some twenty plus years ago I walked into my favourite vinyl shop and the owner pulled out this album with two dudes dressed as Huns standing in a meat locker. I laughed at the album cover. Gary, the shop owner pointed out to me that one of the dudes on the cover was Billy Joel. "No way!", I gasped. He threw it on the shop turntable and turned up the volume. Now I like my prog and heavy psych over-the-top sometimes but this is silly. Knowing the album was a collector's item and it was in VG+ shape and at an excellent price, I decided to purchase it as there wasn't much else in the shop I wanted to purchase that day was my justification.

After my Saturday weekly trip through the vinyl shops in town that day I threw this record on my turntable and somehow, some way did manage to get through the whole thing. Agony. It sat on the shelf until about a year ago when it was brought up at another music forum so I decided to clean the dust off and give it another try. "Jeezuz! This is awful", I cried aloud.

After reading a review here at Metal Music Archives on Atomic Rooster's self-titled album and the reviewer putting it in the same sentence as Attila is absolutely dumbfounding and baffling. Reluntantly and with anxiety I once again pulled this abomination from my vinyl library and cringed as I put it on my turntable so I could do this review. I promised myself, NEVER AGAIN>

One star for and a half a star for the humour, I mean the album cover.


Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
Cover art 3.94 | 6 ratings
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From the stable of Vertigo Records who had Black Sabbath, Juicy Lucy and Uriah Heep just release thier debuts May Blitz was next in line halfway through 1970 with Tony Newman on drums from the Jeff Beck Group on the recording of Beck-ola and two Canadians from Vancouver Island, guitarist/vocalist James Black and bassist Reid Hudson who tripped and smoked thier way over to the UK looking for "stardom".

The vibe of this freaked-out psych proto heaviness of the album is captured on the opening track, "Smoking The Day Away",a haunting, massive doom down pour with a roach blues riff and a acidic solo with drums and the boom bass smoldering and bubbling below and connecting with nature chemically."I Don't Know" is a fusion of boggy blues smacked out with psych and eventually jacks up the juice of a jazz fusion firing together in unison. "Dreaming" is a cool, laid back body stone of a number.

Side two starts out with "Squeet" all over the wall..." One can only imagine where and when these lyrics came from as this track is all about heavy, a psych/blues twisted with a jazzy jam as "Tomorrow May Come" slows down the palpitations only to be ripped out of your mellow state from the "Fire Queen", which places one in pure protoness prison to finding yourself washed up on the stoned shore with "Virgin Waters".

One of the top five proto-metal releases of 1970 and essential of the genre. A stone slab of heaviness.


Album · 1975 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.85 | 10 ratings
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The ground work for Armageddon's s/t debut from 1975 was already somewhat laid out with Steamhammer's Speech(1972) as the band was left as a power trio with Martin Pugh on guitar, Louis Cennamo on bass and the late, great Mickey Bradley on drums from the Mk.II Steamhammer. Steamhammer's first three albums were in the vein of progressive blues rock but Speech took took a 90 degree turn just before hitting the sun's photosphere melting experimental/hard rock/prog into exploring the new frontiers of far away galaxies. This is where Cennamo introduced the bow to the bass. This album seems to have found a black hole and is basically lost in the proto-metal realm.

Forming from a sun's solar storm a few later Armageddon's s/t debut(1975) is casted in plasma with turbulent and dynamic forces. Joining from the interplanetary magnetic field Keith Relf(Yardbirds, Renaisance) and drummer Bobby Caldwell(Johnny Winter, Captain Beyond) find Martin Pugh and Louis Cennamo from another solar cycle.

Pugh's guitar work is radiant with scorching chords, riveting riffs and manic solos to floating acoustic passages. Keith Relf's vocals never sounded better but it is his harmonica interludes with Pugh's guitar that are stellar and even taking it solo to take some of wieght off Pugh's shoulders.

Matching Pugh at warp speed is drummer Bobby Caldwell. Caldwell takes it to another light speed from his fantastic show on Captain Beyond's s/t debut and on par with Mickey Bradley's technical drumming.

The album opens up with a proto-metal classic "Buzzard", ripping flesh from bone to the soaring "Silver Tightrope", a break from the relentess onslaught but comes back with Pugh's "Paths and Planes and Future Gains", reminescent more of Steamhammer blues formula. Relf's harmonica duelling with Pugh's guitar is smashing in the "Last Stand Before". The epic four part suite "Basking In The White Of The Midnight Sun" puts in motion all the interstellar sub-genres related to proto-metal in a celestial sphere.

Armageddon was one of the few pieces of vinyl from the proto-metal sub-genre that did stay in print for a relative period of time and was easy to acquire even after it was deleted by A&M. After acquiring the Black Sabbath catalogue 25+ years ago Armageddon was the next LP I had picked up and shortly after Steamhammer's Speech which was available as a German import on the Brain label which opened the flood gates to my relentless pursuit of these obsure/rare albums of proto-metal/heavy psych/hard rock artists.

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