Heavy Psych

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BLOOD CEREMONY The Eldritch Dark Album Cover The Eldritch Dark
4.67 | 21 ratings
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BLOOD CEREMONY Lord Of Misrule Album Cover Lord Of Misrule
4.63 | 18 ratings
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PURSON The Circle and the Blue Door Album Cover The Circle and the Blue Door
4.83 | 6 ratings
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RUBY THE HATCHET Planetary Space Child Album Cover Planetary Space Child
4.67 | 8 ratings
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UNCLE ACID AND THE DEADBEATS Blood Lust Album Cover Blood Lust
4.57 | 6 ratings
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BLOOD CEREMONY Blood Ceremony Album Cover Blood Ceremony
4.31 | 21 ratings
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BLUES PILLS Lady In Gold Album Cover Lady In Gold
4.44 | 8 ratings
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CAPTAIN BEYOND Captain Beyond Album Cover Captain Beyond
4.26 | 24 ratings
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THE GROUNDHOGS Split Album Cover Split
4.33 | 10 ratings
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STRAY Stray Album Cover Stray
4.35 | 6 ratings
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PSYCHEDELIC WITCHCRAFT Sound Of The Wind Album Cover Sound Of The Wind
4.39 | 5 ratings
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GRAND FUNK RAILROAD Closer to Home Album Cover Closer to Home
4.25 | 7 ratings
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Album · 1972 · Heavy Psych
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Another one of the many short-lived bands that jumped into Germany’s Krautrock scene in the early 1970s was the Marburg based DSCHINN which originated in a response to the Beatles-mania that took over the world in the 1960s. Starting out as The Hurricanes, the smitten group of Bernd "Capo" Capito (lead guitar, vocals), Peter "Eddy" Lorenz (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Silvio Verfürth (bass, vocals), Athanasios "Jacky" Paltoglou (drums, percussion) and Uli Mund (drums, percussion) were successful in scoring live gigs all throughout Germany including the famous beat clubs such as the StarDust in Hamburg.

All of this touring caught the attention of a successful businessman who became one of the band’s biggest fans and proceeded to fund a few singles but under the condition that the band changed its name to Dischas under which three singles were released including the first one "Here What I Say/Come Back To Me" which actually made it into the top 10 on the Austrian singles charts. Unfortunately the band was unable to continue the momentum and changed its game plan altogether as the pop rock beat and mod styles of the 60s were quickly falling out of fashion.

The band not only changed its sound to a more progressive style of heavy psych but adopted the more mysterious moniker DSCHINN or in English, jinn or jinni which in the Koran and Muslim traditions is a spirit often capable of assuming human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over human beings. Likewise the band developed a more sophisticated sound and although lumped into the early world of Krautrock was in fact a hard rock band with heavy psych influences from the late 1960s. The band released this one self-titled album in 1972 with a trippy Dali-esque album cover which featured nine vocal oriented tracks that featured heavy bluesy guitar riffs, beefy bass lines, intricate percussion sounds and even a harmonica part or two.

Unlike much of Germany’s Krautrock artists who were entering the twilight zone with freaky tripped out sounds designed for a trip to the cosmos and beyond, DSCHINN was much more down to earth and in reality sounded much more like an Anglo / American hard rock band of the same era with lyrics about freedom, love and other everyday affairs. The music wasn’t particularly complex and instead revolved around catchy blues based melodies. While the music itself was fairly average by the era’s standards, DSCHINN did stand out in the fact that it had two percussionists and delivered strong polypercussive grooves that adopted some of the ethnic influences of the Middle East somewhat in the vein of Agitation Free only in the context of bluesy hard rock.

Another immediate standout was the vocal style of Peter Lorenz which sort of sounded like a more exotic version of The Guess Who’s Burton Cummings only with a slight accent. The band itself seems to have picked up a few tips from bands like The Guess Who or Grandfunk Railroad and was clearly looking to the English speaking world for inspiration. This all but forgotten obscurity from Germany’s diverse Krautrock scene may not go down in history as the most essential of artifacts from the early 1970s but it is an interesting slice of heavy psych laced with period pop rock along with a few Krautish elements that remind me of Amon Düül II at times but these are just accents and only complement the staunch blues rock worship. Not a bad album at all but not extremely creative either.

AINIGMA Diluvium

Album · 1973 · Heavy Psych
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Another one of those super ridiculously rare examples of Krautrock came from the one and only album DILUVIUM from the band AINIGMA. This band of three youngsters that consisted of Willi Klüter (organ, lead vocals), Wolfgang Netzer (guitar, bass, vocals) and Michael Klüter (drums) formed in the Bavarian border town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1972 and released its sole album as a private press the following year. Their hometown is best known as the venue where the 1936 Olympic games took place not too far from Innsbruck, Austria.

Having all been interested in music at an early age, this trio jumped on the exploding Krautrock bandwagon and crafted an album’s worth of fuzzy guitar driven heavy psych however while by 1973 when most bands in the scene had perfected their game and created some of the most mondo-bizarro space trips across the universe and back, AINIGMA retained a 1960s charm which made DILUVIUM sound more like a relic from 1968 rather than something that came out during the fully mature progressive rock scene of the early 1970s.

DILUVIUM featured five tracks including the near 18-minute title track. While lumped into the Krautrock world, AINIGMA sounded like a fuzzier version of Cream or Blue Cheer with strong melodic hooks driven by robust organ swells but what really sets the band apart was the buzzsaw guitar distortion, an attribute that made the second wave of black metal stand out in the early 1990s. This album is one of the earliest uses of such heavily distorted power chords fuzzing and buzzing out into oblivion. The tempos also bring the world of doom metal to mind as everything ranges from slow to mid-speed.

In fact if the pacifying organ melodies were removed from the equation, DILUVIUM could possible qualify as a lo-fi black metal demo if it were not for the weakest aspect of the entire album, namely Willi Klüter’s lackadaisical (clean) vocal style which gets the job done and aren’t really offensive but they don’t really rise above and beyond the call of duty either but then again, the vocal style also adds a bit of that classic Kraut detachment and softens the intensity of the organ solos, guitar fuzz and bass and drum bombast.

Often compared to the psychedelic bombast of Vanilla Fudge with a blues rock propensity in the vein of Frumpy and Atomic Rooster, AINIGMA wasn’t afraid to let loose and whip out some crazy drum solos, organ freak outs and progressive time signature deviations from time to time but for the most part, DILUVIUM is a rather straight forward melodic romp through some fo the most fuzzed out guitar rock with creepy organ sounds leading the way. Had the band stuck it out and continued and perhaps with a stronger vocalist, could’ve been more than just a historical relic relegated to the obscurity bin.

Although the original vinyl has been a pricey collectable in the decades since its initial release, the album has seen many reissues with three distinct album cover designs. DILUVIUM has also been released with bonus tracks in 2006 on CD courtesy of the outstanding label Garden of Delights label. This one is for those who love those DIY underground albums that were unadulterated by any record company whims and showcases a young band in a fiery passion. Unfortunately this album doesn’t really stand out in the crowded German scene from the early 1970s but is by no means a throwaway album. Except for the average limited vocal range of the Will Klüter, the music on this one is pretty damn good.

LOBBY LOYDE Plays With George Guitar

Album · 1971 · Heavy Psych
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Born John Baslington Lyde but better known by his stage name LOBBY LOYDE (1941-2007), this guitarist, songwriter and producer is perhaps one of Australia’s greatest under-appreciated musicians from the past having been left behind as a relic from the 1960s and 70s timeline when psychedelic blues rock ruled. LLOYD was born in the extreme western outpost of Longreach in Queensland, Australia but was raised in Brisbane with a musical family where he learned classical piano and violin but his passion was in the guitar where he excelled and in the 1960s played with a series of bands including Purple Hearts and Wild Cherries which both scored hit singles.

Perhaps LOYDE’s most prominent role was as a member of Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs which scored the #8 album “The Hoax Is Over” but lesser known is LOYDE’s solo efforts which showcased his fiery guitar playing and emphasized a unique picking style, a technique that has been referred to as “elastic.” Perhaps LOYDE could be considered the Australian version of Jimi Hendrix as his energetic performances exceeded expectations and has been cited as an influence from various musicians including Henry Rollins and Kurt Cobain. This solo debut album PLAYS WITH GEORGE GUITAR demonstrates LOYDE’s firm control of his instrument of choice with seven excellent tracks that resulted in some of the finest psychedelic blues rock of the entire era.

PLAYS WITH GEORGE GUITAR debuted in September 1971 on the Festival Records label. The album demonstrates LOYDE’s unleashed guitar virtuosity, excellent command of stellar songwriting and an impeccable knack for adding psychedelic influences from his 60s days that the album truly comes across as a veritable bridge between the heavy psych fueled moments of the late 60s along with the modernity of 70s hard rock technicalities. The album’s two monster tracks “Dream” and “Evolution” offer the full spectrum of powerful blues rock sensibilities laced with the full release of the kraken with extraordinary guitar virtuosity and psychedelic couplings. LOYDE’s greater career was kicked off by the release of this album and he became one of the most renowned figures of the entire 1970s Australian pub rock scene.

LOYDE had an uncanny ability to craft eccentric sounds in the context of blues rock. In many ways he sat parallel with Texas born Johnny Winter but his picking style offered more exotic textures along with the creative use of wah-wah pedals and other tricks and trinkets, LOBBY LOYDE truly mastered a unique sound that even to the modern day sounds fresh and somewhat exotic. In addition to the Hendrix inspired blues rock moments, LOYDE’s rowdy pub rock style would eventually lead him to participate in the band Coloured Balls often considered one of Australia’s premiere proto-punk bands of the early 70s which spawned future AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd. The energy level on PLAYS WITH GEORGE GUITAR is intense without sacrificing the blues rock underbelly and by offering a firm sense of tempos, tones and dynamics.

Unfortunately LOYDE’s legacy is largely unknown outside of his Aussie homeland and was a victim of the changing musical tides as the 70s ceded into the 80s however for anyone interested in extraordinarily crafted heavy psych fueled blues rock from the early 70s in the vein of Hendrix, Cream, Blue Cheer, Captain Beyond and Vanilla Fudge with interesting idiosyncratic guitar playing then you simply must check out this outstanding debut from one of Australia’s best kept secrets. This album simply doesn’t stop sizzling from the opening “Everybody Come Together” to the hootenanny from hell wizardry closer “Herreni.” A must for any serious seeker of the guitar masters of the early 70s.

FRANTIC Conception

Album · 1970 · Heavy Psych
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The band which consisted of Max Byfuglin (vocals), Jim Hass (vocals, keyboards), Kim Sherman (guitar), David Day (bass), Dennis Devlin (guitar) and Phil "Gordo" Head (drums) realized that Montana was not the place to make it to the big leagues and took the round about way to Los Angeles via Santa Fe, NM and Colorado Springs, CO. Just one look at the freaky yellow and crimson album cover will make you think that this is some sort of psychedelic version of Black Sabbath or Coven but in reality FRANTIC was a heavy psych band steeped in the psychedelic pop of the 60s due to the strong presence of the organ but also employed a heavier guitar presence than many other bands of this style which made them clear contemporaries of bands like The Pink Fairies, The Stooges, MC5 and Blue Cheer.

Once settled in sunny Los Angeles the band had a better time finding a record deal and signed on to the Lizard Records label where they would release their one and only album CONCEPTION in 1970. Having a polished and distinct sound that employs tight-knit instrumental interplay, heavy rock with guitar solos and oodles of fuzz organ, FRANTIC nailed the more pop oriented side of the heavy psych scene down however the one problem of this album is that it continued the trend of the 60s when bands recorded many cover songs of other bands and therefore this album feels like its more from 1968 then 1970 when the music scene was already shifting to progressive rock as well as the fledgling genre of early heavy metal. Despite the lack of songwriting talent, the band performed the covers quite well and the remaining originals were of very good quality as well.

The album begins with a hard hitting version of “Baby” written by the team of Clive Westlake and Mort Shuman, the latter a stalwart songwriter of Baroque pop that transcended the great Atlantic divide from New York to London. The second cover of the Billy Roberts song “Hey Joe” which was first recorded by “The Leaves” and made popular by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was a rock standard at this point and although it sounds a bit cliche to include this well known classic, FRANTIC did an excellent job at keeping it distinct from Hendrix and offered one of the most laid back and atmospheric tracks on the album. The other covers include Van Morrison’s “Little Girl,” Bonnie Dobson’s “Morning Dew” and the first single of the album “Midnight To Six Man” which was recorded by The Pretty Things a few years prior. The remaining tracks were all originals that sat well next to the reinterpreted covers which gave FRANTIC a distinct personality that sounded like no other. The strength of the album is that the music is upbeat and delivers excellent musicianship.

While not exactly a long lost masterpiece, CONCEPTION is far from a throwaway album that deserves to be buried in the annals of time. In fact this album is the perfect blend of groovy 60s vibes with the up and coming hard rock of the 70s and sits perfectly at the odometer change albeit more steeped in the 60s psych than the 70s heavy at times. It feels like the band would’ve really leaped into the level of excellence with just one more album but given that albums were expensive to record in those days and record labels were saturated with new talent that not every band was able to be nurtured to its full potential. There are many great moments on this one and if you can’t get enough heavy psych of the era with emphasis on catchy pop hooks then FRANTIC’s one and only studio album CONCEPTION is well worth a listen or two.

NINGEN ISU Taihai Geijutsu-Ten

Album · 1998 · Heavy Psych
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Taihai Geijitsu-ten is the seventh album by Ningen Isu. It features the return of Masahiro Goto on drums, who had previously played on the fourth album, Rashoumon in 1993. The album was released on the Trycle label, their only album with that label. After the band's contract with Meldac expired in 1994, they released an album on an independent label in 1995 and then were fortunate enough to release their sixth album on Pony Canyon thanks to a collaboration with a manga artist. But after that, they were still without a regular label and their drummer, Iwao Tsuchiya left the band.

The album title translates as "Degenerate Art Exhibit" and was inspired by the Nazi exhibits of modernist art in the 1930's as examples of degenerate art. Guitarist Shinji Wajima reckoned that rock and pop music were also a type of degenerate art and thought it would make a good album title.

The music here has taken a retro turn once more. The guitar sound is decidedly old school, early seventies, and at least a couple of reviewers have called this album very heavy psych. The opening track, Tainai Meguri, begins with some punchy chords and Goto's psychedelic/early seventies/Ginger Baker-inspired drumming. The album stays pretty close to this approach and wraps up sounding very much like a lost gem of 72/73.

As is usual for a Ningen Isu album, there are heavy stoner rock / early doom metal tracks with a strong Sabbath influence. "Ahen-kutsu no Otoko (The Man in the Opium Den)" and "Dunwich no Kai (The Dunwich Horror)" are two tracks that hammer low and heavy. But there's more to the album than just that.

"Kuzouzu no Scat" is a grooving, hard rock track whose title was inspired by Heian Period Buddhist art in Japan that depicts in nine frames the stages of decay of a human corpse. Wajima's "Chu, churu, chu-chu-chu-chuu, yeah" sounds strangely like Jim Morrison. Suzuki's "Chinurareta Hinamatsuri (Blood-soaked Dolls Day)" is a unique cross of progressive heavy rock and traditional Japanese singing. It also includes what I think is a Taishogoto, a type of koto, a traditional stringed-instrument. Meanwhile, "Kikuningyou no Noroi (Curse of the Chrysanthemum Doll)" is probably the only Ningen Isu song to have any keyboards, but only at the end, and "Ginga Tetsudou 777 (Galaxy Express 777)" is the only track in their catalogue to include horns.

Two other tracks that stand out for me are "Mura no Hazure de Big Bang", a song that captures the band's humorous side. The lyrics open with, "Today is the Sheep's Sports Day / One Sheep, two sheep they jump over the fence". The song's chorus mentions an explosion on the outskirts of the village. It's a pretty fun song. I also really like "Tentai Shikou-shou". This roughly translates as "Celestial Body Dysguesia". Dysguesia in the condition some women experience when they're pregnant and their taste preferences change, though in this case it's the title of a short story. This is possibly one of the band's most melodic songs. It's pretty cool because it begins with a drum pattern and slightly distorted guitar and the bass guitar comes in played high up the neck and the bass strings humming the main melody. It's also unusual because it's one of the very few Ningen Isu songs to include hand claps.

This album gets very high ratings on the Internet with one person ranking this in the number one position for 19 of Ningen Isu's 21 albums. My first reaction when I heard it was that it was indeed their best album. However since then, I have found I like quite a few of Ningen Isu's albums as well and possibly even better. Still, for fans of early seventies heavy rock and progressive rock, this album satisfies very well considered it was released 25 years after the phenomena of this music had passed.

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