Proto-Metal

MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of progarchives.com

The combination of blues-rock with psychedelic rock formed much of the original basis for heavy metal.One of the most influential bands in forging the merger of genres was the British power trio Cream, who derived a massive, heavy sound from unison riffing between guitarist Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce, as well as Ginger Baker's double bass drumming. Their first two LPs, Fresh Cream (1966) and Disraeli Gears (1967), are regarded as essential prototypes for the future style. The Jimi Hendrix Experience's debut album, Are You Experienced (1967), was also highly influential. Hendrix's virtuosic technique would be emulated by many metal guitarists and the album's most successful single, "Purple Haze," is identified by some as the first heavy metal hit. Vanilla Fudge, whose first album also came out in 1967, have been called "one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto_metal#Antecedents:_mid-1960s

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • voila_la_scorie

proto-metal top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced? Album Cover Are You Experienced?
JIMI HENDRIX
4.62 | 28 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
QUEEN Queen II Album Cover Queen II
QUEEN
4.46 | 56 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
WISHBONE ASH Argus Album Cover Argus
WISHBONE ASH
4.58 | 19 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
JIMI HENDRIX Axis: Bold As Love Album Cover Axis: Bold As Love
JIMI HENDRIX
4.49 | 23 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
THE WHO Who's Next Album Cover Who's Next
THE WHO
4.48 | 21 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.29 | 72 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
KING CRIMSON Red Album Cover Red
KING CRIMSON
4.23 | 78 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
QUEEN A Night At The Opera Album Cover A Night At The Opera
QUEEN
4.21 | 57 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
KING CRIMSON In The Court Of The Crimson King Album Cover In The Court Of The Crimson King
KING CRIMSON
4.14 | 73 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
QUEEN Sheer Heart Attack Album Cover Sheer Heart Attack
QUEEN
4.09 | 45 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
JIMI HENDRIX Electric Ladyland Album Cover Electric Ladyland
JIMI HENDRIX
4.06 | 24 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
THE STOOGES Fun House Album Cover Fun House
THE STOOGES
4.23 | 9 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

proto-metal online videos

proto-metal New Releases

proto-metal Music Reviews

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
Arthur Wilton Brown may not be a household name compared to the likes of other 60s pioneers such as The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix or even Led Zeppelin, but has probably had just as much influence on countless other artists who followed in his footsteps after he set the world on "Fire" (as well as his head) with his pioneering proto-prog, proto-shock rock and proto-metal wizardry that he conjured up with his very first artistic expressions in THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN. This was the band name as well as the name of the self-titled debut which remained the band's only album until a reunion would find new life starting with 2000's "Tantric Lover" (excluding the archival release "Strangelands" in 1988). The rest of his output was released under his own name with some guests appearing on the bill along the way. While musically paving the way for many more to follow, this charismatic shock jock of horror is more remembered for his live eccentricities that earned them the title as one of the most shocking performers of the psychedelic rock scene.

While starting out somewhat normal growing up in Whitby, England and studying philosophy and law in Leeds later in life, the 60s offered BROWN the chance to nurture his wild side as he became one of the most outlandish and flamboyant figures to have emerged from the psychedelic rock era which included his famous head dressing that he would ignite and perform fully aflame during his live performances. This outrageous behavior is what got him noticed and still remembered some half century later, but during the day it also got him in a lot of trouble with self-inflicted injuries, property damage run amok, apocalyptic shocking material and to top it off was booted off the Jimi Hendrix tour for his reckless shenanigans. Not content to simply light his head on fire, he would also strip naked and let it all hang out so to speak, a feat that got him arrested in Italy and banned from even setting foot on stage in other parts of the world. THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN seemed like the perfect descriptive moniker for this unhinged lunatic.

All of these wild man antics naturally caught the attention of record companies as well and BROWN signed on to Pye Records where he and bandmates Vincent Crane (Hammond organ, piano), Drachen Theaker (drums) and Nick Greenwood (bass) would record and release their one and only self-titled album in 1968. The album received a bit of a boost due to The Who's manage Kit Lambert sitting in as producer with Pete Townsend on associate production. The album was a surprise hit on both sides of the Atlantic when the first single "Fire" catapulted to the #1 spot in the UK and shot all the way up to the #2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 not to mention significant success all over the planet. The album musically was based in the catchy pop hook laden psychedelic rock of the era with an energized with a groovy bass line, bombastic organ soloing and BROWN's four octave vocal range including an over the top falsetto that would give birth to the heavy metal style of Rob Halford in Judas Priest, King Diamond in Mercyful Fate and Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden.

Stylistically THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN album was laid out like a rock opera which included a more commercial side one followed by a slightly more experimental side two. The album was basically built around the concept of the first single "Fire" laid out in poetic prose and ambitious musical delivery, although the full rock opera effect was truncated and tamed due to the technological limitations of the day, the band more than made up for this lack of album ambitiousness with their lavish live settings where BROWN engaged in numerous costume changes and donned his famous face paint appearance that would also prove influential with artists such as Alice Cooper, Kiss, King Diamond and the entire black metal world that would essentially adapt the entire BROWN playbook and adapt it to the modern day. The album, while not a fully fledged opera, nevertheless provided a prototype of progressive rock hot on the heels of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's" album and remains one of the key pivotal albums in ratcheting the rock paradigm into more sophisticated levels of musical mastery.

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN album is flawless in how it creates the perfect atmosphere with the keyboard rich opener "Prelude / Nightmare" which finds a dreamy flute being replaced by a groovy bass driven rock beat and heavy organs offering a spooky overtone to the classical virtuosity that Crane dishes out. For the most part BROWN sounds a lot like Frank Zappa in vocal tone but had the ability to drop to extremely low bass notes and then whizz up the scales to hit high falsettos and blood curdling screams. He had the perfect intuitive drive of how to alternate singing, narration or just knowing when to just scream his ass off. There are even moments that sound like Robert Plant well before Led Zeppelin was even in its infancy. Some tracks are connected with orchestrations with some such as "Fanfare / Fire Poem" creating a tension building interlude that connects the opener to the powerhouse single "Fire" a track so catchy and built on unexpected changes that an unsuspecting public was defenseless against its persuasive charm. The album was primarily written by BROWN and Crane but includes two covers in the form of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" and James Brown's (no relation!) "I've Got Money."

The intensity of this CRAZY WORLD period was too much to sustain and like a super nova star simply exhausted its fuel supply not too long after getting started. Due to all kinds of mishaps and creative differences, the band completely fell apart during the tour. Firstly, Theaker was morbidly frightened of airplanes and could not tour. He was replaced by Chris Farlowe and then Carl Palmer but everything else turned south very quickly and the band called it quits. But like a super nova that explodes, it created the star seedlings to spawn new life elsewhere. After disbanding, Carl Palmer would join Vincent Crane to form Atomic Rooster, Theaker would join Love and then Rustic Hinge while Nick Greenwood would join up with Steve Hillage to form Khan. BROWN himself would create Kingdom Come as well as pump out a few solo albums during the 70s. The influence of this one shot band though would extend to the present day in the trifurcated tree that extends into progressive rock, shock / glam rock and heavy metal. No small feat for a short lived but over the top act that was only in operation for a mere few years. The band is legendary but the album is a mesmerizing as the tracks offer many moods, tempos and dynamics to keep it enthralling throughout its entire listening time that offer a mature mix of psychedelic rock, R&B and pop with classical touches.

While perhaps the overall sound is dated as it could never be mistaken for anything other than the time period it was created with it's somewhat cliche organ sounds, psychedelic rock constructs and album layout, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN does exactly what it is supposed to and takes the listener back to the year 1968 and delivers a collection of ten tracks that still sound as interesting as they must've back then. While rooted in the psychedelic rock sound of the era, this album implements interesting creativity in the nooks and crannies that must've driven the record company CRAZY! If BROWN hadn't been constricted by external forces this album may have been far more progressive, far more outlandish and the CRAZY turned up several notches, but even as it stands, this is a brilliant display of the late 60s underground scene that just happened to spawn a surprising top 10 hit around the world. The 2010 remaster is well worth the price of admission with a bonus CD that includes the B-sides of the singles as well as demos, mono mixes and a few extras. Even today, 50 years later after its release, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN sounds fairly unique with BROWN's eccentric vocals standing out. This is a true classic.

KING CRIMSON Islands

Album · 1971 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy


I

KING CRIMSON took the world by storm by unleashing an upgraded form of art rock that would be penned progressive rock and would forever change the coarse of rock music while launching an arms race of rock music that quickly increased the sophistication, however the band despite its brilliant debut “In The Court Of The Crimson King” was not only prolifically eclectic but quite volatile. It wouldn’t take long for various members to butt heads about which particular style to emphasize and which direction the band should steer towards. While the band had only released the debut in October 1969, a restless ambitiousness possessed those who stuck around and 1970 saw two more albums, “In The Wake Of Poseidon” and “Lizard” which explored even more eclectic sounds. It was at this point that bassist Gordon Haskell and drummer Andy McCulloch were finding Robert Fripp’s avant-garde tastes too much to handle and were more interested in remaining in a more focused blues rock arena, but Fripp was having none of it and after an acrimonious kerfuffle, the two split and a new version of KING CRIMSON arose from the ashes.

S

Despite a burgeoning prog rock scene just two years after it all began, Fripp was having trouble finding suitable replacements as many of his picks were in other commitments. John Wetton had joined Family, Bryan Ferry was off to Roxy Music. After the monumental task of filling the slots, the role of new lead vocalist and bassist was awarded to Raymond “Boz” Burrell who ironically didn’t even know how to play bass at the time and learned how in order to join the band based on his skills as a rhythm guitarist. He wouldn’t last long in KC and would go on to join Bad Company. The position of drummer was given to a relative unknown named Ian Wallace and then KING CRIMSON spent 1971 recording their fourth album ISLANDS which was released in December on Island Records. Another feature of this new lineup was that they were capable of playing live which KC hadn’t done since the short-lived first lineup after the debut. The band spent 1971 touring and recording before the new albums even released.

L

ISLANDS is the oddball in the already eclectic canon of this hard to categorize musical entity. With the new members on board, so too came their musical sensibilities but the main drive was the differences in musical tastes that founding members Robert Fripp and Peter Sinfield were undergoing. Fripp was moving to a harsher dissonant sound that would peak on the future “Red” whereas Sinfiled was more interested in the softer orchestral jazz collaborations that Miles Davis performed with artists such as Gil Evans, thus making ISLANDS the most overtly jazzy album of KC’s career. In fact ISLANDS has many unique qualities absent from other KC albums. Not only does it feature the only foray into the world of chamber rock string ensembles on “Prelude: Song Of The Gulls” but finds an overall more atmospheric approach that in some ways is an early example of what post-rock would eventually become, namely a chamber rock plethora of instrumentation that creates non-rock music in atmospheric textures.

A

Clearly a mellower affair than the previous heavier rockers, ISLANDS finds a tug-of-war in action where Fripp’s heavy guitar antics flare up in tracks like “Sailor’s Tale” but find themselves subdued beneath an airy-fairy gentleness of a totally relaxed vocal style of Burrell whose hypnotic bass playing surely giving rise to this proto-post rock effect. Once again the five official band members were joined by a few extra session musicians including the ferocious piano attack of Keith Tippett as well as a more pronounced use of the cornet and oboe. Given that the jazz elements are the main focus, the squawking saxophone is ubiquitous and the under represented bass flute finds some key moments on ISLANDS as well. All in all, the strange elements vying for control make this totally unique as the different instruments find themselves performing unconventional roles but somehow create a larger sum of the parts that takes the listener to some journey into the heavens above as displayed by the album cover art of the Trifid Nebula in Sagittarius.

N

“Formentera Lady” kicks off the album in a near ten minute hypnotic groove of a repetitive bass line and avant-garde backing of the callithump of various instruments that freely float around but the following “Sailor’s Tale” provides the closest thing to a true rocker with a boisterous attempt by Fripp to deliver some angular guitar workouts as well as a more energized Ornette Coleman styled saxophone workout. The album teeters on the precipice of order and chaos with moody melodies struggling to find full fruition and extreme bouts into noisy angularity at its most delicate balance on “The Letters.” The most cheery and melodic track comes in the form of the Beatles-esque “Ladies Of The Road” which delivers a rather catchy ear hook and even culminates in some amazing vocal harmonies but not without a hypnotic bass groove that ushers a frenetic sax and irritable guitar along the way. This is probably the track where all the styles on board coalesce the most sublimely.

D

After the chamber rock string ensemble fluffer of “Prelude” Song Of Gulls,” the album ends with the vocal jazz title track that begins with a gentle piano and almost sedate bass flute as it slowly drifts into higher gear but never really sets the world on fire but still finds away to drift on for over nine minutes as it engages in a rather cyclical melodic flow much like modern post-rock with a jazzy talking sax that punctuates the otherwise serene and hypnotic atmospheric haze. There is also a hidden track after a few seconds of silence that simply finds the band in the studio practicing. ISLANDS was probably the toughest nuts to crack of the early KC albums as it took a long time for it to sink in. While still not my preferred album of choice when rocking to the Crimson ones, it is nevertheless an interesting specimen of progressive rock that tackles jazz-fusion, symphonic chamber music and twisted illogical art rock all rolled up into one. It’s almost as if this was a precursor of what Talk Talk would conjure up in the late 80s with albums like “Spirit Of Eden,” a bold musical statement that allowed the textures and ambience of the instruments paint an impressionist aural experience.

S

This is one of those divisive albums where some claim it to be the pinnacle of the KC sound and others the exact opposite calling ti the biggest disappointment. I started out as the former but have come to terms with this interesting musical spectacle, that is understanding it on its own terms and not imposing my will of what it should’ve been. This is a subtly beautiful album that admittedly takes a lot more time to warm up to but seems to make more sense with a fair amount of listens. Once again, the turmoil that was KING CRIMSON would find band members not seeing eye to eye and the lifestyle choices of drug using band members led the sober Robert Fripp to drift away into his own world which caused the band to break up but as is well known, Fripp would regroup in a couple years and deliver a completely new third major lineup of the band and release the completely different “Lark’s Tongues In Aspic” which would allow much of the rock aspects to once again reign. While it took some time, warm up to ISLANDS i did and once i did, it shed a new light on its place in the rock history books.

DEEP PURPLE Deep Purple

Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
DEEP PURPLE’s Mark I lineup lasted only two short years but the band still managed to record three full albums, tour extensively and release a handful of singles, one of which “Hush” from the debut album “Shades Of Deep Purple” becoming a surprise hit and hitting the top 5 on the American Billboard charts. And consequently, due to that very success, the band members were constantly under pressure to repeat the pop hit formula however the musicians themselves wanted something else entirely. And such was the nature of the music business which meant that there had to be a middle ground between the ambitious progressive rock fusion with classical music and the more simplified pop hook tracks that could generate some income for a poorly managed Tetragrammaton Records that would soon fold and be absorbed by Warner Bros.

Despite the short time playing together, the band had evolved quite a bit since their nascent recordings in early 1968 and by the time the quintet of Rod Evans (lead vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitars), Jon Lord (keyboards, organs, piano), Nick Sempler (bass) and Ian Paice (drums, percussion) had reached their third album simply titled DEEP PURPLE also called DEEP PURPLE III, the band had unknowingly hit upon one of the great sounds in all of rock music. It’s just that they didn’t know that quite yet and would have to go through a few changes before superstardom would come knocking at their back door. Graced by an eerie amalgamation of characters on the Hieronymous Bosch cover art, so too does the music on this third installment of the DEEP PURPLE universe imbibe the many nectars of the musical world and because of that remains the band’s most diverse and unique albums of the entire multi-decade canon.

The album was preceded by the non-album single “Emmarretta” which was hoped to generate enough interest to promote the album but the single failed to match the success of “Hush” and fell by the wayside rather quickly and likewise the third album sold rather poorly which prompted the dualistic talent of Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore to think about the changes that were needed to take the music to the next level, that of a more streamlined hard rock approach. This was a tumultuous time as the duo had to assemble a new lineup of DEEP PURPLE behind the scenes while carrying on the business as usual as they toured the US after having finally found some modicum of interest in their native UK. It was decided that Evans didn’t have the vocal chops to take the music to the next level, an unfortunate limitation made all the clearly on this third album where the music had evolved into more progressive heights but the vocals didn’t and kept the album from reaching the pinnacle of its potential. Likewise friction existed with Simper.

While steeped in both the 60s psychedelia blues rock riffing and classical expressionism, DEEP PURPLE III served as more than a transitional album for the Mark II lineup just around the corner but rather allowed the band to go hog wild experimenting with all kinds of different sounds possibly hoping throwing enough spaghetti against the wall that something would stick. The introductory “Chasing Shadows” prognosticates the DEEP PURPLE to come with a heavier guitar presence than on the previous two albums. Blackmore was clearly coming to fruition as a top tier guitarist and was beginning to display more ambitious speedy solos as well as a wealth of wah-wah effects which made it clear the heavier side of rock was where this band was heading. Likewise Ian Paice’s drumming skills were finally let off the leash as he delivered a powerful bombastic African rhythmic fusion style present on the opening track that pummels the senses in an almost Santana like freneticism.

With bands like King Crimson and The Nice upping the ante in more adventurous arenas for rock, DEEP PURPLE were hot on their heels and on this third album demonstrate remarkably how they easily could’ve gone the progressive rock route in lieu of the less angular hard rock that they opted for. While “Blind” seems to revert to a couple years prior with a distinct Procol Harum type of softness clearly rooted in the 60s, Lord manages to crank out some stellar classical piano runs and Blackmore unleashes his own guitar tricks. This track in retrospect shows how the two main members were quickly outgrowing the limitations of the current lineup. Likewise the Donovan cover “Lalena” also keeps the band firmly placed in the 60s sound complete with those period organs. The album doesn’t really come to life until the excellent instrumental “Faultline” cranks out the backmasking as a rhythmic instrument and serves as an intro for “The Painter” which cranks out a killer blues rock riff and organ mix that start to sound a bit like the Mark II stylistic shift but anchored into the past by Evans’ relaxed vocal style. Paice is phenomenal in how he can produce a mood solely with his percussive drive.

Likewise “Why Didn’t Rosemary?” and “BIrd Has Flown” both display a mature sound for the band’s rhythm section as the guitar, bass, organs and drums have found their own spaces that inch even closer to the Mark II style. It now becomes obvious that Evans had to go as you can imagine Gillan screaming out a more sophisticated singing style complete with more emotive utterances. The cream of the crop for DEEP PURPLE III is the almighty progressive closer “April” which which was Jon Lord’s dream come true as far as the perfect classical and rock hybridization. While the band had structured their compositions to include classical interludes and underpinnings, “April” went all the way in creating a perfect harmonizing melodic construct of classical music mixed with progressive rock that even included a complete string section to accompany the rock aspects. This sort of style was en vogue at this point in early prog nascency but nothing The Nice cranked out approached the magnanimous nature of this beautiful piece. Even Evans seems to have stepped up to add some of his best vocals on the album and what a fabulous way to end this phase of DEEP PURPLE before the change.

While the Mark I lineup continued to play, Blackmore and Lord were already rehearsing new material with new lead singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover leaving Evans and Simper in the dark about the numbered days and unfortunately the two found out through the grapevine and didn’t exactly exit on good terms. While Evans would go on to sing lead for Captain Beyond and Simper would start Warhorse, the true winners were DEEP PURPLE themselves which under the Mark II lineup would become superstars and one of the most popular bands in rock history. The Mark I phase is certainly a precarious time for the origins of one of rock’s most celebrated musical talents and although these early albums are hardly perfect, they were quite innovative for the time and despite the uneven quality of the tracks and inferior talent of certain members still managed to crank out some timeless music. Whether its for historical curiosity or for the love of early proto-prog and metal, then sampling the 60s nectar of this phase of DEEP PURPLE is mandatory and this third installation of the Mark I lineup is perhaps the band’s most accomplished. Essential? Not really, but a fascinating album nonetheless with certain moments that are mind blowing.

COVEN Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reap Souls

Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
The history of evil as the subject matter of music stems all the way back to sounds of the violin in classical music and eventually the term was attributed to all of jazz music for its ability to interfere with the orthodoxies of the established musical paradigm so it’s no surprise that evil themes and deviant sounds would find their way into the rock world only a decade after the genre’s nascent birth pangs. The first sign of evil themes in music was the appearance of Aleister Crowley on The Beatles’ landmark “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club” which opened the flood gates for not only more experimental musical ideas that led to more progressive forms of rock music but apparently also gave permission for artists to dabble into the more occult themes that had hitherto been eschewed in lieu of feel good pop culture or psychedelic escapist dreams as the late 60s came into its own.

Black Sabbath is rightly acknowledged for giving birth to the whole doom fueled darkness that would blossom into the greater heavy metal universe but the English band wasn’t the first rock band to delve into the darker world of the occult. That honor wouldn’t emerge on British soil at all but rather in Chicago, USA and initiated by the band COVEN who in 1969 debuted many themes and attributes that would become synonymous with metal despite actually being a psychedelic acid rock band that sounded more like Jefferson Airplane than Sabbath, Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple. The band boldly dropped their debut occult themed debut on an unsuspecting public in the form of WITCHCRAFT DESTROYS MINDS AND REAPS SOULS in 1969, the year before Black Sabbath debuted their own darkened themes set to music. Add to that, COVEN invented the metal salute of the sign of horns, displayed inverted crosses and reveled in the phrase “Hail Satan.”

The band was the creation of lead vocalist Jinx Dawson and bassist Oz Osbourne who were in a previous band named Him, Her and Them and after hooking up with drummer Steve Ross, COVEN was born in 1967 and paid their dues by playing alongside late 60s acts like the Yardbirds, early Alice Cooper and Vanilla Fudge. The band’s overt occult symbology and lyrical content naturally generated much controversy and caught the attention of Mercury Records who was eager to cash in on the growing popularity and enthusiasm towards the occult that was sweeping the world. Despite the interest in this sort of underground rock as it was called, the album was quickly removed from the market after its release but became a cult classic due to its completely unapologetic use of occult characteristics that would soon be adopted in the world of hard rock and heavy metal.

Despite the wickedly evil themes and lyrical content that deals with the expected themes of witchcraft, Satanic worship and other occult subject matter, the album is actually characterized by a rather standard psychedelic pop rock sound that most closely resembles the West Coast psychedelic rock that was made popular by Jefferson Airplane. Even Jinx Dawson’s vocal style and phrasing emanates the great Grace Slick with the sultry feminine bravado and charismatic drive that caught everyone’s attention. The first eight tracks on WITCHCRAFT DESTROYS MINDS AND REAPS SOULS were characterized by a heavy psych sound that was found Dawson backed by heavy distorted guitars, bass, drums and the classic 60s organ sound. Despite the actual songs’ lyrical themes, it’s perhaps the final track that got the album banned and that which made it stand out from any other release in recording history. Track ten titled “Satanic Mass” concluded the album with a bona fide 13 minute black mass which displayed ritualistic chanting, chimes and Satanic prayers.

Ultimately the band was unjustly associated with the murders of Charles Manson and other deviant behavior of the time and was also lumped into the entire counterculture as a scapegoat for antiestablishment behaviors. Ironically the album’s first track is titled “Black Sabbath” which may or may not have inspired England’s godfathers of the metal universe with their debut album that emerged the next year but it does reflect upon the unveiling of the occult world that had never found its way into popular music. Ultimately COVEN’s debut is more of a curiosity than a bona fide outstanding album. The music itself is well performed but nothing out of the ordinary for the 60s and definitely not the best the era had to offer and while the ending “Satanic Mass” is an interesting aberrance from the status quo, it really isn’t that interesting and utterly a waste of time after a single listen. COVEN will remain in the history books indeed for initiating the first signs of Satan in popular music but i rather doubt that anyone will remember them for the music itself.

JIMI HENDRIX Electric Ladyland

Album · 1968 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE may have had a short shelf life having only existed for four years and crafting three albums but they really knew how to make things count and take things to the next level on each subsequent release. The final chapter of the power trio that consisted of JIMI HENDRIX on vocals and guitar (and various other instruments such as comb and tissue paper kazoo!), Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums resulted in one of the most complex and enduring albums that the late 60s had to offer. In addition to the trio’s dominate instrumental prowess on the third and final album ELECTRIC LADYLAND, there was a whole army of guest musicians and production personnel involved making this one of the most expensive albums to have come out in 1968 and with eleven musicians and vocalists adding touches of flute, saxophone, Hammond organ, piano, 12-string guitar, congas and backing vocals, it’s also one of the most diverse and magnanimous sounding albums of the band’s three album career.

Keeping things in the same cosmic flow as their previous two albums, the EXPERIENCE continued in the lines of the psychedelically fueled blues rock that alternated between hard rock, blues and funk that added jazz touches. The indefatigable JIMI HENDRIX himself spent countless hours recording and re-recording tracks and then polishing them into pure perfection to the point where his perfectionist tendencies which coupled with the open invitation for friends to join in on the studio time led to a break in the professional relationship between HENDRIX and the man responsible for his initial success, Chas Chandler. The track “Gypsy Eyes” alone took 50 takes in 3 sessions to record. Despite the magnanimous nature of what went into the recording and production values, ELECTRIC LADYLAND sounds as if it was created in an impromptu performance as it flows fairly naturally from beginning to end, production techniques excluded of course.

So fertile was HENDRIX’s output that there was enough material to create a double album and at a playing time of over 75 minutes, was quite the commitment for the fans to wrap their heads around but nonetheless ELECTRIC LADYLAND instantly shot to the top of the charts and generated the band’s only top 40 hit in the US with the Bob Dylan cover of “All Along The Watchtower,” a track that Dylan himself has admitted to being a vast improvement over his original. While the public enthusiastically supported the new album, the critics who had trouble finding a way to relate to the album weren’t so kind but was the decades have elapsed and new generations have discovered the ambitious nature of this album, it has since been deemed one of the greatest rock albums of all time as it effortlessly coalesced the disparate elements of funk, blues, hard rock, jazz and psychedelia under one anthemic banner.

ELECTRIC LADYLAND crafted a much denser and sophisticated compositional approach than either “Are You Experienced?” or “Axis: Bold As Love.” While clearly still rooted in the bluesy heavy rock riffing and guitar soloing showmanship style that had propelled HENDRIX into the limelight, the album shows a rock band evolving past the limitations of what a rock band was considered to be and much like The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club” which changed the musical landscape the year prior was in the forefront of experimental techniques that included extensive use of backmasking, chorus effects, echoing and flange. Likewise the 15 minute long “Voodoo Chile” presaged the entire progressive rock revolution that would become official once King Crimson launched their ground zero detonating “In The Court Of The Crimson King” the following year. In short, ELECTRIC LADYLAND had the simplicity and hooks to draw in the crowds and the subtle complexities to keep them coming back for more.

Eclectic and diverse, ELECTRIC LADYLAND showcased HENDRIX’s own sundry stylistic approaches. While some tracks like “Voodoo Chile” exorcised his deepest inner blues, others like “Come On” focused on R&B whereas “Crosstown Traffic” was more in the acid hard rock camp. “Little Miss Strange” was one of the few tracks to feature Mitch Mitchell on lead vocals and is a strange little 60s beat pop song tucked into the layers of psychedelically tinged externalities that provide the unifying factor. HENDRIX seemed to realize that this would be his magnum opus as his attention to this exhaustive labor of love only became apparent to the world that his works were indeed the makings of a mad genius who ceaselessly toiled over his worktable to create the next addition to his musical canvas. With a message presented in the album’s final track “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” that said “If I don't meet you no more in this world, then I'll meet you in the next one, and don't be late, don't be late” makes you wonder if HENDRIX didn’t know on a higher level that his days on Earth were limited.

Having not been around for the original release of this magnificent album has been one of my biggest hurdles in appreciating its brilliance as i’ve had to work my way back through the timeline to wrap my head around the mindset that launched the whole 60s psychedelic rock scene in the first place. While any progressive rock or metalhead who delves deep enough in the way back machine will ultimately end up here, it does not mean for a second that the album will be regarded in such high esteem. The album has to be not just heard but EXPERIENCED on a higher plane to truly understand. It’s almost a transcendental meditative experience in its own right once the left-brained antics of comparison to those who were influenced by this era are allowed to dissipate. Overall the album comes off as a dream sequence at rock concert where the performers exist in multiple dimensions simultaneously and are able to connect on a cosmic level superseding the 3D limitations of the Earth plane. Something struck a chord with the fans. ELECTRIC LADYLAND remains the JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE’s most successful album of the mere three album career and one that may not transcend the time it was created but on the contrary takes the listener back to the best aspects of what made the era so great.

proto-metal movie reviews

BLIND FAITH London Hyde Park 1969

Movie · 2006 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
stefanbedna
Blind Faith -London Hyde Park 1969 dvd. An excellent concert.Quite simple concert.A beautiful day and a hundred thousand people in London´s central Hyde Park listens Blind Faith in their first big gig.Absolutely wonderful.For me the historic value of this concert.Rating 4,0 stars for me.Concert will be held 07/06/1969.Performers lineup eric clapton lead guitar,steve winwood phenomenal vocal and keyboards, rick grech on bass and of course phenomenal ginger baker on drums.This is an example of the unique combination of two large groups of Cream and Traffic rights in the Great introducetd in London´s Hyde Park.Really very interesting concert series watch it again on dvd.I highly recommend.

Artists with Proto-Metal release(s)

proto-metal Index

Member Zone

Username:
Password:
Stay signed in

Metal Subgenres

Artists Alpha-index

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
MEGADETH
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II Power Metal
HELLOWEEN
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Achatius Black Metal
FUNEREAL PRESENCE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Into the Depths of Veracity Brutal Death Metal
DAWN OF DEMISE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Smells Of Death Death Metal
GODS FORSAKEN
Buy this album from MMA partners
Exile Heavy Metal
BLACK SITES
Buy this album from MMA partners
Gold & Grey Stoner Metal
BARONESS
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online