Proto-Metal

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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

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  • Time Signature
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Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced? Album Cover Are You Experienced?
JIMI HENDRIX
4.63 | 22 ratings
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JIMI HENDRIX Axis: Bold As Love Album Cover Axis: Bold As Love
JIMI HENDRIX
4.48 | 17 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Red Album Cover Red
KING CRIMSON
4.23 | 73 ratings
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URIAH HEEP Look At Yourself Album Cover Look At Yourself
URIAH HEEP
4.23 | 47 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.07 | 67 ratings
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MEAT LOAF Bat Out Of Hell Album Cover Bat Out Of Hell
MEAT LOAF
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QUEEN Queen II Album Cover Queen II
QUEEN
4.03 | 49 ratings
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QUEEN Sheer Heart Attack Album Cover Sheer Heart Attack
QUEEN
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THE WHO Who's Next Album Cover Who's Next
THE WHO
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WISHBONE ASH Argus Album Cover Argus
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4.13 | 18 ratings
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SCORPIONS Fly To The Rainbow Album Cover Fly To The Rainbow
SCORPIONS
4.02 | 37 ratings
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SUPERNAUT Supernaut

Album · 1999 · Proto-Metal
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voila_la_scorie
Today I am going to do two things for the first time. One is that I am going to review an album entirely from listening to it on YouTube and the other is that I am going to rate an album below 2 stars.

But first, a little about Supernaut. An English band formed in 1973, they were, as you can guess by the name, Black Sabbath fans and like their mentors, played music with heavy and dark-sounding riffs. Unlike Sabbath, however, they included a spacey keyboard in their compositions. The band cut a single self-titled album of seven tracks in 1974 which was later released on CD.

Searching about the Net, there is little more information, though one site includes some info from the CD booklet which states that the band recorded a demo (the album) and had Vertigo's interest. The label said they were too heavy and requested Supernaut to record some Eagles covers to which the band obliged but were "so disgusted" that they split up. There seems to be some question as to whether this was a real band and is cautiously considered fictitious on another metal site.

Listening to the album there are two things that you will notice immediately. The riffs are really doom heavy and the guitar playing sounds really amateur. Honestly, the first time I clicked the play icon, I was immediately transported to my 17-year-old self with my Anjo electric guitar, sitting in my bedroom with a Boss distortion pedal plugged into a small, inexpensive amp and cranking out a riff that I thought sounded cool but couldn't do anything with. And this is the one very huge drawback to the album: the guitar playing sounds really amateur. Unfortunately, most of the tracks are introduced by the guitarist indeterminably hammering out his riffs on his very cheap and poorly sounding equipment. Once the drums and bass are in and the keyboards (surprising they are at first) start playing, the guitar playing slips into the flow of the music a little better and the recordings are passable as early demos of a young band. The vocals, sparse as they are, don't sound any better than the guitar.

This is available as a CD still now and I listened to this on YouTube because I was at first interested in an early doom band from 1974 and had an eye on the disc. I am glad I decided to listen first though and saved my money. In comparison, the early recordings by Iron Claw, which have a pretty shoddy production and don't sound so good and don't have the ideal vocalist, at least have a better sense of composition and playing. Perhaps it's because Iron Claw used to play Black Sabbath's debut album in its entirety at their live shows. Also worthy to consider in comparison is Necromandus, who were actually taking under Toni Iommi's management and who played excellent progressive, early doom but were abandoned after recording their album as their manager went overseas to tour in America.

I think Supernaut needed to have a guitarist who could play a little more fluidly and professionally, a better recorded guitar sound, and a proper producer in the studio to help them flesh out their style more. The actual riffs are somewhat promising and the music indicates that the band had a vision and potential but in the end lacked what they needed to make their album sound good. They get points for effort and could possibly have been a great early doom metal band. Instead, we are left with an album that is almost painful to listen to at times and has attracted criticism and scorn in the YouTube comments and no praise.

Not to be confused with the 1974 release by the Perth, Australia glam rock band by the same name.

FREE Tons Of Sob

Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
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voila_la_scorie
Free's 1969 debut, "Tons of Sobs", has to be their dirtiest, hardest, sweatiest, and most aggressive record in the band's catalogue. The album comes across as a recording by a young band who studied the likes of Cream and Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart and then dropped nearly all subtlety in favour of raw energy.

After the 49 second opening track, the first part of the largely acoustic number "Over the Green Hills", a chorus of "Ahh"s fades out and heavy guitar chords backed by a hard thumping bass and a steady drum beat that could well pass for shotgun blasts comes tromping in. This is the beginning of Free's most metal song ever, "Worry". Except for the inserts of bluesy piano rolls, the song is all power, all electric and sees the band nearly totally untethered. Paul Rogers sends the needle into the red by the second chorus as he sings, "Worry / Baby, worry / There's a reason for you to". Telling her that there's a silent, deadly message in the wind, Paul's bluesy rasp gets a power overload, while Paul Kossof is going nuts on lead guitar and rhythm section Andy Fraser (bass) and Simon Kirke (drums) would be galloping if they weren't smashing holes through the studio floor.

"Walk In My Shadow" shows the Cream influence and this is a swaggering, blues number with some real good scratchy guitar chords. It's followed by "Wild Indian Woman", which has a similar feel and groove as "Walk In My Shadow" but with a slightly cleaner guitar sound. Hear Paul Rogers sing, "You don't need your horses, baby / You got me to ride." Damn!

"Goin' Down Slow" is one of those typical, slow bluesy numbers that you've probably heard a dozen times before. I'm sure I have a nearly exact version by a different title but by another band and recorded in a small bar with the sounds of people chatting and glasses tinkling. To be fair to Free, though, turn this up and it's a real monster. I guess the reason why it wasn't recorded in a small bar with people chatting and glasses tinkling is because if they had, they would have been no people chatting and glasses tinkling because everyone would have been standing stunned still by the band's full on performance.

"I'm a Mover" kicks off side two with another typical blues rocker and it's interesting to note that Iron Maiden actually covered this song as a b-side to "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter". "The Hunter" is a cover of the classic tune by Booker T. Jones and company and sticks with the raw, high power electric blues by a band that really want to show their spit and vinegar.

Things slow down a bit with "Moonshine", which is a little hard to describe, (lyrics about staying in a graveyard all night by his tombstone) except that the brief chorus reintroduces the power of the band. "Sweet Tooth" has those scratchy guitar chords and this time adds a bit of funk to the bluesy swagger. The only thing that doesn't work so well is that Rogers' voice is in the right audio channel only for some reason. The album wraps up with the rest of "Over the Green Hills", which is where the rest of the song is.

The re-issue features several bonus tracks which includes live recordings (recorded live as a band and not before any audience as there is no cheering or clapping and also no people chatting and tinkling glasses for that matter), alternate versions of songs, and studio outtakes. Of these, "Guy Stevens Blues" (dedicated to producer Guy Stevens) is yet another example of an electrified blues band featuring a guitarist who sounds like a crazy Eric Clapton and "Visions of Hell" which is mostly a slower, depressing song but which culminates in a more guitar-aggressive finale.

Free would, over the next three albums, tame their sound and give it more smoothness and polish. But they would never again show off such rawness and raunchiness coupled with some stunning punches as they did one their debut.

KING CRIMSON USA

Live album · 1975 · Proto-Metal
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FMOTP
I'm a little surprised at the lack of reviews/ratings for King Crimson's USA. I once read a statement by Maynard James Keenan calling King Crimson the biggest musical influence on Tool. By the time USA was released, centering on tracks from the 3 previous albums, metal was clearly a large part of King Crimson's musical recipe. These are great performances of great music. My favorite tracks are the two bonus songs from the 2002 reissue; it's the version to get. I haven't heard THE NIGHT WATCH or THE GREAT DECEIVER compilations for comparison, but I think the sound quality of USA is perfectly acceptable. The only consideration that reduces my rating of USA, for the MMA website, is its place on the "metal" scale.

T2 It'll All Work Out In Boomland

Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
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voila_la_scorie
I’m of the opinion that progressive rock and heavy metal share a strong bond from infancy. It’s true that many of the metal bands of the eighties and nineties were heavily influenced by prog bands of the seventies, but more than just that, I believe that way back in the late sixties as both progressive rock and the first generation of heavy rock artists were developing their crafts, both subgenres had emerged from the nexus of psychedelic music. Simply speaking, progressive rock would borrow a lot from jazz and classical while early heavy metal would come from a combination of acid rock or heavy psych and a revamped version of the blues. Yet thanks to the experimental psychedelic rock years, both subgenres would freely choose items from the other’s bag of tricks. One needs look no further than King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man to hear how both prog and metal could be presented in a single song.

T.2. were an English band that took heavy guitar rock and blended it with a jazzy rhythm and created extended songs which sometimes featured psychedelic guitar distortion and feedback sections and other times soft, acoustic moments. In the simplest description of their music, imagine “Fire and Water” era Free with the largely unknown Necromandus. They released a single album in 1972 and a second album’s worth of material was shelved until 1997. They released three albums in the nineties which seem to have been mostly overlooked.

“It’ll All Work Out in Boomland” is an album of four tracks with side B being taken up by the 21-minute “Morning”. The song that ends up on YouTube proto-metal and early heavy rock compilations is “No More White Horses”, which opens with a simple three-chord riff played muted at first but then opens up as the music intensifies. It’s a great example of early doom metal as indeed was the music of many English bands at the time. The band is joined by a trumpet (possibly two) and then the song mellows down for the verses while powering up for the choruses. It closes with lots of drum action and blazing guitar work.

The album opener, “Circles” is also a very worthy track to mention for its jazz-based drumming and bass work and some of the guitar playing as well. But there are open chords and barre chords played with crashing bursts of distortion. Near the end, the music lays back for some experimental jazz-type playing as the guitar goes from clean jazzy exploratory notes to psychedelic distortion rumbles and feedback.

The middle track on side A, “J.L.T.” is a mostly acoustic track not unlike something Pink Floyd might have done on the soundtrack for “More”.

Side B’s “Morning” is basically in two parts, with a slow acoustic opening that leads into a mid-tempo rock song with more Free-like hard rock chords. There’s a two-minute psychedelic/experimental interlude before the second part begins, which is characterized by a more up-tempo rock number that then becomes a showcase for wild guitar soloing. Note that during these lead guitar showcases, the drums are often going nuts in parts while the bass is holding down a repetitive but frantic rhythm. The bass does stand out a lot on this album and though it often repeats its lines, bass player Bernard Jinks says in the CD re-issue booklet that he intentionally restrained himself to allow for Keith Cross (guitar) and Peter Dunton (drums) to be able to show off their talents more.

The re-issue comes with three bonus tracks, all of which are BBC sessions. “Questions and Answers” and “CD” are not on the album and feature a more psychedelic guitar sound and playing style, leading me to believe that these are older recordings. “CD” must be the hardest hitting track on the whole, uh, CD. I also feel the guitar solos on these two tracks are more emotive than what we hear on the actual studio album. The final track is “Circles” again, though I feel it’s less effective here with the BBC because the drums are not mixed very loudly and the heavier guitar chords are also quieted down.

T.2. were a band that took the jazzy blend of rock, intensified the guitar sound with lots of hard-hitting open chords and barre chords, and added some frantic lead guitar. They played longer tracks and like most bands of the day, they added mellow acoustic parts. There is also the presence of brass on a couple of tracks. They are not progressive like Genesis or Yes or even King Crimson but more like the psychedelic bands of the late sixties who added parts to songs that allowed for a galloping rhythm section to provide a backdrop for fast fingers on the guitar fretboard. An album recommended more to people who enjoy heavy psychedelic rock and early hard rock / heavy metal and less to people who enjoy experimental jazz or symphonic rock.

ZOLAR-X Timeless

Album · 2004 · Proto-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Referred to as the first LA glam rock band according to the 1998 book “Glam” by Barney Hoskyns amongst others of the same opinion, the bizarre ZOLAR X was proof of the fact that success in the music industry is a mere roll of the dice with not talent, originality or even popularity in live settings dictating the whims of Lady Luck. Such is the case with one of the most popular mondo bizarro proto-punk pioneers of the LA glam rock scene formed in 1973 who not only were famous fort heir catchy proto-punk space anthems that captured the anti-pomp anxiety gestating in the West Coast scenes during an era of hippie entitlement but most noted for their outrageous appearance and behavior as they dressed and acted like space aliens and even invented their own language and so committed were they that the band lived the part and stayed in character 24/7. Having taken the live LA glam rock circuit by storm, for a short time they ruled the scene. Not bad for a bunch of freaks who claimed they came from Zolaria, Plutonia!

Having caught the public’s attention with their bona fide detachment from anything terrestrial and sort of resembled kitschy alien action figures that looked like a possible rock band from Mr Spock’s home planet of Vulcan (note their pointy ears!), ZOLAR X equally caught the city by storm with their exquisitely constructed space-infused rock compositions that left no attendees un-rocked during their live performances. Yes, the world had been invaded by these freaks who came in peace (although the toy ray guns may have lead some to conclude otherwise) but despite all the attention getting raucous rockers they churned out coupled with some of the most outrageous live performances of the entire LA glam rock scene, ZOLAR X skirted through the 70s without a record deal and as a result of the ensuing ventures into drug related addictions and other tales of woe entered the following decade placed in the rare category of having been classic live performers who never released a single album.

Despite the elusive opportunities smacking them on the face and then provokingly running away, ZOLAR X were at long last redeemed when long time fan Jello Biafra finally collected more than a decade’s worth of material and then better late than never released the collection TIMELESS on his Alternative Tentacles label in 2004. So at long last, after decades of degradation and every personal setback humanly (or is that “alienly” possible?), the glitzy space rockers finally garnered the attention they deserved and jumped back into their time capsules to work on previously unfinished endeavors as LA’s best rock ’n roll obscurities that somehow missed the train and ended up stranded at the station for 30 years. Only this time they were up to the challenge and have been releasing new albums and touring ever since. TIMELESS is more than a collection of tracks that paints the picture of a band who was in the same league as their hugely successful contemporaries but is a history lesson delving into the timeline of that alternative universe where this album would be considered more of a “greatest hits” collection rather than a tribute to “lost opportunities.”

TIMLESS cuts right to the chase with a short little introductory narrative “Recitation” in their invented language sounding like they are in a sound portal but sets the perfect tone for the reckless rocker “Timeless” which indicates immediately what made ZOLAR X, so well, different. Immediately they not only exude a self-prophesy in that title and simultaneously display their influences and who they influenced. There is of course the obvious “Ziggy Stardust” era of David Bowie but not as much as you’d expect. There’s a clear nod to the heavy proto-punk scene of The Stooges and New York Dolls but they also display a much heavier approach entering proto-metal territory with riffing that was much heavier and faster than anything other glam rockers other than possibly The Sweet were churning out at the time.

ZOLAR X had the knack of creating catchy pop laden melodies brazened with the perfect punk angst frosted with psychedelia and even ventured into the progressive rock world with their amazingly complex compositions “Horizon Suite” and “Plutonian Elf Story,” the former which sails through three distinct segments and lasts well over 10 minutes while the latter offers a humorous journey into their space kitsch laid out in prog fashion. While their appearance and stage antics seem to have gotten most of the lion’s share of attention, the musicianship of these alien forces is also quite astonishing as the riffs are catchy, tight and to the point. ZOLAR X were keen songwriting machines and every track shines its own unique light onto their overall sound. ZOLAR X was founded by Stephen Della Bosca who renamed himself Ygarrist, and was the songwriter in chief as well as an accomplished guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist. The rest of the band just fell into place with band members adopting equally looney names: Zany Zatovian on the space bass, Eon Flash and Rom Eclipse on drums and we can’t forget to name Rogan on keys!

TIMELESS is the ultimate testament to these forgotten legends who never found their just dessert in the brutal dictates of the 70s LA music scene and leaves me wondering how many other crazy talented acts were also left behind in the mad rush for finding the next money making enterprise in the greedy money grubbing days of record company executives. ZOLAR X proves they are indeed one of the greats who crafted a sound and image infinitely more diverse than any of the bands they would influence and light years away from the limiting sounds of The Stooges, The Kinks or other similarly sounding acts. Whether it be the bluesy rock ’n roll shuffles that remind of glam rock’s antecedents or the heavy punk infused rockers that got them noticed and cited as pioneers in the field, the story of ZOLAR X is an interesting one and TIMELESS perfectly demonstrates the band’s evolution from their formation in 1973 to their ultimate initial demise in 1981.

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BLIND FAITH London Hyde Park 1969

Movie · 2006 · Proto-Metal
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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.

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