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Jay and Gary Leavitt, along with Bobby Herne, made their first musical rumblings in 1966 as the Cobras, releasing the New England garage classic "I Wanna Be Your Lover"/"Instant Heartache". Fast-forward to 1970 and the brothers, joined by Ralph Mazotta (ex-Lazy Smoke) and Harold Perino Jr. (aka "Maris"), transformed into the hard psychedelic aggro Euclid, signed to Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman subsidiary Amsterdam and were one of the few (only?) "rock" releases on either label (a notable exception being the rare Minx soundtrack by The Cyrkle). Herne, manning the producer's chair (a role he would later repeat for The Shaggs' Philosophy Of The World LP), created a "bad trip" spiked with backwards tape effects, darkly-phased vocals, all instruments set to "pummel" and an album title certainly eligible for the "truth in advertising" award!
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EUCLID Heavy Equipment album cover 3.55 | 3 ratings
Heavy Equipment
Proto-Metal 1970

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EUCLID Heavy Equipment

Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
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I came across Euclid while searching YouTube for proto-metal bands and heard their cover of "Gimme Some Lovin'". I couldn't believe how that song was beaten over with a thunderous rhythm section and fuzz-toned bass while the rhythm guitar chugs like the connecting rod of a steam locomotive: chugga-chugga-chugga-BWANG! Overtop, there's a screaming guitar solo between the vocal parts. I had to have this album!

Euclid did not disappoint. The music is mostly a remorseless employment of guitar distortion over a pulverizing rhythm section that is contrasted to great effect by strong vocal harmonies. The vocal department delivers the melodies while the instrumental department attempts to drive the listener's skull through the table. Alright, so it doesn't compare to today's modern metal, but for 1970 these guys were hell bent for a full on audio assault.

The first track is actually three separate songs segued together. "Shadows of Life" tells you what to expect from this band as heavy rock riffs come at you like a bulldozer while the harmony vocals sing out like a top-ten pop song that ended up in the wrong musical vehicle. "On the Way" is a psychedelic trip like the kind the Stones went on to record some tracks on "Their Satanic Majesties Request". Weird but not out of place for the times. The third part, "Bye Bye Baby" comes in with a mean and full-distortion guitar riff. Here the verse parts are sung with gruff and ominous-sounding vocals. The chorus shifts into a cheery late-sixties pop rock song before the buzzing power chords come back for the verse. There's an oscillating re-verb effect that keeps this song in a psychedelic haze.

This is the most experimental and diverse part of the album. Most of the remaining tracks stick with the heavy-guitar, chugging rhythm style of rock with strong melodies and harmonies. The song to stray furthest from this cast is "Lazy Livin'" which begins with a very noisy wind-up chime and some bells and then gets supplanted by what sounds like a backwards sitar for a very eastern flavour. The song is slow and laid back at first but soon builds intensity and then transforms into another psychedelic trip that could have come from late 1967 or early 1968.

The other songs, "First Time Last Time", "97 Days", "She's Gone", and "It's All Over Now" share the common theme of being about boy/girl relationships (I believe "It's All Over Now" is a cover) and feature radio-friendly vocal harmonies but backed by the same pounding heavy rock as "Gimme Some Lovin'".

The sound of the recording is pretty good. On a scale of 1 to 5 I give it a strong 3. It could be a little cleaner but given that many heavy rock songs of the time were recorded in small studios that couldn't accommodate stacks of amplifiers, it's a pretty decent result.

This album is recommended to people who want to find more music from the 1968-1973 period that is based on distortion and heavy power chords and screaming guitars. Good but not essential is an understatement but as much as I like it I don't feel confident in calling it an excellent addition. You have to love this early style of heavy rock / heavy psyche to appreciate this album.

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