IRON BUTTERFLY

Proto-Metal • United States
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Iron Butterfly was an early hard rock band, considered to be influential in the early stages of heavy metal by many. Although not all of Iron Butterfly's music is heavy, their two first albums "Heavy" and "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" have inspired several subsequent metal bands.
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Original Album SeriesOriginal Album Series
Box set
Rhino 2016
$11.71
$15.86 (used)
In-A-Gadda-Da-VidaIn-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Atlantic 1987
$5.07
$1.93 (used)
Triple Album CollectionTriple Album Collection
Rhino 2012
$11.93
$8.30 (used)
HeavyHeavy
Elektra / Wea 1993
$9.85
$10.09 (used)
Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Lp Vinyl RecordIron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Lp Vinyl Record
ATCO Records
$199.95
$37.99 (used)
Metamorphosis (FOC) [Vinyl LP record]Metamorphosis (FOC) [Vinyl LP record]
ATCO RECORDS
$39.98 (used)
Light & Heavy: The Best OfLight & Heavy: The Best Of
Elektra Catalog Group 1993
$11.56
$2.89 (used)
The Best Of Iron Butterfly: EvolutionThe Best Of Iron Butterfly: Evolution
Flashback - Rhino 2012
$10.56
$5.00 (used)
Scorching Beauty / Sun & SteelScorching Beauty / Sun & Steel
Beat Goes On 2008
$21.12
$34.62 (used)
Fillmore East 1968Fillmore East 1968
Wounded Bird Records 2016
$15.59
$14.99 (used)
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IRON BUTTERFLY Discography

IRON BUTTERFLY albums / top albums

IRON BUTTERFLY Heavy album cover 3.50 | 5 ratings
Heavy
Proto-Metal 1968
IRON BUTTERFLY In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album cover 3.64 | 9 ratings
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Proto-Metal 1968
IRON BUTTERFLY Ball album cover 3.14 | 3 ratings
Ball
Proto-Metal 1969
IRON BUTTERFLY Metamorphosis album cover 3.96 | 3 ratings
Metamorphosis
Proto-Metal 1970
IRON BUTTERFLY Scorching Beauty album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Scorching Beauty
Proto-Metal 1975
IRON BUTTERFLY Sun and Steel album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Sun and Steel
Proto-Metal 1975

IRON BUTTERFLY EPs & splits

IRON BUTTERFLY live albums

IRON BUTTERFLY Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live
Proto-Metal 1970

IRON BUTTERFLY demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

IRON BUTTERFLY re-issues & compilations

IRON BUTTERFLY Evolution: The Best of Iron Butterfly album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Evolution: The Best of Iron Butterfly
Proto-Metal 1971
IRON BUTTERFLY Rare Flight album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rare Flight
Proto-Metal 1984
IRON BUTTERFLY Light and Heavy album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Light and Heavy
Proto-Metal 1993

IRON BUTTERFLY singles (0)

IRON BUTTERFLY movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

IRON BUTTERFLY Reviews

IRON BUTTERFLY Metamorphosis

Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
aglasshouse
Every time I've seen Iron Butterfly's history, their profile has a whole, and the music they've created, I've always thought of them as steadfast. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, for all intents and purposes, should not have been as successful as it was. An 18-minute long acid trip jam? Many others at the time tried to achieve the same thing and failed, but these Californians somehow managed to turn such a product of the times into a product that stands the test of time (and made a boat-load at that). Something as miraculous as this is hard for anyone to followup, let alone a half-stoned shit rock band like Iron Butterfly was. They managed it though, the following album Ball (1969) charting even higher than it's predecessor in the U.S.

Iron Butterfly managed to make magic happen twice. I guess the obvious question that should and was asked was: "can they do it again?" Yes and no.

There's a difference this time around. Metamorphosis, released the following year after Ball, charted at 16 in the U.S. Now, in any other circumstance this would be laudable, because obviously it's not easy to whip up a record that charts in the first place. But for Iron Butterfly, this was practically dismal. Granted, 'Easy Rider' did chart 66 on Billboard, being I.B.'s biggest hit since 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida', although I personally owe this more to the success of the latter and name recognition as opposed to song quality (who knows, the 70's were easily pleased). So, financially-wise, Iron Butterfly were sort of able to hit the gold once more. However, musically-wise, Metamorphosis is different from all of it's predecessors, even including Heavy. What I was saying about Iron Butterfly's seeming fragility comes into play here, because the band slowly started going downhill after their monster-hit, and Metamorphosis was the last album regarded at least decently by critics. On this particular album, the original line-up is broken, with guitarist Erik Brann parting ways due to band conflicts. Replacing him, flatteringly enough, was four different session guitarists. Mike Pinera of Blues Image and Alice Cooper (as well as Ramadam, a supergroup formed with Mitch Mitchell of Jimi Hendrix Experience), Larry Reinhardt (future Captain Beyond along with Dorman), Bill Cooper, and even producer Richard Podolor on the twelve-string.

Metamorphosis is really the culmination of Iron Butterfly's slowly building up musical consistency since In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. This applies for musicianship (because honestly they weren't the greatest players), production, and songwriting. The production is much higher, and allows for a more dynamic sound in both the experimental and traditional departments. Speaking of experimental, critics tend to refer to Iron Butterfly post-Vida as being more and more musically adventurous, and I would tend to agree. Metamorphosis puts a much greater emphasis on the progressive/space rock side of the band, something I've always found remarkably endearing when it comes to them in particular. Mostly this is on the smash epic 'Butterfly Bleu', a masterpiece of proto-metal and prog music that rivals even I-A-G-D-V (except is much more structured and, dare I say, intelligent?). Still retaining a spaced-out, pseudo complex attitude, 'Butterfly Bleu' manages to be heavy, emotional, and eclectic all in on package. It also funnily enough features one of the earliest uses of a talk-box (yeah, that thing Bon Jovi used on 'Livin' On a Prayer' to make his guitar go "rwoworwowrwow") during a gritty section on the latter half of the epic. Of the traditional we have 'New Day', a Steppenwolf-esque song headed off by a disarmingly good catchy riff. 'Shady Lady' is, at times, your standard brand of funky blues-rock, but it delves into extremely dark tonal shifts at certain areas. The rest of the album is rather expected of Iron Butterfly, being basically cheesy rock n' roll tunes molded by quasi-hippie zeitgeist ('Soldier In Our Town'), but I suppose the big single 'Easy Rider' has it's moments as well.

The band itself does very well for itself on this particular album. As aforementioned, four different multi-talented guitarist make themselves well-known on Metamorphosis. Mike Pinera's (presumably) part on 'Butterfly Bleu' with the talk-box always makes me smile ever time I hear it. It really makes the song have a bigger personality (of course his vocals on the rest of the song is good as well, putting on a zealous, emotional performance). The Iron Butterfly themselves are nothing to scoff about of course, But it's clear that the talents of Ingle, Dorman, and Bushy are not without merit. The band's made their abilities clear ever since 'Vida' in '68, and here they meld almost perfectly with their session musicians.

Some may get turned off by Iron Butterfly's material, but for me Metamorphosis is nothing short of a wonderful surprise. People wanted the Butterfly, and they got the Butterfly.

IRON BUTTERFLY Ball

Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
I used to read this metal magazine that was published in Canada called "Metallion". It covered everything from hard rock to thrash metal and was great for featuring homegrown metal bands. There was also a page called "Roots of Metal" that featured bands like The Yardbirds, Ten Years After, Cream, Vanilla Fudge, and Iron Butterfly. I recall one part of the Iron Butterfly article that said after the fantastic success with "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", the same line-up returned to record an album that "sounded like it was recorded between someone's coffee breaks".

As for me, I don't view the album so derisively. "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" had some great moments but there was also the other side of Iron Butterfly, the Butterfly side that was pretty hippy dippy ("Flowers and Beads" anyone?).

"Ball" opens with a stunningly heavy intro complete with harsh power chords, cymbal crashes, and a bizarre dragging/pulsing effect that creates an ominous and forbidding atmosphere. The song itself is a cross between haunting and pretty with inserts of heavier moments, particularly near the song's conclusion. Though not as straightforward as say "Iron Butterfly Theme" or the short version of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", this song shows Iron Butterfly's darker side.

The rest of the album covers a variety of approaches, bringing in some light funk mixed with psychedelia like "Soul Experience", or the tension-filled "Real Fright" with its hurried suspense/spy movie bass line. There's Doug Ingle's balladeer vocal showcase, "Lonely Boy" which will either have you stabbing at the skip button right away or you might appreciate it for the effort. "This Must Be Love" sees a gradual building of psychedelic hard rock guitar, and "Belda Beast" is credited to young Eric Braun who shows of his vocal and guitar talents.

On "Ball" there's also an overall impression that Iron Butterfly was moving into more progressive territory. In particular, I find songs like "Her Favorite Style" and "Filled with Fear" feature an almost classical approach to composition in the way the guitar, bass and keyboard work together. The song structures take the album away from the standard pop song, and for that I actually find this album to be an interesting and enjoyable musical melange of psychedelic adventures. Of course such a mixed bag will have songs that bomb for some people, and I myself don't claim every effort to be a treat. In a way, this album is one of the last of its kind because heavy psych, heavy blues, and hard rock was taking a turn in 1969 and things were getting a whole lot heavier. Still, Braun makes some good use of his fuzz box at times.

Four stars for creativity but three for the overall result.

IRON BUTTERFLY In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Album · 1968 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Call me a philistine, but I actually think the first side of Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida is better than the side-long title track. The brace of heavy psych numbers (reminiscent of Love and, occasionally, the wilder moments of the Doors) the album opens with benefit from tight songwriting and an absence of filler (and tedious drum solos) that the second side can't boast. Although side-long songs would end up becoming a tradition for prog and the proggier end of heavy psych, this early example of the form fails to satisfy because the fact is that it's a three-minute psych number padded out with 14 minutes of filler and redundant repetition. Still, at least side A cooks.

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