BUFFALO — Volcanic Rock (review)

BUFFALO — Volcanic Rock album cover Album · 1973 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Unitron
The sound of metal in the early 70's made a comeback in the 90's, with bands under the labels of grunge, stoner rock/metal, and some doom metal bands all essentially bringing back the dark, dirty, and bluesy sound of the music that they probably grew up listening to. Bands like Black Sabbath and Budgie have been shown plenty of appreciation, with bands all across the metal scene covering them. The Australian heavy metal band Buffalo's only got a couple to my knowledge, grunge bands Cosmic Psychos (covered Sunrise) and Screaming Trees (covered Freedom).

Volcanic Rock has lived on to become a cult classic to many fans of early metal and the grungy 90's, and it's the album that sounds most grunge before grunge was a named genre. If Soundgarden was around in the 70's, this might just be what they'd sound like. The main riff in The Prophet even brings to mind Soundgarden's Searching With My Good Eye Closed. Out of the big B's of early metal, If Blue Cheer was the wall of distortion, Black Sabbath was the brooding darkness, and Budgie was the upbeat speed, Buffalo was the heavy heart and soul of metal.

Thunderous riffing rains down as Dave Tice sings his heart out. He has so much of both bluesy soul and gravelly metal attitude, and sounds like no other metal vocalist of the era. Freedom and The Prophet especially display this sound combo perfectly. It really wasn't until vocalists like Chris Cornell and Pepper Keenan for this kind of bluesy passion to see a return to metal. After the vocals, it's the bass from Peter Wells that stands out to me, particularly the massive sound of Freedom. The band isn't always lumbering though, they can pick up the pace as heard in opener Sunrise and closer Shylock. The latter closes the album in such a raw fashion, with John Baxter's furious riffing being unrivaled, and Jimmy Economou's drumming is excellent.

I could go on and on about how much I love this album, the melodies, the riffs, the emotion expressed, all so good. In my opinion, this is not only the best metal album of the 70's, but the best album of the 70's. Any fans of 70's metal and 90's grunge/stoner-type metal should not be without this cult classic.
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