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

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

WISHBONE ASH Argus Album Cover Argus
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KING CRIMSON In The Court Of The Crimson King Album Cover In The Court Of The Crimson King
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JIMI HENDRIX Axis: Bold As Love Album Cover Axis: Bold As Love
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THE WHO Who's Next Album Cover Who's Next
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EPITAPH Epitaph

Album · 1971 · Proto-Metal
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voila_la_scorie
Three and a half stars for the heavy metal content, but actually I quite like this album. Since I turned 50 early this year, I decided to check out albums in my collection that were released the year I was born, and then I went ahead and ordered about a dozen more. Epitaph was a band that showed up as an early seventies heavy rock, hard rock outfit, but when I listened to samples on YouTube, I wasn't convinced that I needed to add their albums to my collection. Then I got this album and I'll say that I am pleasantly surprised!

Nearly every band that played heavy rock or fell in with the first wave of heavy metal - now respectfully known as proto-metal - was not consistently heavy and intense. Most bands had one or two killer heavy tracks, a couple more that included heavy parts, and then the rest of the songs would be boogie rock, blues rock, an acoustic ballad, a folky number, and maybe something not so heavy but possibly proggy. This album isn't one of the few exceptions. However, it thankfully avoids some of the cliches that can frequently heard on American or British releases.

The opening track "Moving to the Country" features a grooving riff with slightly distorted guitars that sounds like early Eloy. It soon changes into a swinging bluesy number similar to early Wishbone Ash. However, at 3:15 there's a guitar solo that sounds suspiciously like finger tapping or at least a sequence of notes that sound similar to a tapped solo. That perked up my ears. The rest of the track revisits some of the more heavy rock sound that kicked off the song.

"Visions" is a slow track with strings or Mellotron that sounds a bit like "In the Court of the Crimson King" or a Moody Blues-inspired song. "Hopelessly" carries over from the hippy melodies of 69/70 before changing into a bass-grooving, upbeat jazz-tinged rocker like some early Uriah Heep. Then there's "Little Maggie" which a fun, southern rock-ish, track that gets rocking like Mountain or early Grand Funk Railroad. This one puts a smile on my face once the guitar solo starts carrying on.

"Early Morning" is the epic track that appears on many albums of the early seventies and it is in this track where the early heavy metal atmosphere rises through the rock. It's a slow number at first that builds the tension a little before releasing some intense drumming and guitar work. After the 8-minute mark we're into that sweet heavy rock of the 1969-72 era.

The original album is over here but the four CD bonus tracks are really worth mentioning because aside from the single version of "Visions" each of the tracks feature more of that scratchy wah-wah's guitar, hard-hammered riffs and intense drumming. "I'm Trying" once again brings to mind Wishbone Ash while "Changing World" actually nears Black Sabbath territory with some hard and heavy chords in one part while otherwise just being a showcase for speedy guitar rock with some heavy bass lines and frenetic drumming. This track is the best pick for an example of early seventies heavy rock.

Epitaph's debut is not going to make it to the top ten heavy albums of 1971 but it has a decent set of varying styles of guitar rock tracks which include some of those early heavy examples that I love to seek out. Overall, it's a pretty cool album and one that will get repeat listens simply because I enjoy listening to it.

THE WHO My Generation

Album · 1965 · Proto-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Following in the trendy 60s mod and art pop scenes as the Detours, the band that changed its name to THE WHO quickly wooed audiences with its slick crafty menagerie of garage rock mixed with rhythm & blues and found instant success with the single “I Can’t Explain” which was admittedly a derivative of The Kinks “You Really Got Me” which shot up the British charts and launched the band into the big leagues right out of the gate. The unexpected success of that single that hit #8 on the charts opened the doors and quickly followed by another top 10 in the form of “Daddy Rolling Stone.” Due to these two high charting singles THE WHO was rushed into the studio where they cranked out their debut album MY GENERATION which debuted in December of 1965 and while a bit fashionably late to the British rock invasion, once THE WHO had arrived they wouldn’t stop until they hit the big time which happened practically overnight.

Like many albums of the era, MY GENERATION found two slightly different releases for its British audiences and another for the US with two different album covers. While a rushed job for sure with a mixed bag of varied tracks, MY GENERATION is notable for being one of the first British rock albums to showcase a more energetic aggressive approach which by today’s standards sounds laughable but around 1965-66 was quite shocking and single-handedly signaled an arms race of heavier and faster guitar riffs that ultimately led to the unthinkable variety of extreme metal and punk that would come a few decades down the road. That means THE WHO are considered both a proto-metal as well as a proto-punk band and although the songs on MY GENERATION are fairly standard blues driven pop rock that was fairly common for the British scene of the mid-60s, the drumming prowess of Keith Moon in particular along with heavier jangle guitars upped the ante in harder rock.

While i wouldn’t call MY GENERATION the most essential release by THE WHO, the album is interesting in connecting the dots between classic 50s rock and roll with the hard rock and proto-punk bands that followed. The title track was the only single off of this one which was a huge hit peaking at #2 on the British charts but also one of the best songs THE WHO ever did in its early years. The other notable songs are the opening “Out In The Street” and the instrumental “The Ox” which prognosticated the heavier and more progressive route that the band would take. This feisty number features incessantly heavy drums, a hyperactive piano groove and a punkish guitar and bass attack unlike anything that had been released at the time although it still retained a melodic connection to the R&B driven rock and roll era that THE WHO emerged from.

The album is decent but many rushed albums in the 60s included fluff and this album is no exception. The album features not one but two covers from James Brown: “I Don’t Mind” and “Please, Please, Please” as well as “I’m A Man” from Bo Diddley. Decently done but nothing more than adequate covers that really don’t hold up well over time. While touted as a masterpiece of the ages, i really don’t find MY GENERATION to be that exciting of a listen other than tuning into the zeitgeist of the mod scene of the mid-60s. Other than the title track and “The Ox” there is really nothing memorable about this album however if you have the Deluxe remastered version (the one i have) then you will be treated by extras such as the excellent track “Circles” as well as the singles that were released before MY GENERATION. Overall, this is a decent slice of mid-60s British blues fueled pop rock but hardly the best the era had to offer and certainly not THE WHO’s magnum opus but a great place to explore the band’s music for sure.

JIMI HENDRIX Axis: Bold As Love

Album · 1967 · Proto-Metal
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ssmarcus
Songwriting, songwriting, and more songwriting: that is what separates Axis from its predecessor Are You Experienced. On Axis, Jimi seems to actually put thought into the music being committed to tape. And the results are simply revolutionary. Take “Spanish Castle Magic” for instance. The core of this song is still blues-based riffing. But thanks to interesting supplemental chords, syncopated drumming, and a dose of Hendrix magic, the song is a hard rock trip unlike anything heard before.

The record is further bolstered by a legendary rhythm guitar performance by Hendrix. Though usually known for his bombastic soloing, Hendrix’s rhythm guitar work on tracks like “Little Wing,” “Bold as Love, ” and “Castles Made of Sand” is nothing short of masterful.

JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced?

Album · 1967 · Proto-Metal
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ssmarcus
This record is best described with one word: overrated. This applies even to the modern-day compilation version of the record that includes tracks from both the US and UK versions as well as singles recorded during the same recording sessions. The majority of songs on this record are loosely built around a weak riff that sounds as if Jimi spat it out shortly before the producer hit the record button. The psychedelic “innovations” on this record, such as they are, don’t stack up well against similar releases from the time, specifically The Beatles. “Love Or Confusion” is basically the same song as The Beatles’ “Rain” only significantly inferior.

The record is saved by the fact that a handful of riffs, riffs that eventually formed the basis of hard rock and proto-metal going forward, made their way into the final product. These include the riffs on “Foxy Lady,” “Stone Free,” and, of course, “Purple Haze.”

ELOY Floating

Album · 1974 · Proto-Metal
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Unitron
Eloy's a band that has gone through many phases, and I love a lot of their stuff. Their 80's blend of new wave, hard arena rock, and pop of Performance and Metromania have grown to become favorites of mine, but the heavy psych/space metal of Floating will always remain my absolute favorite from the band and one of my top albums of the 70's.

This album showed me how far subtle atmospheric touches can go in creating a journey in album form. Even in a loud album with roaring guitars, swinging organ, and a gargantuan rhythm section, the ways they create atmosphere are keeping with the intensity of the instruments. What sounds like palm-muted riffing is used to create strange spacey sounds with the guitars/bass, the organ is given time to play quiet melodies in the background, vocals sometimes echo, and guitar harmonies can play short otherworldly notes. Castle in the Air, which might be my all time favorite Eloy song, is a perfect example of these touches. During the bridge, the guitar is still aggressive, but quieter with that spacey effect. I haven't heard anything like it in any other album, but damn does it sound perfect.

Aside from the unique sound, both the ear for guitar melodies and the rhythm section makes this album. Castle in the Air's opening riff just instantly hooks with its fantastic melody. Bassist Luitjen Jansen and drummer Fritz Randow are playing with the energy of a thousand men, even with the whole band being incredibly energetic already. The finale of Madhouse (No relation to Anthrax's) gallops and shreds like no other and has one of the craziest drum solos I've ever heard outside of a live context. No wonder Randow would go on to play for Saxon on a couple of their heaviest albums.

Simply a classic in my book.

proto-metal movie reviews

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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