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Unknown Soldier 09-04-2012 02:57 PM

Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History
Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History

I’ve finally decided to put together an album by album history of hard rock and heavy metal. I’ve decided to do this on a year by year basis, with what I feel were the ten best and most essential albums for each year. The journal will be written with fairly in-depth album reviews, insights and the type of impact that these albums had if any at the time and in the future. I decided that I would do this from 1970 to present day (so a hell of a lot of albums here) but I quickly realised that the real birth of this music, probably started a year earlier in 1969 which was such a pivotal year, so for that reason my reviews will start there, despite sounding an odd place to start number wise.

The motivation for the journal actually comes from various friends of mine, who often ask me how should they get into metal and heavy music, and where should they start. As always I often say at the beginning, where it was more melodic and less heavy by today’s standards, as a I know chucking them a Sepultura or Slayer cd will have them running for the nearest exit and swearing never to listen to anything heavy ever again! So this journal will hopefully be educational and interesting to any reading and possibly even nostalgic. For me it actually allows me to put all the stuff that I’ve listened to, finally down in a cohesive list once and for all, I also hope to sneak in some albums that I may have forgotten or overlooked as well. Also for some of the years for me, it will be almost impossible to choose just ten albums, but I’ll worry about that when the time comes. The format may well change slightly as I go along but that depends on how the journal goes. So I’ll kick of position 10 for 1969 on my next entry, after inserting a 'pre-listening list'.

Janszoon 09-04-2012 03:01 PM

Sounds like quite an undertaking! One I'm very much looking forward to though, since as I think you know, I struggle to get into pre-thrash metal. I'll definitely be looking forward to checking out some of your recommendations.

Unknown Soldier 09-04-2012 03:10 PM

10 Influential albums worth listening to (before moving onto the main list)

Ten pre-list 1967 to 1969 albums by different bands, that were highly influential on the development of heavy music in the late 1960s.

Jimi Hendrix Experience
Are You Experienced? 1967

A heavy psychedelic classic that needs no introduction, one of the very best albums in the history of rock.

Disreali Gears 1967

A psychedelic blues-tinged classic and the birth of the power-trio, quintessential in the history of rock music.

Jeff Beck
Truth 1968

This is a must listen to album, amazing atmosphere and guitar work by Jeff Beck, and Rod Stewart sounds nifty as well.

Vanilla Fudge
Vanilla Fudge 1967

One of the very best cover albums ever, as Vanilla Fudge take a heavy slant and make each song their own.

Gun 1968

This may well be the most "proto-metal" album here and a must listen to release from the Gurvitz brothers.

Head Machine
Orgasm 1969

A Forgotten album, by a band that relied on very heavy tones and there is some great sludgy sounding stuff on here.

Blue Cheer
Vincebus Eruptum 1968

Groundbreaking power-trio who relied on brute force over finesse. The heaviest album of the whole bunch.

Steppenwolf the Second 1968

Despite no "Born to be Wild" on here, their second album showed them at their most diverse and interesting.

Iron Butterfly
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida 1968

With their loud sonic assault, this album is included for its legendary title track which takes up the album B-side.

Witchcraft Destroys Souls and Reaps Minds 1969

Basically a loud psychedelic band that fuelled their songs with 'occult influences' they were an influence on Black Sabbath.
There were some amazing similiarities too, the bass player's name was Oz Osbourne and they had a song called "Black Sabbath"

Trollheart 09-04-2012 04:57 PM

What do they say, go big or go home? Looking forward to it, and glad to see you've taken what surely must be seen as the next logical step in your musical evolution! :):clap:

Howard the Duck 09-04-2012 05:58 PM

give me Manowar or give me death

Unknown Soldier 09-05-2012 03:05 PM


1969 was such a pivotal year as bands such as Led Zeppelin and Grand Funk Railroad gave hard rock bands with heavy blues based roots a much firmer identity, in both sound and marketing appeal. As pre-1969 it had basically been a much looser affiliation of like-minded artists, which had consisted of a number of blues and psychedelic based bands that had played very loud music, which in turn had helped to forge out a very heavy sound and an early identity. Artists like Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf and Blue Cheer were prime examples of this. One of these artists Jeff Beck had in 1968 put out his first solo album Truth, this album remains an extremely influential release even today, in fact it could be seen as an appetizer for what was to come in the following year 1969. Now speaking of 1969, here is my entry at number 10, effectively the album I think was the 10th best within the chosen genre for the year and from there it will go in a logical direction to position 1.

10. Deep Purple Deep Purple 1969 (Harvest)
The transition from progressive rock to hard rock.

By their third album Deep Purple were still in a crux over whether they should progress as a progressive rock band or make the switch to a hard rock outfit, as uptil then success had mostly been just limited to the "Hush" single from their debut album. In essence Mk.1 Deep Purple and the future Mk.2 Deep Purple line-up were two very different animals. The former of which perform on this album, were essentially a progressive rock outfit and like most bands of their ilk were prone to over indulge and to show their ability as prog rock musicians. Whilst the future Mk.2 line-up right from the word go, were a hard rock outfit that believed in hitting hard, whilst still showing off their musical excesses whenever the occasion arose. Now that scenario didn’t quite happen overnight as is often believed, because over the course of their first three albums, the band had already been moving into a heavier direction and all the elements of their early progressive sound and their heavy tendencies came together superbly on their third album the eponymous Deep Purple. It’s on this album that the foundations and future direction of the band were finally laid down and even today it’s still an absorbing listen for both prog fans and hard rock fans alike.

Rod Evans- Vocals
Ritchie Blackmore- Guitar
Neil Simper-Bass
Jon Lord- Organ/Keyboards
Ian Paice-Drums

Production- Derek Lawrence

Chasing Shadows- Kicks off with a steady drum intro by Ian Paice, before Rod Evan’s voice eases into the song. The song really showcases the band’s musical virtuosity, especially the ability of future Purple pillars Blackmore, Lord and Paice who are great here. Blind- A song that has all the hallmarks of a typical 1960’s song. Lalena- A Donovan cover that amazingly sounds like an early version of “When a Blind Man Cries” it’s beautifully sung by Evans and has some great organ work by Jon Lord. Fault Line- A great intro section to the following song….The Painter- A song that typifies the excitement and intensity that was around at the time, this type of song and intensity were already being taken to a new level by Led Zeppelin on their first two albums. Why Didn’t Rosemary- One of the strongest tracks on the album with some complex and sublime guitar work by Ritchie Blackmore. Bird Has Flown- Another great track and probably the heaviest track on the album. April- The showcase track on the album, that is an accomplished three-part suite that really brings to a close the MK.1 phase of the band. It also ranks as one of the band's most ambitious offerings.

In hindsight, this is an album that often gets overlooked in the annals of heavy rock development and is usually just treasured by Deep Purple fans. But here is an album that demonstrates a band’s talent and their ability to move forward and seek out a new direction. The album is blessed with Derek Lawrence’s production as well, because at this time here was a producer that really knew how to capture a live based band on a studio album and he got it just right with Deep Purple on this album. He would later go onto star with Wishbone Ash, whose early material as a footnote has a lot of similiarites with this album. Sadly this album though, would prove to be a watershed for the band, as band leaders Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord thought both vocalist Rod Evans and bassist Neil Simper weren’t the ideal men to push the band in the required direction and they would soon give way to both Ian Gillan and Roger Glover for the next studio album.

The Batlord 09-06-2012 10:05 AM

Dude, amazing! I actually had this almost exact same idea a little while back, but you obviously would be much better suited for this than me, seeing as how you lived this time period more or less. Will be waiting with baited breath for the next installment.

Unknown Soldier 09-06-2012 03:28 PM


Originally Posted by The Batlord (Post 1227992)
Dude, amazing! I actually had this almost exact same idea a little while back, but you obviously would be much better suited for this than me, seeing as how you lived this time period more or less. Will be waiting with baited breath for the next installment.

Don't worry dude, you can be my apprentice or sidekick.:)

Next entry should be up by tomorrow or Saturday.

The Batlord 09-07-2012 09:36 AM


Originally Posted by Unknown Soldier (Post 1228117)
Don't worry dude, you can be my apprentice or sidekick.:)

Next entry should be up by tomorrow or Saturday.

Can I wear booty shorts and a cape?

Unknown Soldier 09-08-2012 02:13 PM

09. Bloodrock Bloodrock 1969 (Capitol)
Hard Rock
A tasty slice of Texan hard rock.


A Texas based quintet that shared the same management as the better known Grand Funk Railroad and also initially benefitted from the production skills of Terry Knight, whose production touch at the time seemed to be a touch of commercial gold for the bands he worked with. The band had a great live show which again has been superbly captured on this album. As a band they were greatly inspired by the heavy organ driven sound of bands like Iron Butterfly, Deep Purple and especially the Doors, they also had a strong vocalist in drummer Jim Rutledge whose vocal style cries of Jim Morrison on numerous cuts throughout this album. Also Lee Pickens must've been one of the most underrated guitarists around at that time and he's certainly a guy that deserves more credit as this album proves. Throughout the album, an avid listener can often pick up the humour that abounds in the lyrics.

Jim Rutledge-Drums/Vocals
Lee Pickens-Guitar
Nick Taylor- Guitar
Ed Grundy- Bass
Steve Hill- Keyboards/Organ

Production- Terry Knight

Gotta Find a Way- A great 6 min plus opener with a the band's full complement firing on all cylinders. Castle of Thought- Now this is one of your typical second tracks on an album. Fatback- Love this song, as the Door's influence is strong here and Jim Rutledge sounds like a gruffer Jim Morrison, and the lyrics are so Doors as well! The song is dominated by a throbbing beat combined with some great work by Steve Hill. Double Cross- One of the best tracks on the album, pulverizing with some exquisite riffing from the underrated Lee Pickens on guitar, at times it sounds like a Deep Purple song. Timepiece- A sombre sounding song that again relies on power and with a heavy Doors twinge. A song that the future Dio could've covered very well and thinking about it Eddie Vedder was made to sing this kind of song as well. Wicked Truth- A nifty sounding song that ticks along with various musical changes throughout. Gimme Your Head- Steady track that leads up to the two finale songs on the album. Fantastic Piece of Architecture- A song that could've blessed any Doors album, accompanied by some superb funeral organ. Melvin Laid an Egg- 7 plus minutes of driving riffs with a very heavy organ accomapaniment.

I wouldn't necessarily call Bloodrock a one-trick pony, but from a creative aspect they were never able to match their debut album, despite having a reasonable amount of future commercial success and the rest of their discography often gave over to blander meat and potatoes type hard rock. Bloodrock also never had the longevity of the better known Grand Funk Railroad either. The band though, still seems to have a cult following and usually pop-up when the word "proto-metal" gets mentioned. Therefore making this a good album to check out for anybody interested in this time period, the rest of their discography though is strictly just for fans. After this album, the band actually went onto record their best known song "D.O.A" which features on their second album, which happens to be their best known album as well. I should mention that this is the first and only entry by Bloodrock in this journal, as competition gradually got hotter and hotter as the following years went by.

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