Suspect iterations of this style aside, it’s worth taking into consideration this genre isn’t entirely dominated by inarticulate screeching and ‘bleak’ (yet ultimately facile) nuances about Satan, speeds wheels or law breaking. The idea of turning expression into something hyper aggressive wasn’t always a shtick, as these titles should hopefully display; I think the anti-intellectual, machismo-laden perception of this late 1960s offshoot as a whole ruins it for the many standouts that aren’t quite as banal as earlier described. Hopefully the misconception will be slightly lifted from this, maybe not; the intention is not to give the reader cause to cauterise their own ears as a means of sonic elopement, as that would be unfortunate and rather unpleasant for beleaguered medical workers.

King Crimson – Red

Meister Fripp and his cohort of technically proficient beings pull a (slightly) heavier than usual venture that is (percussively) less indulgent than the preceding releases (LTIA?), yet still indulgent all the same as befitting this progolith. In spite of Fripp’s relative backseat from leadership; his time signature transient playing along with Bruford’s infinitely dexterous quantity of fills playing tic-tac-toe with Wetton’s crunchier-than-thou basslines give the impression the titled colour resembles something more of a kind of dried blood shade than something lukewarm like maroon (don’t cite) or one of those hybrid types that blur the colour wheel border I can’t quite navigate mentally. The band broke up for many years after the album’s release, and with it a possible indication that spiritual meandering involving Fourth Way abidance isn’t necessarily an above and beyond remedy for interpersonal problems?

Witchfinder General – Death Penalty

Some might call it ersatz Vol. 4, and it probably is, but you could argue that with anything that has come after a Fondateur-de-Genre, so the argument ends up languishing in the moot juncture for… an extended timescale. Compared to a lot of the other NWOBHM bands of the same era, they place less emphasis on speed, and more on the chassis of what would eventually be the Doom we all love and slightly fear, as though Stourbridge needed a greater reason for prominence-induced map placement not relating to translucent utensils. Aspects of the lyrics and the album cover are perhaps a little passé… yet the taking of that particular photo, without the clergy’s permission, ensures a timeless feat that at least partially negates the aforementioned criticisms, plus the Iommian riffs complimented by the reciprocally tasteful drumming should wash away any sour taste possibly accrued.

Kyuss – Blues for the Red Sun

A defining statement of the stoner variant of stated subject; looking at its psychedelic origins it’s essentially a redux of heavy metal’s roots (Vincebus Eruptum?). Descriptively it’s a cascade of low end favouring, reverse drumstick-ed, John Garcia bellowed reverberations that you can probably identify with a familiar smell associated with what these guys were supposedly tied to. Going further, even the album’s artwork speaks expectations, as though through H2O deprived-delirium you will begin to see the sand in a way beyond the small granules of rock they actually are, yet failing to take heed of the fact that anything in sight of the mid-day blistering of Palm Springs’ climate would make it unbearable to touch.

Flower Travellin’ Band – Satori

The perception of Japan’s metal tends to be something along the lines of the commercially successful Visual Kei movement, which from what I have gathered is loosely interpreted as the Land of the Rising Sun’s equivalent of Glam? Well, somewhat earlier, and lacking in makeup, came the above-titled, appropriating from Western Gaijin (whom themselves appropriated), and after a cover album, magic 8-balled emerged their indigenous (*use of English) take on this oft down-tuned music classification. Complete with their very own 6 stringed-fiend and golden god (barring the hair) soaring into frequencies akin to a kettle left to boil, yet remarkably kept in key with the added benefit of there being no actual spillages as analogies don’t tend to physically materialise.

Randy Holden – Population II

The connection with proto-doom-stoner-grunge-sludge?-punk-everyotherheavyniche.exe cult paladin Blue Cheer should at least hit pause on the thought processes and make you lift whatever eye-obscuring hair happens to be hanging from your crown, should it be at the suitable length stereotypically associated with this particular kind of social faction. Excess speed, with the risk of hurting innocent denizens minding their own collective oats isn’t quite this record, to the contrary; tis more akin to Slowpoke Rodriguez, lumbering yet articulate, albeit without his quicker-in-pace cousin there to help him along. I hear its collector’s item, which is good I suppose, although ‘that’ activity’s connotations with sub-cultural sectarianism persists in unnerving me slightly.

Angus Rolland

Recent career decisions have compelled me into the journalistic... thing; I could list my literary influences or even debate which 3rd rate beverage has the best economic value per litre (But I won’t). Oh, in addition, I write reviews for the Independents Network.