Let’s just get the obvious stuff out of the way: unless you haven’t been paying much attention everything “psych” is all the rage nowadays. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as usual these things tend to blow out of proportion easily. That’s why we were a bit skeptic about actually releasing this third Satan Made Me Do It episode. Just understand that we are NOT trying to capitalize on the psychedelic revival. Our sole intention is to offer you a journey through the proto-metal tunes of old and, hopefully, get you some perspective about where metal came from. 60s and 70s tunes for the most part, of course. We tried to exclude the more obvious stuff to keep things as fresh as possible for you guys and gals out there. So no Coven, Black Widow, Lucifer’s Friend and so on.
As always, PLAY IT LOUD! and have a great time. We’ll be back two weeks from now, Satan willing.
Click for show notes and a complete tracklist.
The first song is also the most obscure one of the entire episode. Agnes Strange were a hard rock / heavy psych band from the early 70s that never quite made it. We honestly don’t know much about them, but it’s hard not to get hooked right from the get go. We’ve seen some people calling their music boogie rock which is not entirely crazy to tell you the truth. If anything they play a very danceable breed of hard rock. Great production too, but pretty much every rock band from the 60s and 70s had that!
Every serious proto-metal archeologist knows the next band. Recorded in 1969, Horse’s first and only LP is killer and anyone who says otherwise is plain dumb. It’s as simple as that. Sure, there’s heavier stuff out there from about the same period, but this track right here is fucking brutal. Worship the neighing or die! Fun fact: the band’s drummer, Rick Parnell, would later play for Atomic Rooster.
If some fucked up Buddhist scientist tried to pick up bits and parts of the bodies and brains of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and sew everything together, the end product would probably be something like the Japanese Flower Travellin Band. These guys are not just famous for riding motorbikes like Hell’s Angels in the nude (google it). That’s pretty cool, sure, but they also made amazing music which probably doesn’t get as much credit as deserved.
Riding forward to next track: one can only imagine the shock of listening to Blue Cheer back in 1968 (or maybe you’re a 60 plus years old guy from America and you can tell us all about it) when these guys released “Vincebus Eruptum”: it’s fucking LOUD! It’s easy to jump in the “it’s revolutionary” bandwagon, but that would never be an overstatement with Blue Cheer: they were a power trio before people knew what that was and they played Metal before it even existed! Everything we hold dear in our hearts of steel is in debt to Blue Cheer, as you can personally confirm after having your ear drums wrecked by “Second Time Around”, the closing track of the album.
Arzachel. We get a hard-on just writing it. When it comes to heavy psych shit released in the late 60s it doesn’t get much better than this. These guys were above and beyond pretty much everything else as far as we’re concerned. Just listen to those seriously daunting keyboard sounds… Dissonance reigns supreme! You should all try to hunt for a copy of the sole LP. It’s brilliant from start to finish. Trust us. You’ll live better.
And what can we say about the next song… Uriah Heep gets a lot of shit for some reason. Hard to understand how it’s possible to enjoy anything heavy in music without appreciating at least the David Byron era. This is as heavy as it gets in the 70s and it probably damn inspired some of your favorite metal bands. Hey, wanna hear a joke? You know what they call Uriah Heep fans?… Heepsters. Haha that was horrendous, we apologize.
Although Atomic Rooster are usually found under the prog-rock label, these guys had a dark side to match any of the other proto-metal bands more easily associated to the Dark Lord. Their second album, “Death Walks Behind You”, is a perfect example of this, starting with William Blake’s bestial and brilliantly disgusting painting “Nebuchadnezzar” used as the album cover, and going to the album’s title track with it’s ominous piano intro and amazingly powerful riff – it’s guitar and Hammond organ meshed together, but it can’t get more metal than this. We can see why Paradise Lost covered this song. The end result is very much debatable.
And finally… ah! You weren’t expecting this. The Louvin Brothers! Country gospel, for Satan’s sake. Well, the Louvin Brothers could have popularized close-harmony singing and their Christian songs are definitely warnings about sinning, but that’s because they knew about sin. A lot! Ira Louvin drank enough alcohol to drown all the demons in hell. He couldn’t get enough women. He had a mean, mean temper, which made him get shot in the chest four times… and survive it! He was killed by a drunken driver at a time when he was himself looked for after a DUI charge. He was singing about Christ, but Satan was his pal. And he tells us everything about him in “Satan is Real”. Amen! Some douche bags from “emotional black metal” outfits could learn a thing or two by listening to it (note: the spoken intro and outro is obviously not part of the song, but we think it’s cool, so pay attention to it and check the album’s cover).
- Theme For A Dream | Agnes Strange (UK) | Theme For A Dream, 1972-1974 https://www.facebook.com/AgnesStrange
- The Sacrifice | Horse (UK) | Horse, 1970 http://www.discogs.com/Horse-Horse/master/476786
- Satori pt. 1| Flower Travellin Band (JAP) | Satori, 1971 http://www.flowertravellingband.com/
- Second Time Around | Blue Cheer (USA) | Vincebus Eruptum, 1968 http://www.discogs.com/Blue-Cheer-Vincebus-Eruptum/master/17327
- Azathoth | Arzachel (UK) | Arzachel, 1969 http://www.discogs.com/Arzachel-Arzachel/master/30474
- Gypsy | Uriah Heep (UK) | … Very ‘Eavy … Very ‘Umble, 1970 http://www.uriah-heep.com/
- Death Walks Behind You | Atomic Rooster (UK) | Death Walks Behind You, 1970 http://www.discogs.com/Atomic-Rooster-Death-Walks-Behind-You/master/30557
- Satan Is Real | The Louvin Brothers (USA) | Satan Is Real, 1960 http://www.discogs.com/Louvin-Brothers-Satan-Is-Real/master/317606