Tape Wyrm XLIX: The Death of Psych Tape Wyrm XLIX: The Death of Psych

TWlogo3I am not even pretending that I have a healthy relationship with proto-metal. This is my fourth article on the style and, for all intents and purposes, I never seem to run out of material. In fact, each article sort of starts with the spillover from the last. The previous playlist had a splash of hard psych mixed in with proto-metal and heavy prog. I know this sounds ludicrous, but the field of psych is vast with its own titans, gods, and heroes. While some bands like Bent Wind and Clear Light obviously sit in the middle, psych’s history is its own. Of course the path of psych, heavy metal, and progressive rock would cross and even become knotted in the early 70’s but psych’s line is clear and with the right attentiveness one can see it disappear in a sea of fuzz.

Whether or not it intended, psych hit a great stride in the 60’s and eventually gave itself to oblivion come the mid 70’s. Whether or not the style declined in popularity or just reached its natural nirvana in influencing countless other genres no one will know. What is known is that heavy metal’s lineage came directly from psych and for a few short years the two were best of friends. These are the autumn years of hard psych. The last wild ride around town before going to sleep for decades. The last will and testament to a genre which burned so very bright. This subject may be too far for some of you and for that I apologize. Please return next week for more black metal and please leave the hashish on the table. It is time to become real.

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High Tide – High Tide (1970)

Really, High Tide’s first two albums could fit into here. This British band’s debut Sea Shanties is more difficult to access digitally so their second debut record is usually the one discussed. It would be difficult not to mention that 1970’s High Tide isn’t the end for this band — but it really is. High Tide would return in 1989 for a new wave album that is even more difficult to find than their debut. History aside, High Tide rips and rollicks just as it would if it came out 5 years prior. It is dripping with echo and raw production that could have been its greatest draw had it not been forgotten. It also has some sweet ass violin.

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Life – Life (1970)

I have made it a point not to link full albums but, in all honesty, you need to hear this whole thing. Stop what you are doing now. Just listen to those thick sludgy riffs. Seriously. If I could pick any one album for you to take away from this article it is this one. It fucking kills everything and stands up to Sabbath’s debut. Come at me, I’ll defend Life to the death. There are two versions of this record, one in Swedish and one in English. I believe both are being reissued hopefully with more of a draw for new listeners. Honestly. Call off work and have some mescaline. It is going to be wild. We are going to confront God and demand answers to our questions.

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Highway Robbery – For Love Or Money (1972)

Holy fuck. Kick down that goddamn door, the blues are here and they are fucking pissed. Supposedly Highway Robbery was a manufactured band engineered by Bill Halverson, the producer behind The Beach Boys and Crosby Still Nash and Young. Because hard rocking carpet bombs were all the rage, Highway Robbery’s only album is ridiculously overpowered and recommended for fans of Grand Funk Railroad, Sir Lord Baltimore, and drinking beer with your shirt off. Highway Robbery is funny because if the stories are true, record producers were really intuitive in predicting the demand for heavier music in the future. Just not this one.

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Samuel Prody – Samuel Prody (1972)

Just from some of these related videos I can see this band has reached moderate success. I chalk this success up to a dazzling cover that would draw any record store hunter. Why wouldn’t you want those fresh styles? Another British band with one member, Tony Savva, a veteran of 6o’s rock bands before this one. Savva would go on to other bands afterwards but seemed to have reached a critical peak with this record. And why may you ask? This record has a solid voice and a balanced act to pull punches when necessary and relentlessly pummel the listener with heavy guitar.

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Blackwater Park – Dirt Box (1971)

Yes. It is. Go ahead take pictures if you want. Yes, this is the band in which Swedish progressive metal act Opeth named their 2001 record. Blackwater Park, the band, was from Germany and they existed for all of a couple of months or however long it took to record Dirt Box. The band’s entire existence is wrapped up in this 36 minute debut, which really is only about 32 seeing that there is a Beatles cover. For as much shit as I am giving the band, Dirt Box is entertaining, pleasing, and liberal with its organ. It also probably inspired Opeth to loose their damn minds.

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Blast Furnace – Blast Furnace (1971)

Oh for fuck’s sake, did any band stick around long enough for more than one record before disappearing into the cosmic ether? Blast Furnace is wild and they are from Denmark. This band’s debut also has liberal use of their organ and found it necessary to write a wild progressive adventure to Toytown. Come on gentleman, you’re not even trying to hide your red eyes and smoky auras. Beyond everything else, the foundation of Blast Furnace is built on far out guitar solos that dip and dive through multiple dimensions. Who in the hell is that on the cover?

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Cosmic Dealer – Crystallization (1972)

While were are on the subject of drugs, Cosmic Dealer is making no effort to hide the fact that this album, and the band who made it, was most likely ripped on drugs. Wait, let me check. Yep. I think the record is made of compressed opium. I make these jokes because with song titles like “Head in the Clouds,” “Crystallization,” and “If There Is Nothing Behind The Hills,” one can only think of the first time they went wandering stoned in the Dutch countryside. We all had the same teenage years. Cosmic Dealer yet again would be plagued with the one record syndrome before finally seeing six of their songs intended for a 1973 release published in 2012. Also is this the first instance of a logo type dripping that eventually was repeated by death metal bands in the 80’s? No? Just acid? Fine.

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Granicus – Granicus 1973

I would have passed Granicus over if it were not for the fact that they are from the US. I know psychedelic rock and the US sort of seem like they belong together but most of what we see in psych’s later days is from European bands. The United States sort of moved on. Granicus, with their fiery Zeppelin screams, were sort of the last vestiges of heavy psych before it became something else. Granicus would have a long and healthy line of albums following their debut…ha…I got you…they only released one album like everyone else. Everything from the early 70’s is cursed.

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Jericho Jones – Junkies Monkeys and Donkeys (1972)

Holy shit, what a gem. Jericho Jones is from Israel and produced a fantastic record after changing their names from the Churchills in the late 60’s. Much in the same way Moody Blues and King Crimson command atmosphere, Jericho Jones makes fantastic use of string arrangements on “Yellow and Blue,” and possibly have a 90’s flair in their wawa on “Man in the Crowd.” In summary Junkies, Monkeys, and Donkeys is full of oddities and nods to future sounds. What a weird fucking name.

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My Solid Ground – My Solid Ground (1971)

Another full album and this one is really wild. My Solid Ground is more artsy and psychedelic compared to others like Life and Jericho Jones. The band makes heavy use of noise and tape effect and their album cover is nutty as shit. My Solid Ground is from Germany and, along with Blackwater Park, fits in with another group loosely connected to this whole proto-metal universe — Krautrock. But really, that is the subject of the next article. For now, sit down, tune in, and blow your damn mind with some spacey rock.



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