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Iron Butterfly - Heavy CD (album) cover

HEAVY

Iron Butterfly

 

Proto-Prog

3.25 | 56 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
3 stars In this first incarnation of the band, I can almost feel the internal tensions that must have been building between bandmembers as there's some variations of style concerning the tracklist and vocalist Darryl DeLoach sings on only half of the tracks but doesn't contribute instrumentally. This sort of disparate set of ideals can lead to almost humerous results, with songs about searching within yourself to achieve inner peace followed by "COME HERE WOMAN!" rants that crush any sort of meditative experience. It also makes listening to the album entertaining as well, since I was never sure how the next song would play out the first time I heard it.

Heavy is bookended by its best tracks. Possession has a good riff, a catchy chorus and spooked out vocals by Doug Ingle. Doug was clearly the superior vocalist, and it would be no surprise that Darryl would soon leave the group. It's as if the band saw fellow psychedelic rockers The Strawberry Alarm Clock's situation, in which a guest vocalist sang Incense and Peppermints with a baritone delivery, helping that song become their biggest hit by far while their regular singer, whose voice was typical of the West Coast "Nuggets" variety (much like Darryl) had to watch from the sidelines with his eventual string of much lesser and somewhat forgotten hits. The final track, the band's apparent instrumental theme song, is an awesome representation of late 60s acid/space rock with a great distorted fuzzbox guitar tone. Some quirky toying around with a delay pedal is thrown in here and there to assist in the 'freakout'. It's fun, and definately worthy of the album's title. Speaking of the guitar tones and effects, Danny Weis was quite a capable and talented performer throughout this album, and could have have been a much bigger name in the business if he could've stuck it out with Iron Butterfly rather than joining the ill-fated Rhinoceros.

The tracks in-between are varied in style and quality, with tunes sung mainly by Doug being preferable to me. You Can't Win has some catchy melodies drenched in that acid guitar sound, and Fields Of Sun has a cool guitar riff accompanied by some sweet bass playing. Some of the other tracks don't fare nearly as well such as Gentle As It May Seem's sub- garage level workout or Look For The Sun's failed attempt at emulating early CCR musically. Of course, with song lengths being reasonably short, sitting through the muck to get to the better tracks is not such a chore.

As far as being loud or even proto-metal, this album does have that cool fuzzy guitar tone in quite a few of its tracks, but don't expect anything particularly heavy except for the last track, but Heavy is a pretty cool time capsule of the late 60s, even if their next album would make them quite famous and sell literally tons of copies. In fat, I kinda enjoy Heavy more than In A Gadda Da Vida to be honest.

Prog Sothoth | 3/5 |

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