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Iron Butterfly - Ball CD (album) cover

BALL

Iron Butterfly

Proto-Prog


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2 stars You'd think after all the success of In-The-Garden-And-Eatin' (Eatin' what? I don't know! Use your imagination!) would've made these guys think "Hey, we're onto something here. What are we going to do next?" BUT NOOOO! Instead, we get Vida all over again only broken-up into little short psychadelic pop ditties. Hey Doug, will you ever get rid of that Hasbro toy organ of yours and get with times and go with the Hammond. You're worse than Ray Manzerek! At least he went with a tack-piano and Fender Rhodes by this time! Nothing new here. 'Nuff said 1 1/2 stars.
Report this review (#72780)
Posted Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars How does one follow such a immensely successful album such IAGDV? Well try you best shot at duplicating it might be such an answer or go even further out in the groundbreaking!!! By listening to this album, IB chose the first solution but unfortunately got lost in the process and eventually went backwards. The album still sold quite a bit (peaking at #3) and the two single cracked the top 100, but clearly for everyone, deception was at hand. Even the artwork is completely deceiving.

If the opener In The Time Of Our Lives holds much promise of progression on their previous album, we are quickly deceived by the next two tracks where their Soul- Motown influences resurface (and almost insufferably so in the overlong Lonely Boy - good soul voice though for a honkey ;-) and Real Fright goes back to their garage roots. All of the tracks (bar the opener) are more of a pop flavor, be it in the Motown or the more white-persuasion but the psych flavor is almost out and so is the progressive one. The only other track that reminds you of the previous IB is Filled With Fear. Also worthy of a mention is Belda-Beast, but not essential, either.

Clearly with this album IB went for broke, and they broke the hopes of many. Not that the album is bad, far from it, but this is clearly not what one expects of them. Just a one-letter change from the album title would have been more appropriate. For unconditional fans only.

Report this review (#73522)
Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars l underestimated but valuable "Ball" went the LP that continued to their more emblematic album, the one than "In-to-gadda-give-life" contained its hymn, titleholder just as the well- known single homónimo. In "Ball", Doug Ingle and its band tried to disperse to its sounds acid-rock, and with its indebted vocalidad of black guidelines, in subjects less extensive than they mainly did not lose indebted lysergic textures of the Doors, and that improved their melódica construction, they presented/displayed a remarkable collection of subjects rock with poperos, psicodélicos and progressive pieces, that they denoted in a its thematic existencial temporary preoccupation, expression of personal freedom and outlines of loving sentimentality, all it in atmospheres of shady tonality. The disc, of heterogenous tempos, reveals an instrumental excellence and a praiseworthy work in choirs that help to favor an atmosphere that mixes the sallow thing with the placidness, special meaning for the keyboards of Ingle and the vigorous work of Lee Dorman in the low one, although all the components contribute, beyond the functionality of their instruments, a considerable contribution to the musical wealth of compositions of high level, very disfrutables in the mid term.
Report this review (#77843)
Posted Thursday, May 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The band is at the peak of their fame in 1969. Their previous album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is still charting and this Ball album is even going to a higher raking than its world-known predecessor (sources differ since on the band's web-site, it is claimed to have reached the first spot, while other sources mention a third place).

The band should have been present at Woodstock as wel that year. Since they were stuck at an airport and that the situation around the spot of the festival was a total chaos, they asked to be brought back and forth to the festival site by helicopter; but this request was never truly considered by the festival organizers.

They probably missed a great opportunity to impress the world. I guess that In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida played at Woodstock would have had the same meaning for Iron Butterfly than I'm Going Home for TYA or Soul Sacrifice for Santana. But we'll never know.

The heavy psychedelia is always part of their sound (thank god) and as such, the opener In The Time Of Our Lives is probably the best you can get in here. They keep on with the music that was so influential to Mark I (Purple). While being a heavy track, it is a middle tempo one with a fine melody sustained by languishing keyboards.

The overall mood is also more soul oriented which is maybe not the best move they have made so far. The well names Soul Experience almost sounds as if it were coming out the Motown repertoire.

On this album, the production and the overall sound quality are much better than on their two previous releases and the music is more polished, but at times too syrupy IMO like Lonely Boy and In The Crowd. Again, Motown is just next door.

It is a pity because when the band stick to his basic psychedelic rock music, they are still able to produce fine numbers. I would just have liked to get some more like Real Fright.

At this stage of the album, Iron Butterfly tries to convince that they can still rock, but It must Be Love is only a passable song which is saved by a fine guitar solo. The overall heavy-jazzy beat can not really overwhelm me.

The next good song is the conventional and heavy Filled With Fear. It demonstrates that once again, they are much more at ease in this psyche rock mood that these ugly Motown sounds. The scary feeling provided by the backings is quite pleasant as well.

The closing number has some Doors flavour due the to the organ sound. It holds some burlesque mood as well and although it is enjoyable, we are not confronted with a masterpiece either.

This album features a couple of songs but I can hardly consider it as a good album. Two stars.

Report this review (#188040)
Posted Wednesday, November 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sure there is no In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, but there is a whole album better than that! and Ball IS that album! The songs are shorter but so much better in almost every way when compared to the previous album. Not to mention that the lyrics are superb.

All the songs from this album are more melodic and more psychedelic than the Vida album.

The opening track In the Time of Our Lives is a wonderful song and the opener of any Iron Butterfly album. This song is dark and sorrowful and was way ahead of its time.

Soul Experience is a beautiful track, one of Iron Butterfly's most melodic psychedelic song.

Lonely Boy is the only weak track off this album, although I am quite fond of it, but it is mostly a soulful song with a great psychedelic atmosphere and great guitar solo by Erik Braunn.

Real Fright is one of Iron Butterfly's more faster paced and darker songs. The title is pretty self-explanatory, the song is about being so deathly afraid to the point of going completely insane.

In the Crowds is the most pop oriented song off this album, but no more than the first half of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (such as Flowers & Beads, Most Anything You Want, etc...)

It Must Be Love is just simply one of their best.

Filled with Fear - Now onto Iron Butterfly's darkest and most powerful song. It pretty much continues where Real Fright left off, lyrically wise that is. It is about a person who is losing their mind to fear and knows it, but can't stop it. The only thing they can do is sit there and watch as their mind withers away.

Belda Beast is, in my opinion, Iron Butterfly's best song they ever recorded. It is completely drenched in acid and wrung out with the most melodic psychedelia the band ever attempted. It is sung by Erik Braunn with the most beautiful guitaring he's ever done. This is simply their most proto-progressive song.

5 Stars

-AP

Report this review (#195066)
Posted Friday, December 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Your hopes are bouncing in front of your eyes, As you jump to catch them floating so high, Bye, bye..."

What a shame that "Ball" so underrated - not only on this site, but in general too. This album screams prog to me. It is drenched in melodic psychedelia and contains many of the greatest Iron Butterfly tracks, for example "In the Time of our Lives", "Soul Experience", "Filled With Fear", and the incredibly beautiful "Belda Beast". This album holds a very special place for me, so it is very difficult to review it without being biased...but I will give it my best shot.

I believe that this album was mainly dismissed by fans and critics due to the vast popularity of "Inna Gadda Da Vida". But how does a band follow up such an immortal classic as "Inna Gadda Da Vida" without disappointing their fans? It has rarely been achieved. Though this album doesn't instantly strike the listener as a classic, it contains some of the greatest psychedelic tracks that I know, and the album is a pleasant and nostalgic listen. The music contains many of the pop-ish aspects of "Inna Gadda Da Vida", but the music is much more subtle and is not as punchy.

I won't review every song, but I do wish to point out the two greatest tracks on the album. First of all is "Soul Experience". This less that three minute long song is a journey through my deepest emotions. Each time I hear the opening guitar echoing, I get cold shivers. One of my all time favourites. Secondly, "Belda Beast". This song is probably the most beautiful song I can think of.

An excellent addition to a progressive rock collection, and an essential addition to a psychedelic music collection. 4 stars.

☮ Peace ☮

Report this review (#911682)
Posted Saturday, February 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
FragileKings
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I used to read this metal magazine that was published in Canada called "Metallion". It covered everything from hard rock to thrash metal and was great for featuring homegrown metal bands. There was also a page called "Roots of Metal" that featured bands like The Yardbirds, Ten Years After, Cream, Vanilla Fudge, and Iron Butterfly. I recall one part of the Iron Butterfly article that said after the fantastic success with "In-A-Gadda-Da- Vida", the same line-up returned to record an album that "sounded like it was recorded between someone's coffee breaks".

As for me, I don't view the album so derisively. "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" had some great moments but there was also the other side of Iron Butterfly, the Butterfly side that was pretty hippy dippy ("Flowers and Beads" anyone?).

"Ball" opens with a stunningly heavy intro complete with harsh power chords, cymbal crashes, and a bizarre dragging/pulsing effect that creates an ominous and forbidding atmosphere. The song itself is a cross between haunting and pretty with inserts of heavier moments, particularly near the song's conclusion. Though not as straightforward as say "Iron Butterfly Theme" or the short version of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", this song shows Iron Butterfly's darker side.

The rest of the album covers a variety of approaches, bringing in some light funk mixed with psychedelia like "Soul Experience", or the tension-filled "Real Fright" with its hurried suspense/spy movie bass line. There's Doug Ingle's balladeer vocal showcase, "Lonely Boy" which will either have you stabbing at the skip button right away or you might appreciate it for the effort. "This Must Be Love" sees a gradual building of psychedelic hard rock guitar, and "Belda Beast" is credited to young Eric Braun who shows off his vocal and guitar talents.

On "Ball" there's also an overall impression that Iron Butterfly was moving into more progressive territory. In particular, I find songs like "Her Favorite Style" and "Filled with Fear" feature an almost classical approach to composition in the way the guitar, bass and keyboard work together. The song structures take the album away from the standard pop song, and for that I actually find this album to be an interesting and enjoyable musical melange of psychedelic adventures. Of course such a mixed bag will have songs that bomb for some people, and I myself don't claim every effort to be a treat. In a way, this album is one of the last of its kind because heavy psych, heavy blues, and hard rock was taking a turn in 1969 and things were getting a whole lot heavier. Still, Braun makes some good use of his fuzz box at times. As for the prog aspect, it's a pretty good step in the right direction; however, things were about to become even more interesting.

Four stars for creativity but three for the overall result.

Report this review (#1419708)
Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2015 | Review Permalink

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