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Iron Butterfly - Sun And Steel CD (album) cover


Iron Butterfly


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4 stars I've always been a fan of Iron Butterfly, but was never really convinced they should be on Prog Archives until I heard Sun and Steel. Now people generally give this album a bad rap, but I believe that there is a wonderfully surprising amount of progressive rock on this album. Unfortunately the prog side of this album is reduced to about 4 songs the rest being a mostly hard rock with psychedelic elements.

HIGHLIGHTS- I believe that Iron Butterfly was just one step away from becoming a symphonic band at this point.

Sun and Steel - The opening to the albums is very well done. It begins with a very brief swirling organ and then the main riff comes in. Being a more psychedelic influenced prog song and features great use of the mellotron, with a cleverly placed flute sounding bit. The song closes with a nice psychedelic wah-wah by Erik Braunn (kudos)!

Scion-This being the least progressive of the songs that will be noted. The strong point of this song is its lyrics which deals with a Scion of the human strain. This song has one of the best organ solos you'll find on any Iron Butterfly album.

I'm Right, I'm Wrong - Despite the deceiving name, this IS Iron Butterfly's most progressive song ever recorded. It opens with a nice mellotron and synthesizer solo which goes on for about a minute or so. Then you hear Phil Kramer's bass line come and Erik's riff begin. After which more mellotron beautifully syncs in. Phil Kramer sings on this song, which was a good choice because he has the voice best fitted for a progressive rock song. There is also good use of the piano and about 3 minutes in you get a brief synthesizer solo. After that the song concludes with a beautiful mellotron bit and then out of nowhere comes this horn sound, which I thought was nice touch. The song ends with a flute like tron bit and fades out. This song is the main reason to buy this album in my opinion.

Watch the World Goin' By - At under 3 min this song is brief but beautiful. A very nice acoustic affair with a great use of piano and mellotron use. The mellotron use on this song includes the choir like sound and the standard orchestra sound. Its only shame that Iron Butterfly didn't pick Bill DeMartinez for Scorching Beauty as he is the best keyboardist (besides Doug Ingle of course) Iron Butterfly has ever had. Who knows maybe Scorching Beauty would've made a dent in the progressive world.

Scorching Beauty - Okay, this makes five but I find it relevant to include. This is the closing track and while not very progressive it still has that added touch of mellotron and organ. At almost 7 minutes, it includes a lengthy guitar solo but unfortunately next to no keyboard solos.

As you may have guessed by now, Sun and Steel's most value is Bill's (keyboardist) use of the mellotron, synthesizer, piano and organ which have made a very effective statement. By far this is Iron Butterfly's most experimental and progressive album to date. So please, take what I have said into consideration, listen to Sun and Steel and see if you can find the magic that inspired me to not only write this review but to finally acknowledge Iron Butterfly's place in Progressive Rock History.

Thanks for listening, peace.

Report this review (#184341)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I was surprised to see Iron Butterfly on PA and I could not resist to write abou this album. It was a fine 70īs hard rock sample, with some prog influences (most of them brought up by the excellent new keyboards man Bill Demartinez). Coming after the disappointing Scorching Beauty, this CD was a big, big improvement. The title track is a classic: great riffs, very well played keyboards (hear the mellotron-flute in the middle), gutsy guitar solo in the end and Erik Braunnīs voice is perfect. I always loved this song.

The remaining tracks are not that great, but the CD is very good and the only real weak track is Free (fortunatly a short one). Bill DeMartinez fine work wiht his vast array of keyboards is one responsible to turn even the simplest song into a minor symphony, sometimes just for a brief moment, but thatīs the beauty of it. He never goes over the top and all band members are in great shape here, a real team work. It is only a pity it was the last time I heard from them. Sun And Steel showed they could start all over again. Certainly they had the talent to do so.

If youīre into 70īs classic hard rock with progressive overtones you should give this album a try. 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#184940)
Posted Tuesday, October 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This last album from Iron Butterfly is actually better than what could have been expected. Ron Bushy (the only surviving founding member) and Erik Braun (an IB veteran) are the only ones from the heydays of the band to be featured on this album; while Phil Kramer already played on their weak Scorching Beauty released a year prior to this Sun & Steal.

The title and opening song is particularly well crafted: excellent vocals, fine melody with some superb instrumentation. Sun & Steal is one of their true prog track in all their career. A highlight!

This album as a whole though is more of a hard-rocking affair; something typical for the date of release. Some strong and powerful tracks (Lightnin) combined with some syrupy rock ballads like hard-rocking bands were keen to write (Beyond The Milky Way, Watch The World Going By).

A certain New York Dolls flavour is also noticeable during the rock'n'roll Free or Get It Out. But there will still be a heavy rock one for the nostalgic old fans (Scion).

The influence of the new keyboard player (Bill De Martinez) is clearly marked on the very good I'm Right, I'm Wrong: after a symphonic opening, he will develop a fine atmospheric play to get along with this traditional rock number. It is the second highlight from this enjoyable album.

The closing number is another fine song from this offering. A very performing rock ballad which holds a great guitar furry in the middle part. It is bizarrely called Scorching Beauty (title of their previous album).

In all, this is an enjoyable rock album. Three stars.

Report this review (#189281)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink

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