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May Blitz

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars If you get the BGO 2 on 1 Cd cat# BGOCD153 , you will get it with their first album , and this is a great deal , not only financially but also artistically as the sophomore effort is the proud successor to their debut.

The same type of hard rock than the debut but I found two glaring weaknesses: the Chrismas charoll-like third track and the lenghty (did I hear someone whisper Boring?) drum solo track. Honey Coloured Time and Just Thinking being the clearly the best tracks on this record with High Beech a close third.

However , I find listening to the two albums in one sitting a bit tiresome, and if I did do it , does it ever feel nice, once the disc is being ejected.

Report this review (#43252)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
mystic fred
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I guess it would have been appropriate to have posted this review four weeks ago! The 1971 follow-up to "May Blitz", "The 2nd of May" featured similarly grotesque artwork on the cover and contained eight excellent tracks, but sold poorly, probably due to lack of air play.

The album kicks off with "For Mad Men Only", with a heavy fuzzy power chord guitar and driving beat, it contains some great riffs and solos, certainly a sign of things to come as they are similar to bands such as Black Sabbath. This track also reminds me of the typical heavy sound from UK underground Psyche/Space rock band "Stray". The style of vocals in "Snakes and Ladders" sounds reminiscent of Hendrix, has a strong bass line, fuzz power chords which sound very Black Sabbath indeed. There are echoed backing vocals and "space" effects swirling around, now we're in Hawkwind territory! "The 25th of December" as you'd guess is a Christmas song which swings along beautifully, occasionally leading into whispered vocals and a jazzy style rhythm and bluesy guitar. "In Part" is a jazzy style number which has a flute playing in the background, funny thing the vocals are half sung half spoken, almost rap-like, which leads into a fine drum solo. I don't care what anyone says, i love 'em!! The next track on the cd is called "8 Mad Grim Nits", not sure who they refer to but it is a crazy fast jazzy jam featuring very fast drum and bass playing and some wild fuzzy, phased over- amped lead guitar, really sounds like they had a lot of fun doing this one! Here's another group i would have loved to have seen live. "High Beech" is a beautiful folky song overlaid with watery acoustic guitars and nice lyrics, "shadows spring to life", "today is the beginning of the rest of our lives". "Honey Coloured Time" is another beautiful song about our hypocritical world with hushed vocals, which includes some fine jazz style guitar and bass and a Hendrix style ending, talk about mixing styles. "Just Thinking" is a ponderous, dreamy love song, very laid back, and features some interesting echoed "squeaky" guitar effects.

I enjoy listening to this album very much and it's a shame May Blitz didn't do more after they were dropped from Vertigo. James Black and Reid Hudson returned to Canada and Tony Newman went on to work with such artists as Three Man Army, Marc Bolan, David Bowie & Mick Ronson, Chris Spedding and David Coverdale's Whitesnake. IMO an essential addition to any Prog/Space/Psyche collection.

Report this review (#79988)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars See my review on their debut, stay away. Competent musicianship does not make for quality. Rarity & the herd instinct (he'll pay $XXX, then I'll Pay $xxxx, cause there's only 3 available). There's nothing here that's more than mediocre, & ingesting mind enhancing matters should not be necessary to determine a music's worth.
Report this review (#107150)
Posted Thursday, January 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Although the big-boned mama is still hanging out on the album cover on this second release by MAY BLITZ she learns the art of keeping company with bird-headed folk as to take the emphasis off of her voluptuousness. Just like the visual art theme, also do we get a continuation of what's inside, namely more heavy proggy bluesy psych although a bit heavier at times with a little more expansion into other sounds.

The opener "For Mad Men Only" continues where the debut left off complete with that signature bass sound. On the 2nd track "Snakes And Arrows" we get some really cool fuzz guitar and some interesting electronic effects. On the 3rd track "The 25th of December 1969" we get some folk rock alternating with groovy bass dominated sections. "In Part" has a surprise accompaniment by a flute but eventually turns into an even more surprising and out of place drum solo. I do like drum solos but was this one necessary? The rest of the album continues the heavy psych with songs becoming slightly weaker (but always pleasant) by the time we get to the end.

This second album doesn't disappoint as it ramps up their sound a tad. Most reminiscent of Captain Beyond before they existed but there are obvious influences from both Hendrix and Sabbath but never too much so. The band was clearly open to experimentation and I have to say that it pays off for the most part with only scant few head scratching moments. Sadly their only two albums came and went without much success so the band called it quits but became a cult classic.

Report this review (#1105517)
Posted Thursday, January 2, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars May Blitz - The 2nd of May (1971)

This English powertrio is one of tightest rhythm and blues units of history, playing a mixture of heavy psych with progressive influences. May Blitz is one of the few band that manage to really get that hard rock style that is distinctively exciting, you know that good old Jimi Hendrix bad-ass sound. The drums of Tony Newman are exciting on every moment, one of the best of the era. The guitars of James Black sound cool and well played, but the production of the debut did more justice to his skills. Their heavy psych debut-album is perhaps more well known, but on this second album May Blitz is actually slightly more progressive - for it sees the band experimenting with folk, funk, metal and jazz textures. What I can't understand is the departure of that great reverb- rock sound to more dry recording sound that sounds a bit bleak in comparison with the debut. Also the vocals tended to sound better on their first record.

For Mad Men Only is a heavy metal opener with nice fierce vocals and screaming guitars. Snakes an Ladders adds some funk textures and sees de band finding back its psych rock feel in the middle section. The 25Th Of December 1969 is a folky ballad that is plagued by vocals that fall short, the album would have been better without this track. In Part is another heavy psych track with some great themes - to bad it ends with a drum solo. 8 Mad Grim Nits has a great drum and bass sound and a dirty guitar solo reminding us a bit of mister Robert Fripp. High Beech a fairly modern sounding folkrock track, with an acoustic guitar solo that reminds me a bit of Nirvana Unplugged. Honey Colored Time is Hendrix-like cool heavy rock track with a surprising jazzy interlude. Just Thinking is one of the few track I've ever heard that really reminded me of the sound of the German krautrock act Can, a nice atmospheric track.

Conclusions. May Blitz may be one of my favorite bands when it comes to the rhythmical playing and the awesome heavy psych feel. This album shows just how much potential the band had, though the production doesn't always do the band justice. There isn't much early heavy psych so if you like Captain Beyond, T2, Budgie and The Groundhogs you should defenitly get into May Blitz. Three and a halve stars.

Report this review (#1309408)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars When deciding on which May Blitz album to get, I listened to samples from both the debut and this one on YouTube. The song "Snakes and Ladders" really stuck with me and so I decided to go with "The 2nd of May" (nice title), though since then I have found that the debut is rather expensive as an import and that both albums have been released on a single disc. No matter. I have gone back to listen to samples from the first album and I am so far convinced that this was the better choice, even though the ratings say the debut is better.

May Blitz really kick off, as in kick ass, with the opening track "For Mad Men Only", a charging drum beat and ultra-pulsing bass overlaid with a thunder of distortion-heavy guitar and a second guitar delivering the melody with all the subtly of a steam drill boring through rock. The guitar solo unfortunately seems to search without tapping into any really good vein and there's a spot or two that could have used a retake. Nevertheless, this song has the elements of a demolition team bearing straight ahead through a concrete building.

There's a quick change of pace with the low-slung groove of "Snakes and Ladders", featuring a cool baseline and some hip percussion before the song gets overtaken by heavy minor chords that provide an awesome template for early doom metal. As the guitar distortion effects lay out the audio track for Hell awakening, the vocals replicate a demonic choir chanting the sinister theme to Armageddon (the event and not the movie).

"The 25th of December, 1969" is a partially lighthearted take on an enjoyable Christmas Eve spent together among friends without much of the trimmings and a political message about Nigeria's invasion of the Biafran capital on December 23, 1969 and the ensuing fighting and killing that continued through to January 7th. Perhaps well-intentioned, the song stands out as the weakest track on the album. A disappointment after such a strong start.

Never fear because May Blitz deliver another funky n' heavy number with "In Part" which features some groovin' flute as well. The last part of the song is dedicated to yet another obligatory early seventies drum solo, the second disappointment as the song was actually really going somewhere.

"8 Mad Grim Nits" is a frenzied instrumental track with more of that full-on bass thing and a showcase of guitar soloing and distortion effects. At times the guitar gets really dark and heavy. Plenty of tasty tidbits to be found here, though still quite freeform.

The sonic assault and battery of most of the album thus far has been a treat; however, "High Beech" slows us down in the right way with an acoustic number that is both haunting and beautiful while steering into that cool funky groove that the band are very good at conjuring. One of my three favourite tracks on the album.

"Honey-coloured Time" seems to attempt to make better that serious part in track three. It's developed much better, imbued with images of cool swirling purple and blue flows of colour (or are they amber?). There's a smooth jazzy bit and more psychedelic groove. So much groove on this album. Then surprisingly, the song concludes like a heavy blues rock number. Not sure of the logic behind that.

Now we are almost into Pink Floyd country with a simple acoustic number tripping with wavering guitar notes. "Just Thinking" sounds partially inspired by "Ummagumma" but still tries to hold together in the form of a song without becoming overly experimental.

"The 2nd of May" is a true product of its time, at once heavy and rampaging while maintaining a certain grooviness about it and also more laid back in late psychedelic atmosphere of the early seventies. Sometimes mellow and tripping, sometimes bombastic and aggressive. There are some who will want to check this one out. It's not particularly proggish, at least not in the symphonic or eclectic sense, but still has some rewarding moments.

Report this review (#1418658)
Posted Friday, May 22, 2015 | Review Permalink

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