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STEAMHAMMER

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Steamhammer biography
Blues-rock band STEAMHAMMER was formed at the end of 1968 by Martin Quittenton (guitar), Kieran White (vocals, harmonica, guitar), Martin Pugh (guitar), Steve Davy (bass) and Michael Rushton (drums). Their first album, "Reflections" (AKA "Junior's Wailing") was released in 1969. After this first album, Quittenton and Rushton both quit the band to be replaced by Mick Bradley (drums) and Steve Joliffe (sax, flute), who gave a jazzy influence to the band in their second album, "Mk. II" (1969). Shortly after this release, Joliffe left the band, wich continued as a 4 piece in their third album "Mountains" (1970), which was a returning to the blues-rock of the first album. After a major turnover, Pugh and Bradley invited Louis Cennamo (bass) and, along with special guest Garth Watt-Roy (vocals), recorded "Speech" in 1971. This last album was released posthumously, after Bradley's death in 1972. Kieran White released a solo album; both Pugh and Cennamo formed Armageddon with Keith Relf in 1975. Martin Quittenton went to play with Rod Stewwart.

For blues-rock fans, "Reflections" and "Mountains" should be STEAMHAMMER's best albums. Progressive rock fans will find "Mk. II" more interesting. This is a highly recommended band to everybody interested in the late 60's British blues-rock scene, along with SAVOY BROWN, BAKERLOO or JOHN MAYALL'S BLUESBREAKERS.

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Mk 2Mk 2
Import
Repertoire 2009
Audio CD$6.00
$4.00 (used)
SpeechSpeech
Import
REPERTOIRE 2009
Audio CD$5.38
$5.37 (used)
MountainsMountains
Import
Repertoire 1990
Audio CD$5.66
$4.66 (used)
ReflectionReflection
Import
Repertoire 2010
Audio CD$7.38
$10.30 (used)
Riding on the L & N: AnthologyRiding on the L & N: Anthology
Import
Repertoire 2012
Audio CD$9.14
$8.99 (used)
Junior's WailingJunior's Wailing
Import
Repertoire 1999
Audio CD$5.67
$4.19 (used)
ReflectionReflection
Import
Repertoire 2002
Audio CD$5.17
$4.17 (used)
SteamhammerSteamhammer
Import
Bellaphon Germany 1991
Audio CD$10.56
$9.57 (used)
Mountains by Airmail JapanMountains by Airmail Japan
Airmail Japan
Audio CD$102.93
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RAGING SPEEDHORN How The Great Have Fallen PR CD 2005 SPV Steamhammer metal USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1h 27m
Sodom - In War And Pieces 2010 2cd digipack Steamhammer USD $12.99 Buy It Now 2h 19m
Sodom - Sodom 2006 slipcase Steamhammer USD $10.99 Buy It Now 2h 23m
Destruction: Release From Agony CD 2004 Steamhammer 85-7506 NEW USD $12.95 Buy It Now 3h 8m
Destruction: Mad Butcher / Eternal Devastation CD 2004 Steamhammer SPV NEW USD $12.95 Buy It Now 3h 12m
Edenbridge - The Bonding 2CD 2013 limited digibook symphonic Steamhammer press USD $17.95 Buy It Now 5h 3m
Steamhammer - Mk Ii CD USD $19.09 Buy It Now 10h 3m
@ CD VICTORY - INSTINCT / PROMO SLIMLINE - STEAMHAMMER RECORDS 2003 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 11h 27m
ZEBRAHEAD : PHOENIX 16 TRACKS ORIGINAL CD ALBUM + DVD STEAMHAMMER 2008 USD $10.57 Buy It Now 12h 28m
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STEAMHAMMER COMPILATION - 2 X CD / razor hobbs assain steel fury amulance OBI USD $29.19 Buy It Now 14h 14m
Infernal Overkill/Sentence of Death by Destruction (CD, Jun-2004, Steamhammer) USD $9.97 Buy It Now 14h 43m
Armageddon Self-Titled NM ORIG hard rock Captain Beyond Steamhammer A USD $13.50 [4 bids]
16h 14m
Steamhammer (Vinyl Used Very Good) USD $28.98 Buy It Now 16h 27m
EVILDEAD ANNIHILATION OF CIVILIZATION 1989 STEAMHAMMER IRON ANGEL DEATHWISH OOP USD $24.99 Buy It Now 16h 34m
Spine of God [Bonus Track] [PA] by Monster Magnet (CD, Mar-2006, Steamhammer) USD $7.85 Buy It Now 17h 30m
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Napalm - Cruel Tranquility CD 1989 Steamhammer USD $79.00 Buy It Now 17h 40m
Renaissance - S/T cd 1969 SIGNED by Jim McCarty Yardbirds Keith Relf Steamhammer USD $49.90 Buy It Now 17h 59m
Temple of Shadows by Angra (CD, Jan-2005, Steamhammer) USD $7.35 Buy It Now 18h 17m
HELLOWEEN Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy 2CD 2005 steamhammer SPV USD $14.00 Buy It Now 18h 33m
Steamhammer-Aka Reflection - Steamhammer (CD Used Very Good) USD $11.59 Buy It Now 19h 12m
Reflection [Digipak] by Steamhammer (CD, Jun-2010, Repertoire) USD $10.66 Buy It Now 19h 16m
Reflection - Steamhammer (2000, CD New) USD $9.87 Buy It Now 19h 55m
Steamhammer-Aka Reflection - Steamhammer (2010, CD New) USD $11.03 Buy It Now 20h 3m
Biohazard - Means to an End [PA] (CD, Aug-2005, Spv/Steamhammer) IMPORT USD $4.39 Buy It Now 21h 53m
Reflection by Steamhammer (CD, Oct-2000, Repertoire) USD $6.35 Buy It Now 22h 16m
HEAVENS GATE - LIVIN' IN HYSTERIA - CASSETTE TAPE - STEAMHAMMER (1991) USD $8.55 Buy It Now 22h 31m
RISK "Dirty surfaces"Rare cd Steamhammer 90,Angel dust,Running Wild USD $34.99 Buy It Now 22h 53m
Frank Marino - Full Circle CD 1990 SPV Steamhammer Low-price Serie USD $49.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush - Real Live 2CD 2004 Steamhammer USD $22.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Steamhammer - Steamhammer-Aka Reflection [CD New] USD $13.59 Buy It Now 1 day
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LEATHERWOLF Leatherwolf LP 1985 Steamhammer ?- SH 0030, SPV GmbH ?- SPV 08-1854 USD $25.00 Buy It Now 1 day
BROCAS HELM "Into battle"ORG cd Steamhammer 86,Manilla Road,Cirith Ungol USD $64.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STEAMHAMMER, STEAMHAMMER / MOUNTAINS; 18 TRACK TWOFER CD USD $15.98 Buy It Now 1 day
MEKONG DELTA- The music of Erick Zann Steamhammer VG/near mint Thrash USD $20.00 [0 bids]
USD $35.00 Buy It Now
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Speech - Steamhammer (2009, CD New) USD $10.02 Buy It Now 1 day
steeler strike back 1986 steamhammer records cassette USD $11.95 Buy It Now 1 day
SAXON Lionheart CD 2004 Steamhammer Records SPV Import Germany heavy metal rock USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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MONSTER MAGNET 4-WAY DIABLO 2007 GERMAN STEAMHAMMER CD NEW STILL SEALED USD $14.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Live for Sale by Heaven's Gate (CD, Mar-1996, Steamhammer) USD $18.99 Buy It Now 1 day
KREATOR HORDES OF CHAOS FIRST PRESS STEAMHAMMER RECORDS 2009 USD $15.56 [0 bids]
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MOTORHEAD "Snake bite love" ORG LP on Steamhammer in 98 USD $349.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Pagan's Mind - Enigmatic: Calling (CD, Jun-2005) STEAMHAMMER GERMANY USD $33.43 Buy It Now 1 day
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ASSASSIN «INTERSTELLAR EXPERIENCE» CASSETTE STEAMHAMMER RECORDS SHC 7011 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
LEATHERWOLF "S/T" ORG cd Steamhammer mid-price 1985,Shok Paris,Wild Dogs USD $59.99 Buy It Now 1 day
RAILWAY Welcome Tonite CD 1993 VERY RARE OOP ORIGINAL 1st PRESSING STEAMHAMMER!! USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
House of Cards by Saga (CD, Jun-2004, Steamhammer) Music cd Brand NEW USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Heavens Gate - Live for Sale! (CD, 1993, Steamhammer, Germany) USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Steamhammer - Steamhammer-Aka Reflection CD USD $21.39 Buy It Now 2 days
STEAMHAMMER - RIDING ON THE L&N-THE ANTHOLOGY 2 CD 25 TRACKS ROCK & POP NEW+ USD $18.93 Buy It Now 2 days
Good To Be Bad Whitesnake 2 CD album (Double CD) UK SPV98130 SPV/STEAMHAMMER USD $39.53 Buy It Now 2 days
Riding On The L&N-The Anthology - Steamhammer (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.28 Buy It Now 2 days
Fair Warning - Sundancer [5/27] (CD, May-2013, Steamhammer) USD $14.07 Buy It Now 2 days
ANNIHILATOR - Live At Masters Of Rock - 2009 Steamhammer CD - THRASH Speed METAL USD $9.27 Buy It Now 2 days
Steamhammer Mountains - 2nd German vinyl LP album record 201.006 BRAIN 1974 USD $76.23 Buy It Now 2 days
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Axel Rudi Pell - Nasty Reputation (CD, 1991, Steamhammer, Germany) USD $11.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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Sodom: In The Sign Of Evil / Obsessed By Cruelty CD Steamhammer SPV 85-7533 NEW USD $12.95 Buy It Now 2 days
The Glorious Burden by Iced Earth (CD, Jan-2004, Steamhammer) USD $1.25 [2 bids]
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STEAMHAMMER MKII CBS 63694 Original UK 1st Press 1969 Ex- Plays Great! USD $53.73 [0 bids]
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Demons And Wizards by Demons & Wizards (CD, Jun-2004, Steamhammer) USD $6.00 [0 bids]
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Axel Rudi Pell - Black Moon Pyramid CD 2006 Steamhammer Jeff Scott Soto USD $18.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Axel Rudi Pell - Eternal Prisoner CD 1992 Steamhammer Jeff Scott Soto USD $25.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Axel Rudi Pell - Nasty Reputation CD 1991 Steamhammer Rob Rock USD $25.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Axel Rudi Pell - Wild Obsession CD 1989 Steamhammer USD $25.00 Buy It Now 2 days
The Inner Circle by Evergrey (CD, Apr-2004, Steamhammer) USD $2.99 Buy It Now 2 days
SUDDEN IMPACT "No rest from the wicked"ORG cd 88 Steamhammer Low-Price,D.R.I USD $49.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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Helloween Keeper Of The Seven Keys The Legacy 2 CD Set 2005 Steamhammer USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
MAINEEAXE "Going for gold"ORG cd Steamhammer low price 85 NWOBHM,Syar,Chinawhite USD $84.99 Buy It Now 3 days
NON FICTION preface CD ORG 1st Press 1992 STEAMHAMMER USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
BLITZ"Do the blitz"ORG cd Steamhammer 90,Hellion USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Hittman - Vivas Machina (CD, 1993, Steamhammer, Germany) RARE USD $24.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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STEAMHAMMER-Speech-72 CD MINI LP USD $28.00 Buy It Now 3 days
Triumph or Agony by Rhapsody of Fire (CD, Sep-2006, Steamhammer) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
The Dark Secret [EP] by Rhapsody (CD, Jun-2004, Steamhammer) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Axel Rudi Pell - Oceans Of Time CD STEAMHAMMER/SPV (GER) USD $19.49 Buy It Now 3 days
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STEAMHAMMER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEAMHAMMER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 18 ratings
Reflection
1969
3.84 | 30 ratings
MK II
1969
3.71 | 27 ratings
Mountains
1970
2.79 | 23 ratings
Speech
1972

STEAMHAMMER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

STEAMHAMMER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

STEAMHAMMER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 6 ratings
Junior's Wailing
1999

STEAMHAMMER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

STEAMHAMMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 MK II  by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.84 | 30 ratings

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MK II
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by Jeff Carney

3 stars I'm all for progress when it comes to musicians expanding their sound, but while this album is ultimately fairly successful, it plays a little too closely with serious misstep.

The debut album had such a warm, inviting sound. Beautifully produced and executed with real care, but also an admirable level of musical focus. Here, while the great production and excellent, disciplined playing continue, the band become somewhat lost in an endeavor to expand into areas of jazzy blues, a sort of darker bubblegum psych and progressive rock arrangements. And I just don't think the result is a cohesive musical statement.

While Steve Joliffe seems to have a lot of praise heaped on his contributions to this album by the prog crowd, I find his sound within the context of Steamhammer to be somewhat unconvincing. It almost comes off like they didn't want to be compared to Cream and the blues-rock giants of the day, so they quickly changed their identity. And perhaps too much. Add to that the harpsichords and some psych flavors which rear their heads on Side 1, and the album projects an unfocused feel. By the time of "6/8 For Amiran," they are in territory which I don't think juxtaposes well. Adding bluesy harmonica to a repeated, odd-time synchronized riff is innovative, but doesn't make a lot of sonic sense here. Krokodil might be one of the few groups who were able to texturally combine harmonica with progressive arrangements as they moved through their career, but here is doesn't come off as well thought out. Just attempted.

Side 2 really saves the record. The Steamhammer established on the first album is back at the wheel instead of riding shotgun. Steve Joliffe adds some flute which I think works well and is done with a subtle flare. His sax work seems out of place to an extent on Side 1 , but here it begins to merge more impressively. Still, it sort of appears and then disappears. It's not fully integrated into the twin guitar sound. The flute, however, begins to really convince as it weaves its way into the proceedings.

"Fran And Dee Take A Ride" is an absolutely gorgeous closer. Acoustic guitars gently pick through a wonderfully moving set of chords, as Leslie guitar drops delicate notes into the mix with beautiful results.

3.5 stars.

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 Speech by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.79 | 23 ratings

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Speech
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Steamhammer's fourth record "Speech" was a different thing for me to review. It was released in 1972 and has a cool and artistic cover, presumably taking place somewhere in space. And it was space I got some thoughts about when I heard this form of music. I located it somewhere between blues rock(for example Jimi Hendrix) and Pink Floyd. An interesting mixture I guess.

The music began with an interesting and different track called "Penumbra" which lasted the whole side. Beginning with crying cello(it sounds like that) and voices and then overtaken by excellent guitar play this record welcomes us for this nice song which also consists great vocals and keyboards. The remaining tracks is not as good as this first one. "Telegram" do not make a success because of the song's low volume. But there are very groovy guitar and bass that play solos with perfection and towards the end we can hear some form of medieval march. "For against" has short intro and outro and in the long middle there is a drums solo. The drummer Mickey Bradley did a very good job in this song. Even if it's just drums it's like they were telling us a story. It was too long thought and not as interesting that I will praise it.

Mostly the first song was interesting in my eyes and something to explore more from. This was different music in all ways. It was like a common rock band which had to do a progressive effort in their lives and that was a good idea of course. As not overwhelmed three stars would be a fair rating.

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 Speech by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.79 | 23 ratings

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Speech
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by ralphcat

5 stars How it is that this indescribably PHENOMENAL quintessential prog-rock album has only been reviewed by 4 other people is absolutely astonishing, especially considering that this site is taylor made for prog-aficianatos. What's even more bewildering is that 3 of these individuals who DID actually take the time to review this album gave it SCATHING REVIEWS!!!....REALLY??...Did you three actually LISTEN to the album?? Perhaps you guys were flat-out hallucinating?? Anyways, this 1972 album is absolutely brilliant and downright massive. There is nothing else like this recording. The opener, "Penumbra" is 22 plus minutes of pure sonic intensity and is infallible from beginning to end. The dynamically fierce guitar playing, the superb and intermittently strident and cacophonous (in a very, very good way) bass playing (implementing a bow), percussion that is just plain other worldly, and spacey effects make for one bohemoth of a composition. It most certainly merits a spot in my top three favourite pieces of music that I've ever experienced. "Telegram" is also a spectacular and totally unique piece of heavy progressive rock that demands maximum blasting. "For Against" is unadulterated drumming divineness and yet another piece of indisputable evidence that Mick Bradley was one of the all time greatest percussionists ever. It is beyond unfortunate that this supreme talent passed away at 24 years old, for god only knows what this amazing man would have continued to accomplish had he lived. "Speech" was consequently the last album Steamhammer created and to say that they finished on a high note is the understatement of the millenium. This masterpiece has no equal.

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 Mountains by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.71 | 27 ratings

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Mountains
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've always had a soft spot for Steamhammer. There's something inexplicably nice about their music. Their albums MK II, Mountains and Speech are all very, very enjoyable indeed, though I personally prefer Mountains above them all. I guess that's because it was the first album I bought of Steamhammer's. I wouldn't say it's prog but I would not say it's not either. I guess a fair judgement would be progressive blues-rock and that isn't bad, I'll tell you. At times I get the feeling of Jethro Tull bar the flute. The music on Mountains is folky, bluesy, progressive and quite brilliant. The musicianship is excellent and really, the album leaves little to miss. I heard or read somewhere that Steamhammer set out making the best album EVER with Mountains. Now, I can't say it's the best albums ever made but it's really worth the effort, money and time if you like proto-prog (which isn't too far off the mark, when I think about it) with rough edges and both feet stuck in bluesy hard rock. Good'un!

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 Mountains by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.71 | 27 ratings

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Mountains
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars STEAMHAMMER came out of the Blues (the first steps were made as a backing band for Freddie King) and attracted my attention due to the forerunner 'MKII' from 1969. Now this album, simply called 'Mountains', saw them underway on progressive rock paths at the latest. Generally noted as the definitive band effort it was recorded by Kieran White (guitars, vocals), Martin Pugh (guitars), Mickey Bradley (drums) and Steve Davy (bass, organ). They have been a very inspired quartet at that time, with live performances standing for wide excursions of improvisations. Sadly though the commercial success failed to appear and when Kieran White decided to quit in 1970, this actually signified the end of the band unfortunately, even though the others tried to continue for a couple of years.

I've purchased 'Mountains' sometime in the 1970s (vinyl of course), where you have to consider that original and re-issue are offering different tracklists. Not a problem at all, I would say, because this only affects the track order. Anyway, two live recordings are given here which left me flabbergastet immediately. The masterpiece couple Riding On The L&N and Hold That Train was recorded at the Lyceum Theatre, London, is showcasing their excellent jamming qualities in the vein of Cream or The Byrds, provided with just that typical twin guitar approach also known from bands like Wishbone Ash and Man for example.

So besides the excellent guitar interaction, a driving groove is remarkable, groundbreaking harmonica and bass solos inclusively. Definitely danceable, thus highly recommended for your alternative party. This stuff is worthwhile alone ... but furthermore you will find high quality studio songs all the way through, outfitted with wonderful melodies to sing along, offering a balanced appearance of acoustic and electric guitar. Something outstanding .... especially when considering the year of recording in 1970. It was a real pleasure to put this into the player again after some time (years).

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 Mountains by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.71 | 27 ratings

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Mountains
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by imnotfashioned

3 stars Nice but non revealing record, I would say that this is an example of typicall blues rock. "I wouldn't have,thought" typicall rhythm with great guitar solo, played with an open and clear sound which breaks the composition arrangement. Nice work by Kieran White and the best moment of the record for me. "Riding on the..."starts with hard march bass, gradually turns on percussion and some dripping guitar. Vocal is attached, after 4 minutes of bluesy melody we got small bass sollo which goes smoothly to White's solo. That and another number "Hold that train" were both live recorded. "Hold..." starts with some harmonica stuff - just like slow version of Black Sabbath "Wizzard" but finished like some of a Canned Head number. rest of material is not worth mention - nothing appeared no different. Blues rock impregnated of progressive connotations but clearly an irresistible.

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 MK II  by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.84 | 30 ratings

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MK II
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars More blues-rock than prog-rock, Steamhammer's second album would see this powerful outfit begin to accomodate more progressive elements into their rough 'n' ready sound, yet also affirm their wonderfully earthy style thanks to that rare mixture of grit and polish that is rarely found in late 20th century rock music. By now featuring their 'classic' line-up of Kieran White(vocals, guitar), Steve Davy(bass), Martin Pugh(guitar) and Mick Bradley(drums) and augmented by wandering multi-instrumentalist and future Tangerine Dream member Steve Joliffe, 'MK II' rivals follow-up effort 'Mountains' for the title of best Steamhammer album thanks to it's nicely-judged brew of ever-so-slight psychedelic ingredients, heavy riffing, old-style blues workouts and the occasional complex musical workout(evident on the superb sixteen-minute epic 'Another Travelling Tune'. Though their progressive rock credentials are rather thin, Steamhammer's muscular blues-drenched musical course makes lightweight groups such as Greenslade, Curved Air and The Strawbs seem positively feeble, especially when the group let their musical imaginations run away with them. The group's real strength lies in guitarist Martin Pugh's dextrous playing and Kieran White's gruff vocals, yet this is very much band music made by men who have obviously been playing on the road for sometime. Later albums such as 'Speech' - their ill-judged foray into prog-rock proper - would find the line- up fragmenting and the original magic slipping away, yet, for a few brief years Steamhammer were genuinely the real deal, straddling the gaping chasm between blues and prog with genuine aplomb. Highly recommended. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011

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 Speech by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.79 | 23 ratings

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Speech
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Steamhammer's fourth-and-final album proves to be both their most progressive but also their weakest. Virtually instrumental, 'Speech' eschews the group's earthy blues-prog style in favour of three lengthy, drawn-out, metallic tracks that features none of the funky gusto evident on their previous three albums. The lack of vocals is a genuine surprise, as Kieran White's gruff, yearning tones were an important part of the group's make-up, but it's the total lack of inspiration or catchy melodies that is really noticeable. 'Speech' was recorded and released after original drummer Mick Bradley had died, and for the rest of the group the spark had simply gone, which would explain the going-through-the-motions feel that drenches the album. Maybe they should have stuck to their original bluesy sound and not gone for the bold new prog-rock sound, maybe they should have called it a day after the excellent 'Mountains'. Whatever your view there is no doubting that 'Speech' is a poor end for a once-great band who deserved a better swansong than this. 'Speech' is, simply put, strictly for Steamhammer completionists only. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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 Mountains by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.71 | 27 ratings

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Mountains
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The group's third release, 'Mountains' is possibly Steamhammer's most complete album, featuring amongst it's eight tracks a nice mixture of their trademark brand of earthy blues-rock with tinges of psychedelia and some nicely-judged progressive elements. Steamhammer's career was, unfortunately, a fairly brief one, with their discography made up of just four studio albums, but they were a talented group of musicians whose style developed noticeably on each album, with the straight-ahead blues-rock of their 1968 debut 'Reflections' gradually making way for a more experimental approach evident on each of their following albums and culminating with the epic prog-blues of 1972's 'Speech'. For 'Mountains' the group was four- strong, made up of Martin Pugh(vocals, guitar), Louis Cennamo(bass), Kieran White(vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Mick Bradley(drums) and augmented by sessions players Keith Nelson(banjo) and Steve Davy(organ, bass), a line-up that would soon fragment(due, in part, to the tragic death of drummer Mick Bradley thanks to undiagnosed leukemia) after 'Mountains' release. However, despite their limited time together 'Mountains' features as it's second track an excellent live rendition of the old blues track 'Riding On The L & N', thus showcasing the band's tight interplay in the live arena. And it's a great start to a great album, with 'Riding On The L & N' coming after a cracking opener in the form of 'I Wouldn't Have Thought', a song that starts with a funky, rolling groove before completely hi-jacking the listener by unexpectedly morphing into a mesmerising, deeply-psychedelic and seemingly never-ending guitar solo from White which slowly builds up momentum before the original groove crashes back in. It's a wonderfully eclectic track and it is this mixture of boogie-blues and prog-orientated ideas that gives the album a fascinating slant, cleverly combining toe-tapping rhythms with a highly- orchestrated, multi-layered sound that incorporates elements of early metal and rock 'n' roll alongside the more obvious blues and prog motifs. The group also show they could write more sensitive songs as well, with the beautifully-crafted 'Levinia' showing Steamhammer's softer- side and the final track, 'Mountains', showing off Martin Pugh's wonderfully gruff vocals to full effect. Fans of The Groundhogs, Ten Years After, John Mayall Blues Band, Led Zeppelin and Cream should find much to admire both on 'Mountains' and the group's previous two albums, with the only disappointment being that Steamhammer's career was, simply put, far too short. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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 Junior's Wailing  by STEAMHAMMER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
3.20 | 6 ratings

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Junior's Wailing
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars They were only passing through

British band Steamhammer were a fairly short lived outfit who existed in the very late 1960's and early 1970's. They released four albums during that time, although the final album, "Speech" was posthumous. That album was somewhat different from its predecessors, and contained just three tracks, none of which appear here.

Never a true prog band as such, Steamhammer explored the boundaries of blues rock and jazz rock, creating a powerful, diverse and appealing sound. Despite their short lifespan, the band managed to change their line up with impressive regularity. The core of the band though remained solid during there recording career.

This readily available compilation gathers together tracks from the band's first three albums, plus some B-sides and singles edits. Each album is well represented, the selected tracks tending to be those which featured in the band's live set.

The album opens in identical fashion to the first album ("Reflections") with the brief instrumental "Water, part 1" followed by Junior's wailing". How many people realise that this song made famous by Status Quo was written and first recorded by Steamhammer? The song is a driving blues number with an infectious hook and fine blend of standard blues with modern rock. The set thereafter jumps around between the three source albums, the following two being take from the third album "Mountains". "Ridin' on the L&N" may be over 10 minutes long, but this hefty live offering has little to do with prog. Indeed the song is of the type we would find on an Allman Brothers or Lynyrd Skynyrd album. We have good lead guitar, a drifting bass workout and a standard blues rock beat throughout. Don't get me wrong though, it is highly enjoyable. The following "Hold that train", also live, is similar in style and theme.

"Passing through", the first of the songs from the second album, "Mk2", is highly familiar to these ears, being one of the best on the early 1970's CBS compilation "Fill your head with rock". It has lost none of its appeal in the intervening years, and still sounds a fresh and punchy today. "Autumn song", which was released as a single, is a folky number showing much in common with Traffic's output from around the same time. The song only appeared as a bonus track on the CD release of the the "Mk2" album.

"When all your friends are gone" from the first album continues the pacey blues rock of that album while "Lost to you", also from that album, slows things down to a more traditional blues pace. All but one of the following five tracks are from "Mk2", although some were originally singles A's or B's and only added to the album later as bonus tracks. Of these, the pulsating "Johnny Carl Morton" is the pick of the bunch, the track being rather bizarrely driven along by harpsichord. "Even the clock", which takes us back to the band's début, sounds like an out-take from a Doors album, complete with organ backing and drifting lead guitar.

The final two tracks formed an A and B side extracted from the "Mountains" album. As singles, they are pretty ambitious and understandably found little success as such. As album tracks though, they work well.

Personally, this collection fulfils all the need I have for Steamhammer's music perfectly. It gathers together a decent cross section of tracks from their three signature albums, and presents them as a coherent and enjoyable hour and a bit. In prog terms, there is little to be found here other than some of the sounds and styles which would influence the genre. As a blues rock collection though, it is worthy of a listen.

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