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Bodkin - Bodkin CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.13 | 57 ratings

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4 stars Arriving in a roar of hellfire, brimstone and occult unease, the sole 1972 release for Scottish band Bodkin is a wicked and infectious Hammond organ-drenched heavy rocker. Their self titled release was in the manner of bands such as Atomic Rooster, Nosferatu, Bram Stoker and Deep Purple, and anyone familiar with those groups will know what to expect here. Hard rocking riffs, psychedelic flavours and bluesy guitar wailing with confident vocals and strong melodies means Bodkin and their album can sit perfectly alongside those acts on the shelf for fans of that sort of early prog-related music.

The first side opens with the intimidating and plodding (but in a good way!) two parter `Three Days After Death'. Tin-can drums patter away as the listener is instantly blasted with Doug Rome's Hammond fury, with grubby snarling heavy guitar riffs and cymbal fury crashing all over that scratchiest rough-as-guts organ. Energetic whirring blasts of fury, stomping mud-thick bluesy stomping, noisy dirty grooves and even some more sedate and reflective moments all fall together, yet despite the relentless muscle and noise throughout, the piece always remains melodic and catchy - that's the strength of this album overall. The second part is particular has a very melancholic and moving vocal from Zeike Hume, the downbeat melody sorrowful and despondent.

The ten minute `Aunt Mary's Trashcan' on the flipside is up-tempo, relentless and full of life. Although it's bookended with a slightly hostile lead vocal melody, it's really an extended improvisation utterly dominated by Rome's Hammond organ orgasm over every sweaty inch of it. It reverberates with thrumming rippling distortion, taking on a malevolent glee, powered along by Dick Sneddon's frantic chasing battery of drumming, Bill Anderson's fluid bass rumbles and Mick Riddle's gorgeous sleazy strutting bluesy guitar. Foot-tapping and effortlessly cool, fans of the extended jams on the early Birth Control albums will dig this one. `Aftur Yur Lumber' is a shorter punchy Yes-like vocal rocker at heart, a little more restrained for the actual tune with a call out repeated melody, chiming guitar and symphonic touches, but with a wild F-off swooping Hammond break as well. Symphonic majesty keeps on throughout moments of `Plastic Man', a creeping bass line and swampy guitar stalking behind the lead voice, the whole band letting rip with a gutsy jam in the middle.

Special mention must go to the incredible, if borderline blasphemous album cover that adorns the original LP or it's couple of vinyl reissues. A massive cross that folds out several times to form a crucifix with a goats head at it's centre burning with infernal flames certainly makes a huge impression and grabs plenty of attention! If that worries you, there is a CD reissue with a safer (yet dull!) alternate cover. As for the album itself, some may have trouble with the slightly rough production quality, but it's perfect for this sort of music and anything cleaner and more polished wouldn't have been appropriate at all. This album has long been a personal favourite of mine and a treasured, essential part of my collection, and if music driven by Hammond organ is your thing, then `Bodkin' will likely cast it's devilish spell on you.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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