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Iron Butterfly - Metamorphosis CD (album) cover


Iron Butterfly



3.44 | 81 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
3 stars 1970 was like a dark amorphous cloud that roamed across the musical landscape seeking out rock bands singing about flowers & beads to absorb, consume and spit out the bones. Iron Butterfly saw the cloud approaching, and weren't going down without a fight. The cloud did eventually win, but the Butterfly's attempt to undergo metamorphosis was nothing to be ashamed of and in retrospect they released a pretty solid piece of work that deserved more notice, considering the band was one of the biggest selling acts in the game just two years prior.

With this effort, Iron Butterfly ditched the fuzzy guitar tones and embraced a funkier and bluesier approach to rock music, basically following the tide so to speak. There's a bit of Grand Funk, a sprinkle of Three Dog Night, some lingering tripped-out acid rock and Doug's mighty baritone telling us that shady ladies are cool. His voice has improved technically and suits the music well. The man is absolutely drenched in soul, sounding like a more earnest and less obnoxious Michael McDonald with no fear of rockin' out.

Musically the band is pretty tight, and the production values for its time sound crisp and surprisingly stellar. These dudes may not have been the big cheese anymore, but they still had a sweet budget to lay down these tracks. There's no real "hooky" tune to latch onto as a potential big single release, but what's bad for the casual rock fan can be good for the prog fan as there's some interesting things going about this disc musically. A song like "Shady Ladies" shouldn't be as complex as it is, but...there you go. In fact, I really dig this tune with its cute keyboard ditties & surprising shifts from happy grooviness to haunting space rock and back again. The opening main track "New Day" (after a silly intro) sounds like a sort of Steppenwolf number, which isn't a bad thing, but keep listening, and eventually you'll get to some 'out there' music, especially the final juggernaut "Butterfly Bleu". As a long track, it doesn't meander too far away from the rest of the album's overall arch, but man at one point things do get pretty weird with the goofy vocal chants, mumblings and interactions with a guitar voice box whining "help me!" It's silly and dated, but fun as a one-off listen.

Metamorphosis requires a few listens to get into (at least for me it did), but if you're not looking for something too proggy but with talent and some great manly vocals, this bugger may do the trick.

Prog Sothoth | 3/5 |


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