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IRON BUTTERFLY

Proto-Prog • United States


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Iron Butterfly picture
Iron Butterfly biography
Founded in San Diego, USA in 1966 - Disbanded in 1971 - Reformed in 1974, 1987 and 2015 - Still active as of 2018

Doug Ingle (Vocals, Organ) formed the first incarnation of 'Iron Butterfly' in 1966 in San Diego with drummer Ron Bushy. After the group moved to Los Angeles and played the club scene, it secured a recording contract and got national exposure through tours with 'the Doors' and 'Jefferson Airplane'.

Following the release of their 1968 debut album, "Heavy", original members Jerry Penrod (bass), Darryl DeLoach (vocals), and Danny Weis (guitar) left the band and were replaced by guitarist Erik Brann and bassist Lee Dorman. Weis went on to join 'Rhinoceros'. Later that year, the new line-up recorded "In A Gadda Da Vida", a masterpiece of heavy, psychedelic acid rock, which sold four million copies, spent over a year in the Top Ten, and was the first album to receive platinum certification after the RIAA instituted the award. (The title has been translated as "in the garden of Eden" or "in the garden of life.") A shortened version of the title track, which contained extended instrumental passages with classical/Eastern-influenced organ, plus a two-and-a-half-minute drum solo, reached number 30 on the singles charts. The follow-up, "Ball", showed greater musical variety and went gold, followed by two more album releases in 1970 - "Live", and "Metamorphosis".

Erik Braunn left the group and was replaced by guitarists Mike Pinera and Larry 'Rhino' Reinhardt, but the group's success was largely over. Iron Butterfly broke up in 1971; Braunn and Bushy re-formed the group in the mid-'70s.

Thanx to Progman for research!

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com : Alongside the likes of DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN and VANILA FUDGE, Iron Butterfly pioneered Hard/Heavy Rock and combined ProtoProg and Psychedelia.

IRON BUTTERFLY Videos (YouTube and more)


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IRON BUTTERFLY discography


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

3.27 | 102 ratings
Heavy
1968
3.45 | 276 ratings
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
1968
3.13 | 66 ratings
Ball
1969
3.47 | 92 ratings
Metamorphosis
1970
2.56 | 42 ratings
Scorching Beauty
1975
3.19 | 39 ratings
Sun And Steel
1976

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

3.13 | 29 ratings
Live
1970
4.44 | 9 ratings
Fillmore East 1968
2011
4.67 | 3 ratings
Live At The Galaxy 1967
2014

IRON BUTTERFLY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 4 ratings
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
1995
4.33 | 3 ratings
Rock 'N' Roll Greats - Iron Butterfly: In Concert!
2004
5.00 | 3 ratings
Concert and Documentary - Europe 1997
2008

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

3.25 | 4 ratings
Evolution: The Best of Iron Butterfly
1970
3.17 | 4 ratings
Rare Flight
1984
3.60 | 9 ratings
Light And Heavy: The Best Of Iron Butterfly
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
Original Album Series
2016
4.00 | 3 ratings
Unconscious Power - An Anthology 1967-1971
2020

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
Don't Look Down On Me / Possession
1967
4.50 | 2 ratings
Possession / Evil Temptation
1967
4.25 | 4 ratings
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
1968
4.00 | 1 ratings
Unconscious Power
1968
2.09 | 3 ratings
Silly Sally
1971

IRON BUTTERFLY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.45 | 276 ratings

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In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

3 stars IRON BUTTERFLY is synomous with being one of the most famous one-hit wonders in the entire history of rock music. IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA, the band's second album and surprise hit single is perhaps a testament to how an endless series of mishaps, happenstance and unplanned moments conspired into capturing the zeitgeist of an entire generation and somehow against all odds ended up becoming one of the biggest selling albums in all of music history. The San Diego based IRON BUTTERFLY was just another acid rock band that permeated the late 1960s led by organ player and vocalist Doug Ingle who was the primary songwriter and lyricist. The band was fairly typical of the era and delivered a rather average garage band style of psychedelic rock. Like many bands IRON BUTTERFLY was also plagued by lineup changes and after the release of the band's 1968 debut "Heavy," things got even more turbulent. The band was part of the L.A. psychedelic scene along with bands like The Seeds and The Strawberry Alarm Clock but never really stood out in any particular way.

It actually seemed like a sophomore album might never materialize due to the fact guitarist Danny Weis quit the band just before the recording sessions were due to take place. In a state of desperation the band replaced him with Eric Braun who had started to learn how to play the guitar three months prior. The title track was also a pure fluke in its creation. It's peculiarity was the result of nothing more than Doug Ingle going on a drunken binge one evening and uttering unintelligible lyrics to drummer Ron Bushy who misinterpreted what was supposed to be "In The Garden Of Eden" that he could only make out as IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA. If that wasn't strange enough, after writing five songs that would become the A-side of the original vinyl LP release, what would become a huge hit was nothing more than a soundcheck never intended to be recorded but by sheer chance was accidentally caught on tape while the band was waiting for their producer Jim Hilton to arrive at the studio.

While the usual method was for IRON BUTTERFLY to write structured psychedelic pop rock songs, the band just decided to improvise for over 17 minutes with the results being the entire B-side of the original album. The band's ATCO Records for some reason thought that all the mishaps would make a great B-side and took the chance releasing the unedited 17-minute track as a raw performance that included all the unintended mishaps but somehow thought it might resonate with the psychedelic haze that permeated the summer of 1968. The gamble obviously paid off and the album became a massively huge hit outselling every other album for the next year and by 1969 had surprised a million copies in sales. The title track was released as a single but butchered down to a mere 2 minutes and 52 seconds. Since the appeal of the track was the long jamming session that featured trippy organs, impromptu drum solos and a repetitive psychedelic guitar riff with mumbled lyrics, the album was instantly endearing to the post-flower power crowds that wanted a bit more acid fuzz in their rock music.

Likewise the rather pop oriented five tracks on the A-side also appealed to the hippie crowd with short tributes to "Flowers And Beads" and the flower power themed "Are You Happy" which provided the perfect gateway to the unconventional title track that followed. Due to the fact the appeal in the album was the 17-minute title track which was never released as a single in its entirety, the only way to obtain it was to buy the album thus the album for a brief moment became the biggest thing in the USA outperforming bands like The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and the biggest names in the world of psychedelic rock. The fact that the album has gone down in history as both a critical step towards the later world of heavy metal and progressive rock has only cemented its status as one of those essential albums that one must hear and own despite the fact the album really doesn't exhibit any particular traits of a classic band that stands the test of time. The album basically was a complete surprise hit that absolutely nobody could've planned if they tried and proof that sometimes fate determines things more than any amount of calculated planning. To date IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA has sold more than 30 million albums! Amazing!

Perhaps if i was there in the summer of 1968 and in the midst of the hoopla i would be as enamored with the whole IRON BUTTERFLY thing but honestly i can't say find this album as anything more than an average standard psychedelic pop rock album of the era. It's true that the phenomena of the title track does indeed make this a legendary release and for that reason i do own a personal copy because after all the title track is a part of the overall culture for better or for worse. From a critical point of view the first side of the album is decent with catchy psychedelic hippie songs that are quite listenable if rather unremarkable but there's no denying that the legendary title track was and remains unlike anything that came before or came after and serves as a significant musical milestone as far as experimenting with rock music is concerned. The sloppiness and rather amateurish performance really only highlights the slacker drop out and do your own thing ethos of the era. After all 1968 was a very turbulent year politically across the world so a nonsensical anthem that was nebulous and could be interpreted differently by individuals and still resonated collectively was obviously exactly what the doctor ordered. A true anomaly of history yet will be in the collective consciousness for eons to come. This has to be one of the most unlikely hit albums of all time!

 Heavy by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.27 | 102 ratings

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Heavy
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

3 stars These days the 1960s band IRON BUTTERFLY has virtually become a synonym for the band's biggest selling album and single "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." I mean who could even think of anything else the band has released, with the exception of heavy psych addicts of course. While true that the band's 1968 album which has to date over 30 million albums worldwide completely eclipses any other thing the band had released, the band is not only still officially together (albeit in name only) but released a total of six albums from 1968 to 1975.

HEAVY was the band's debut and although the IRON BUTTERFLY is credited for influencing both progressive rock and the heavy metal scenes that would develop, in 1968 when this album was released, we're not talking HEAVY in today's vernacular referring to loud, raucous and quickened but rather 60s style as in "man, that's heavy!" Yeah here HEAVY refers to cosmically deep which was what the psychedelic 60s were all about of course with some bands a bit more adroit at tapping into their inner cosmic nature than others.

IRON BUTTERFLY was the product of the West Coast psychedelic scene which took over the USA during the latter half of the 1960s however this band emerged from the unexpected conservative city of San Diego. The band's lineup changed substantially even before this debut was released with this first album of 1968 which appeared in January featuring Doug Ingle (organ, vocals), Ron Bushy (drums), Darryl DeLoach (tambourine, vocals), Jerry Penrod (bass, vocals) and Danny Weis (guitar). Although "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" would quickly follow in June of the same year, the lineup had already been reduced to a quartet with only Bushy and Ingle remaining.

Graced with the coolest and most groovy album cover of the band's career which depicted a statue of a giant ear, the music itself is nothing really to get overly excited about. While referred to as hard rock retrospectively, this was not even close to the noise level of contemporary bands like Blue Cheer or even some tracks from The Kinks. What HEAVY offers is a 30-minute ride into the world of 60s psychedelic acid rock based on blues rock, beat music and rhythm and blues. The tracks at this point were quite short with most only a couple minutes long.

This is a pleasant slice of late 1960s acid rock with a strong emphasis on dramatic organs and eccentric vocals however the music is basically blues rock that seems like it just got its feet wet in the world of psychedelia. Despite the plaudits the band has received as a proto-prog or proto-metal band, none of those have manifested on this debut album HEAVY which unfortunately doesn't convey its modern titular connotations. While the music doesn't exactly blow me away i have to say that i like the moody vocals quite a bit and how can you not possibly love that bitchin cool cover art? THAT's worth the price of admission alone!

 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.45 | 276 ratings

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In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

4 stars When my older brother brought this album home in 1968, I was a nerdy 11-year-old just starting to get interested in rock and roll. I really liked the shorter songs on the first side of the album even though they were a bit heavier than I was used to, and had a vocalist sounding like Tom Jones(!) was singing very seriously.

The title track was catchy, and I knew it from radio play. But the extended version was too spacy, jammy and long for my as-yet untrained ears. Listening to it today reminds me how good this whole album was, especially from a psych/proto-prog standpoint. The lyrics can sometimes be a bit sappy at times, but that sort of endears the album to me.

Anywho, just thought I'd give this some props, 55+ years after first hearing it! Let's go 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.45 | 276 ratings

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In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions

4 stars I can remember quite well. When I was young, yeah a teen, looooong time ago, the band's trademark In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida touched me in a very special way. What a relief! I once accidentally caught the more energetic live version with a cassette recorder from a radio broadcast. And then it accompanied me for just a long time. What I'm writing about now exactly is the 1995 remastered version of this album. First of all, fantastic sound quality, no question! What makes this truly essential though is the decision to append the band's inspired stage rendition, taken from their first live effort, originally published two years later.

By the way, keyboarder Doug Ingle actually wanted to name the song 'In The Garden Of Eden'. But, while announcing this to his band mates, he failed in a remarkable manner regarding a clear pronunciation, for what reason ever :-) ... anyway, they took him by his word in the end. The atmosphere is priceless, hippie-esque, also the band's interaction with the audiance, guitarist Erik Brann driving crazy in between, and the must-have drum solo provided by Ron Bushy. Eh, Ingle's sacral and melancholic organ often enough managed to bring tears to my eyes. They are excellently jamming around the main theme, including extensive solo activity, similar to Rare Earth's 'Get Ready' if you will.

The other songs, for me, are having a rough ride, are not more than a proper accessory. Okay, don't want to be unfair, we have to consider the recording times, which were dominated by a transition from pop, blues and jazz towards a new dimension. Thus here we have typical proto prog stuff featuring some Beatles, Vanilla Fudge and Jefferson Airplane references. Due to the new enhanced and remastered outfit this album runs essential anyway. And the band even recorded more than a one-hit-wonder. I would also count the beautiful 'Butterfly Blue' in, featuring new guitarist Mike Pinera and his talk box wizardry. But that's another cup of tea.

 Scorching Beauty by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.56 | 42 ratings

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Scorching Beauty
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Thenewrider

4 stars In 1975 Iron Butterfly reformed with Erik Braunn and Ron Bushy and released this album. Contrary to the belief of many this album is really good. 1975 Overture provides a great start to this album and Pearly Gates is a highlight of the album. The song People Of The World is the worst of the songs here as it sounds like any other song from the mid 1970's. The other highlights of the album are High On A Mountain Top and Am I Down.

Lots of Iron Butterfly fans dismiss this album and the next album Sun And Steel as mediocre albums. I disagree with that statement. Scorching Beauty is still the lesser of the two mid 70's reunion albums as Sun And Steel is an unsung classic. Despite that this album is still very good. Although it's nothing like In A Gadda Da Vida this album deserves more recognition.

 Scorching Beauty by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.56 | 42 ratings

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Scorching Beauty
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Four years after their first break up, Iron Butterfly comes back in January 1975 with Scorching Beauty. The album had a stunning cover art and photography, but it was a big, big disappointment. Although they still had half of the classic line up (guitarist Erik Brann and original drummer Ron Bushy) on board, the music had almost nothing reminding of their former self: without Doug Yule´s distinctive vocals and organ it just does not sound like Iron Butterfly at all. Worse: the new compositions were also very different and closer to the early 70´s hard rock cliches.

That would not be a big problem if they only were a little more inspired and convincing. Ok, the tracks are not all bad. The opener 1975 overture and Hard Miseree are quite pleasant and have their merits. However, they are easily counterbalanced by the mediocrity of the remaining cuts (Am I Down and People of The World are especially hard to listen to). Erik Brann proves himself a decent singer and his guitar skills are obvious, and the band is very tight, but the weak compositions really blew the whole experience. So much so that even the good production and nice performances could not save the project.

From now on Iron Butterfly was a completely band altogether. And they would only prove themselves worth with their next release Sun and Steel. This one is only for collectors and completionists.

 Metamorphosis by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 92 ratings

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Metamorphosis
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars Every time I've seen Iron Butterfly's history, their profile has a whole, and the music they've created, I've always thought of them as steadfast. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, for all intents and purposes, should not have been as successful as it was. An 18-minute long acid trip jam? Many others at the time tried to achieve the same thing and failed, but these Californians somehow managed to turn such a product of the times into a product that stands the test of time (and made a boat-load at that). Something as miraculous as this is hard for anyone to followup, let alone a half-stoned [&*!#] rock band like Iron Butterfly was. They managed it though, the following album Ball (1969) charting even higher than it's predecessor in the U.S.

Iron Butterfly managed to make magic happen twice. I guess the obvious question that should and was asked was: "can they do it again?" Yes and no.

There's a difference this time around. Metamorphosis, released the following year after Ball, charted at 16 in the U.S. Now, in any other circumstance this would be laudable, because obviously it's not easy to whip up a record that charts in the first place. But for Iron Butterfly, this was practically dismal. Granted, 'Easy Rider' did chart 66 on Billboard, being I.B.'s biggest hit since 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida', although I personally owe this more to the success of the latter and name recognition as opposed to song quality (who knows, the 70's were easily pleased). So, financially-wise, Iron Butterfly were sort of able to hit the gold once more. However, musically-wise, Metamorphosis is different from all of it's predecessors, even including Heavy. A sense of fragility (that granted plagued many bands during transitional periods) comes into play here, because the band slowly started going downhill after their monster-hit, and Metamorphosis was the last album regarded at least decently by critics. On this particular album, the original line- up is broken, with guitarist Erik Brann parting ways due to band conflicts. Replacing him, flatteringly enough, was four different session guitarists. Mike Pinera of Blues Image and Alice Cooper (as well as Ramadam, a supergroup formed with Mitch Mitchell of Jimi Hendrix Experience), Larry Reinhardt (future Captain Beyond along with Dorman), Bill Cooper, and even producer Richard Podolor on the twelve-string.

Metamorphosis is really the culmination of Iron Butterfly's slowly building up musical consistency since In-A-Gadda- Da-Vida. This applies for musicianship (because honestly they weren't the greatest players), production, and songwriting. The production is much higher, and allows for a more dynamic sound in both the experimental and traditional departments. Speaking of experimental, critics tend to refer to Iron Butterfly post-Vida as being more and more musically adventurous, and I would tend to agree. Metamorphosis puts a much greater emphasis on the progressive/space rock side of the band, something I've always found remarkably endearing when it comes to them in particular. Mostly this is on the smash epic 'Butterfly Bleu', a masterpiece of proto-metal and prog music that rivals even I-A-G-D-V (except is much more structured and, dare I say, intelligent?). Still retaining a spaced-out, pseudo complex attitude, 'Butterfly Bleu' manages to be heavy, emotional, and eclectic all in on package. It also funnily enough features one of the earliest uses of a talk-box (yeah, that thing Bon Jovi used on 'Livin' On a Prayer' to make his guitar go "rwoworwowrwow") during a gritty section on the latter half of the epic. Of the traditional we have 'New Day', a Steppenwolf-esque song headed off by a disarmingly good catchy riff. 'Shady Lady' is, at times, your standard brand of funky blues-rock, but it delves into extremely dark tonal shifts at certain areas. The rest of the album is rather expected of Iron Butterfly, being basically cheesy rock n' roll tunes molded by quasi-hippie zeitgeist ('Soldier In Our Town'), but I suppose the big single 'Easy Rider' has it's moments as well.

The band itself does very well for itself on this particular album. As aforementioned, four different multi-talented guitarist make themselves well-known on Metamorphosis. Mike Pinera's (presumably) part on 'Butterfly Bleu' with the talk-box always makes me smile ever time I hear it. It really makes the song have a bigger personality (of course his vocals on the rest of the song is good as well, putting on a zealous, emotional performance). The Iron Butterfly themselves are nothing to scoff about of course, But it's clear that the talents of Ingle, Dorman, and Bushy are not without merit. The band's made their abilities clear ever since 'Vida' in '68, and here they meld almost perfectly with their session musicians.

Some may get turned off by Iron Butterfly's material, but for me Metamorphosis is nothing short of a wonderful surprise. People wanted the Butterfly, and they got the Butterfly.

 Heavy by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.27 | 102 ratings

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Heavy
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Through many years I was very curious about this debut album by proto proggers Iron Butterfly. Heavy was mentioned on the liner notes of the famous In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, but was never released in Brazil. So only recently I had the chance to listen to the album, some 40 years after I had their second iconic LP. All I can say about it now that it was indeed quite a promising album. The band was already finding their own sound but not quite got it on Heavy: the first two tracks, Possession and Unconscious Power, they showed their real strength: heavy (for the time) guitar and organ interplay laced with Doug Ingle´s fine, dramatic vocals. Unfortunately they also had mediocre tracks like Get Out Of My Life, Woman and, worse, three tunes that are sung by Darryl DeLoach, a weak singer that was no match to Ingle.

Overall I liked the album. Although they were still finding their own sound and had yet to honey their songwriting skills in some ways, they did a pretty good job as a whole for a debut. Of curse the lesser tracks are just pastiches of other contemporary organ-led groups like The Doors and Vanilla Fudge. You can´t Win is another fine track that showed what would be the IB sound, along with the instrumental closing Iron Butterfly Theme. There are also some short interesting instrumental parts on the other songs, but as one can expect this is the famous case of hit or miss. And there were slightly more hits than misses. The lesson was learned as their next album would prove, even if at the expense of three original members.

Nice debut with a few promising ideas that, fortunately, would be developed on their following works.

Rating: 3 stars. Good, but non essential.

 Ball by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.13 | 66 ratings

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Ball
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I used to read this metal magazine that was published in Canada called "Metallion". It covered everything from hard rock to thrash metal and was great for featuring homegrown metal bands. There was also a page called "Roots of Metal" that featured bands like The Yardbirds, Ten Years After, Cream, Vanilla Fudge, and Iron Butterfly. I recall one part of the Iron Butterfly article that said after the fantastic success with "In-A-Gadda-Da- Vida", the same line-up returned to record an album that "sounded like it was recorded between someone's coffee breaks".

As for me, I don't view the album so derisively. "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" had some great moments but there was also the other side of Iron Butterfly, the Butterfly side that was pretty hippy dippy ("Flowers and Beads" anyone?).

"Ball" opens with a stunningly heavy intro complete with harsh power chords, cymbal crashes, and a bizarre dragging/pulsing effect that creates an ominous and forbidding atmosphere. The song itself is a cross between haunting and pretty with inserts of heavier moments, particularly near the song's conclusion. Though not as straightforward as say "Iron Butterfly Theme" or the short version of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", this song shows Iron Butterfly's darker side.

The rest of the album covers a variety of approaches, bringing in some light funk mixed with psychedelia like "Soul Experience", or the tension-filled "Real Fright" with its hurried suspense/spy movie bass line. There's Doug Ingle's balladeer vocal showcase, "Lonely Boy" which will either have you stabbing at the skip button right away or you might appreciate it for the effort. "This Must Be Love" sees a gradual building of psychedelic hard rock guitar, and "Belda Beast" is credited to young Eric Braun who shows off his vocal and guitar talents.

On "Ball" there's also an overall impression that Iron Butterfly was moving into more progressive territory. In particular, I find songs like "Her Favorite Style" and "Filled with Fear" feature an almost classical approach to composition in the way the guitar, bass and keyboard work together. The song structures take the album away from the standard pop song, and for that I actually find this album to be an interesting and enjoyable musical melange of psychedelic adventures. Of course such a mixed bag will have songs that bomb for some people, and I myself don't claim every effort to be a treat. In a way, this album is one of the last of its kind because heavy psych, heavy blues, and hard rock was taking a turn in 1969 and things were getting a whole lot heavier. Still, Braun makes some good use of his fuzz box at times. As for the prog aspect, it's a pretty good step in the right direction; however, things were about to become even more interesting.

Four stars for creativity but three for the overall result.

 Metamorphosis by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 92 ratings

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Metamorphosis
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Many people turned their backs on Iron Butterfly by the time this album came out, because it's not like In-a-Gadda-da-Vida. What they did was go a more heavy, bluesy direction. No more "flowers and beads", after flower power looked rather ridiculous by 1970 (in fact, flower power was already looking silly by the end of 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, not to mention the Vietnam War becoming uglier. I associate flower power with the Summer of Love in 1967). Erik Braunn is now gone, replaced by Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt and Mike Pinera. It seems they were looking for biker cred, after all, the gatefold depicts Lee Dorman on a motorcycle, and one of the songs is called "Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way)". The music now brings to mind Steppenwolf, as it has a more bluesy feel, not to mention the Vox Continental organ was replaced by a Hammond organ. So in 1970 Iron Butterfly is still stuck in 1968, but not of the "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" variety, but of the Steppenwolf variety. Even Doug Ingle vocals remind me of John Kay. "A New Day" is a pretty typical song for this album. Heavy bluesy rock that fans of Steppenwolf could relate to. "Shady Lady" also has a bluesy feel, but Doug Ingle uses a Hohner Pianet on this piece, and a pretty interesting use of it. "Best Years of Our Lives" and "Stone Believer" shows more of this heavy blues-influenced rock side, but "Slower than Guns" is extremely different, an acoustic piece with sitar. Makes you wonder why Iron Butterfly was not using a sitar during the "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" days, when every other psychedelic band was using one. "A Soldier in Town" refers to a soldier actually being Cupid. It's a rather slow piece but Doug Ingle really shouts here. "Easy Rider" was apparently a minor hit for the band, but I was too young to experience FM rock radio when it was still "progressive FM rock" radio (that format pretty much went defunct by 1975 in favor of commercial AOR) who would favor album cuts over hit singles (including "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" in all its glory, and not the 3 minute edited single version as heard on commercial AOR FM rock radio post-1975). That meant I never remembered hearing that song on the radio, so it was brand new to me buying this album. "Butterfly Bleu" is really a divisive cut for many. It's over 13 minutes long. Starts off bluesy, but you'll notice elements of space rock as it continues on, some more bluesy passages, and perhaps one of the earliest uses of the talk box through the guitar (which Joe Walsh and most notably, Peter Frampton were most famous for using a few years later). But some of the experiments might seem over the heads, it does seem a bit disjointed in places. It's strange, maybe not the best way to end the album. Regardless, this album took me by surprise. Didn't expect them to sound like this, but I like it. Iron Butterfly was never exactly a darling of rock critics, and I seriously doubt this album would help them change their attitudes. Don't expect another In-a-Gadda-da-Vida, but recommended for those who don't mind bluesy heavy rock.
Thanks to alucard for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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