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Steel Mill - Green Eyed God CD (album) cover

GREEN EYED GOD

Steel Mill

 

Heavy Prog

3.94 | 85 ratings

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apps79
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Cult British Prog/Psych outfit, formed in late-60's in the South London neighborhood of Wadsworth by keyboardist/singer Dave Morris and sax player John Challenger (formerly of The Garret Singers) with three more members coming from an act named Roadrunners, bassist Derek Chandler, guitarist Terry Williams and drummer Colin Short.After a few promising demos Short was replaced by Rumplestiltskin's Rupert Bear for a brief time, before Chris Martin was acquired permanently.A single followed in 1971 on the Penny Farthing label, which had an unexpected success, and Steel Mill entered the De Lane Lea Studios in London in December 71' to record their debut with a slightly different line-up, bassist Jeff Watts had replaced Derek Chandler.The team on Penny Farthing apparently was not very excited with the album, as a result Steel Mill's ''Green eyed God'' was oroginally released only in Germany in 1972.

Steel Mill sounded like a less progressive and risky GNIDROLOG and VAN DER GRAFF GENERATOR, having strong psychedelic and Jazz/Blues influences, but eventually offering an amalgam of sounds quite different from the typical bands of the time.With dark vocals and instrumental sections, they recalled also compatriots MARSUPILAMI, comfortably evolving from Heavy/Psychedelic Rock passages to jazzy twists with the sax in evidence and even delivering some great breaks and complex themes, especially in the longer tracks.Even if some of the ideas seem a bit forced or disjointed, the album is characterized by numerous great guitar moves and solid drumming, flavored by Challenger's diverse plays on sax and flutes, having evident Folk, Jazz and Blues vibes.The mood is angry, sinister and atmospheric akin to a more guitar-based VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR with an intelligent mix of 60's and proggy tunes, but even if Morris was among the band's leaders, his performance on keyboards is just very sterile and almost ''invisible''.Another aspect Steel Mill appear to have borrowed from Jazz are the obvious, loose executions in series of pieces, on the other hand the shorter ones come in a more standard Heavy/Blues Rock vein with Terry Williams being the absolute hero with his electrified guitar work.

A second single was issued the same year, but its dissapointing sales led Penny Farthing to abandon any plans on Steel Mill.Williams and Watts left the band and they were replaced by Alan Plaice and Danny Easterbrook respectively.However, despite some decent supporting performances next to Rory Gallagher's Taste, T. Rex, and David Bowie, Steel Mill finally disbanded in August 72'.From the band's members, Watts had the most respectable career playing for Psych/Jazz Rockers The Running Man, Hard Rock band Mouse and the Pop Rock combo Design.

Several reissues appear in the market, most of them with bonus material, and surprisingly Penny Farthing decided to reissue the original press in 1975 for the UK market.Among the good acts of the time, Steel Mill played cool Psych/Prog with a jazzy attitude and extended instrumental ideas.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |

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