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by Chuck Eddy

October 14, 2013

Obscure Olde Metal, Pt. 2

by Chuck Eddy  |  October 14, 2013

Anybody out there who believes Iron Maiden and Judas Priest invented heavy metal, be forewarned: This second alphabetical journey through lost and forgotten metal artists of yore focuses even more on the '70s than the first one. That wasn't intentional; it's more a function of all the ancient bands whose names start with "B" in the myriad metal record guides consulted.

Which isn't to say this playlist neglects subsequent eras entirely. Well, OK, the '80s sort of get shafted, though at least Madrid power-metal lifers Barón Rojo sneak in, as do Swedish biker bros BB Rock, and early '80s pre-thrash-and-hair cheeseballs from L.A. (Bitch) and London (Bitches Sin) who demonstrate that there was a whole lot of bitchin' (and fast riffin') goin' on -- with whips attached, in the case of Bitch front-dominatrix Betsy Weiss.

The '90s actually fare a bit better: Industrially art-clattering combos Barkmarket and Beats the Hell Out of Me; Christian thrashers Believer; pop-punk-metal also-rans Black Train Jack (who sometimes suggested a heavier Rancid); stoner-boogie Masters of Reality spinoff The Bogeymen; high-I.Q. Blue Öyster Cult/Manowar-spinoff smartasses The Brain Surgeons (with longtime rock critic Deborah Frost vocalizing); Ohio speed-and-shred badasses Boulder.

Still, no contest -- the '70s win by a mile this time. Insane Ohio creation prophet J.D. Blackfoot's "Epitaph for a Head" actually dates back to proto-metal 1969, and the next couple years birthed all sorts of hard 'n' heavy post-psych hippie cults included herein. Bedlam and MC5-ish soul-metallers Black Pearl are captured live; human sacrifice ritualists Black Widow, German Opeth inspirations Blackwater Park, Japanese crazies Blues Creation, and the even more mysterious Bodkin and Bram Stoker were all clearly obsessed with evil demonic stuff. Banchee hail from that time frame as well (1971 to be exact), and British good-time glamsters Blackfoot Sue and Canadian boogie-rock lumberjacks Brave Belt (starring a post-Guess Who/pre-B.T.O. Randy Bachman) from soon after. Black Heat's psychedelic funk and George Brigman's even more psychedelic basement blues, both from the D.C./Maryland region and respectively pre-figuring go-go and punk rock, round out the mid-'70s. And they can all still blow minds today.

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