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A strange, strange debut - 77%

UltraBoris, August 7th, 2002

But a pretty fucking good one, if you can get (or make, for that matter) a competent remaster. The worst parts of the album are the inconsistencies in volume, so it's not that hard to jack up some of the songs by 9dB. Sin After Sin is kinda similarly problematic (the original, anyway).

That said, some of the songs on here are excellent, and the whole thing is a real barrel of fun. It's not Sad Wings of Destiny, but at times it really does hint at it. It's a strange one - the bastard son of Black Sabbath, and your average hippie-rock band (Ten Years After comes to mind). There are a few rocker numbers that are just completely fun... Rocka Rolla (feline on the borderline!) and Cheater come to mind, along with the bouncing opener, One for the Road. Simple but effective riffage.

Then, there's the epic stuff. This is the 70s, where everyone had to be a bit prog and crazy, and this comes out pretty good. The second half of the album is where shit really picks up, with the monster riffage of Never Satisfied. Halford brought it back as part of his live set (FUCK YEAH!) and it did not sound out of place at all. That middle break hints at Tyrant, which of course hints at thrash fucking metal. Run of the Mill is an amazing song (even if the shriek at the end is pitch-shifted) with its long middle soloing section over the hypnotic bass riff (yes, you can actually hear Ian on this LP!), and if you give it 9dB, it turns out wonderful. Then, there's the absolute highlight of the album, Dying to Meet You, which is half Black Sabbath, half Genocide, and all fucking heavy metal. Killer! Killer! Keep your thoughts at bay!

The rest... Caviar and Meths, I have no idea why they cut it out. I've not heard the Al Atkins studio version, but it's 8 minutes and has lyrics. This version is a minute and a half of noodling. Then there's Winter/Deep Freeze/Winter Retreat (aka the Winter Suite), which is a bit on the boring side.

That said, this album is quite enjoyable, and never mind its historical importance. Hot on the heels of Black Sabbath, here comes the Next Big Thing!