This record didn’t get released outside of Canada for like 2 and a half years or something. And, as a result it seems like there was some surprise when people realized it had been released in 1970. This was one of the early metal albums! Oh my god! I have not been able to confirm what month it was released in 1970, so I don’t know exactly where it fits in with the launch of the genre as something in the popular consciousness – which happened in 1970 if it hadn’t happened already – but I do know these guys sound like a less impressive Deep Purple. So take that for what it’s worth.
The biggest hurdle these guys have to fight is how similar Don Moyer sounds to Ian Gillan. I don’t know whether or not this record beat the first Gillan-era Purple record – or MkII Purple as the British say – but their voices are so similar that it’s distracting. (Well, until they’re not: This guy cannot sing like Gillan can but their voices sound so unbelievably similar when they’re singing normally.) And then you start thinking about Richie Blackmore and Jon Lord and then you think this kind of sucks in comparison. And that’s not fair – especially if they recorded it in late 1969 or something – but it’s still unavoidable if you’re a Purple fan. (There’s also Zeppelin worship: listen to the intro to “Melody with Balls” and try not to think of “Communication Breakdown.”)
Compared to the other unsung metal record of the era (Kingdom Come) this sometimes sounds less ambitious and dumber – though arguably purer – and then they go and sound more ambitious than Sir Lord Baltimore, almost proggy, like when they briefly turn into a wannabe Focus. (Again, it matters so much when this came out. Maybe they’re not imitating Focus. Maybe Focus sounds like the proggy version of Warpig! But I have no idea.) This might just reinforce the Deep Purple comparisons but they never do anything as ambitious as Purple’s proggiest early music.
1970 was such a pivotal year in the history of metal. So much changed in such a short period of time. If this came out before Deep Purple in Rock, it’s a bigger deal than I am giving it credit for and, frankly, Warpig should probably sue. But it probably didn’t, right? Like what are the odds Deep Purple ripped off their sound from a Canadian band which didn’t even get an international release of its record and now everyone only remembers the imitator? (They’re not zero, but they’re not high.)
However, if this came out after In Rock, it’s mostly a flagrant rip off and I should rate it lower than I rated Kingdom Come, which at least doesn’t sound identical (only shittier) to one of the Holy Trinity on like half the songs. (And then sounding like early prog rock bands on the other songs.)
So I’m not quite sure what to do here. But I’m going to lean towards guessing it was released in later 1970, and it’s not some lost classic but really just a Canadian band doing what Canadians did best in the 1960s: ripping off British bands.
(Of course, another argument that it is derivative comes from, um, the band name.)