Our last article on metal bands better than Sabbath got quite a response. Some people were angry that we would even suggest that there are better bands than Sabbath. Other people tripped over themselves to offer their own list. There are literally dozens of '70s bands that get overlooked in favor of Sabbath, Deep Purple, UFO and Uriah Heep. Here's another batch of five.
Like a lot of other bands of the era (Deep Purple and the Edgar Broughton Band, for example), Incredible Hog were a holdover from the British blues revival of the mid-60s. The band boasted trippy blues experiments (“Burnout” are a spectacular example of this type of heaviness) and some of the most bizarrely unsettling album covers in '70s rock — featuring anthropomorphic pig teats. Hog highlight early metal as a mutant form of acid blues.
Where to Start: The self-titled album is an incredible outpouring of raw blues energy.
May Blitz are another band with their roots in the British blues revival. Their self-titled debut, however, is a long way from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers or the Butterfield Blues Band. The band had a nice, groovy sound but with an edge of speed and acid-addled fuzz that made songs like “Smoking the Day Away” particularly apt. Imagine the world's greatest Saturday night stony blues jam and you're beginning to get at what May Blitz sounds like. The guitar tone is the holy grail the current crop of retro rockers like Graveyard and Witchcraft are after.
Where to Start: The first album is a solid listen all the way through and has some unsettling artwork to boot.
Flower Travellin' Band
Flower Travellin' Band are easily the most “modern” sounding band on this list. The dirgy, angular riff on “Satori I” hints at what will happen when metal finally frees itself from the conventions of the blues. It's not surprising that this band hails from Japan, a country that will later be known for some of the more extreme sounds in rock. In addition to metal's illuminati, the band have also won favor among progressive rock, noise and post-rock circles.
Where to Start: Satori is a five-part excursion into the shape of metal to come, with two tracks clocking in at over ten minutes long.
Dust are perhaps most famous for having Marc Bell (better known as Marky Ramone) in the drummer's throne. You can hear Bell's metronome skills on any Ramones record. What you can hear on Dust is his virtuosity. All told, Dust are a rock solid power trio where each member can not only play his respective ass off; They also lock together to show just how furiously a band can jam out while still rocking hard; “Ivory,” the track above shows them in their finest form.
Where to Start: While the first, self-titled album is great, it's got nothing on Hard Attack, the first album to feature a Frank Frazetta cover.
Euclid, hailing from Haverhill, MA, the same city that gave us Rat Bite Fever and Rob Zombie, straddle the line between psychedelic garage rock and metal. A bit anachronistic for 1970, their lone studio effort Heavy Equipment still has R&B covers (“Gimme Some Lovin'” and “It's All Over Now”). The covers point to the band's roots, but also demonstrate how far rock music had come in the last couple of years. In addition to a brain-crushing heaviness, the band boast more hooks than a tackle box.
Where to Start: They've only got the one album, and every track is a killer.