“Don’t turn around cause I’m never coming back!” So thundered Leslie West from my record player. That old, scratched up copy of Mountain’s “Nantucket Sleighride” was my introduction to rock and roll. I wore it out on my one piece record player- you know- the kind that integrated the turntable and amp into a single cheesy machine.
That heavier than lead, early 70’s sound, forever influenced my taste and lead me to Sabbath, Dio and BOC. Yet as a teen growing up in the era of New Wave and Hair Metal, I found few, if any, kindred souls. Even as I branched out into Goth, Punk and Thrash, the love of that sound never left me.
Yet now, more than 30 years after I first put needle to that vinyl, it seems that things have come full circle. Things that were once old and seemingly forgotten, are new once more. This first occurred to me last year when my friend Marcus turned me on to the work of Purson. Check out the video for “The Contract” here.
Apparently Jefferson Airplane is still alive and kicking and I love it!
Next, and again courtesy of Marcus was Opeth. Ranging between Prog Rock and Death Metal their latest album leans heavily towards the former with none of the trademark growling vocals that helped define them. Yet the emphasis on composition and mysticism story telling is more than enough to carry them. See for yourself with the video for Cusp of Eternity
But the final piece of evidence for me came just this week. I was getting psyched up to see Arch Enemy tomorrow in Baltimore. In addition to putting them into heavy rotation I checked into the opening acts. In doing so I stumbled onto Huntress. After one listen I can only conclude they must share the same musical roots.
They fit the mold perfectly- combining Maiden’s sound, the weight and occult narratives of Dio with BOC’s sci-fi smarts, the psychedelia of Mountain’s cover art and a little Crazy World of Authur Brown for good measure. If they just threw in a B3 I would think I was still listening to scratchy vinyl on that old cheesy record player. The result is Zenith.
Move over Bruce Dickinson. Jill Janus may not be able to fly a 747 but she rocks! I am very to see how their act translates to the stage.
So it seems old Leslie West was wrong. Thanks to a new generation of musical grandchildren he’s coming back in a big way. And to that I can only say Amen!