måndag 25 januari 2010

Steamhammer - Speech (Deras Sista Album UK 1972)

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280:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition)

Speech was the fourth and last album of the British blues-rock band Steamhammer.

In 1971, Kieran White and Steve Davy left Steamhammer, and Louis Cennamo (bass) joined the band. This lineup, together with session vocalist Garth Watt-Roy, recorded this album, which was released in 1972. It consisted of three long and mostly instrumental songs.

After Speech was recorded, Mick Bradley died of leukemia later in 1972. This led to the break-up of Steamhammer, so this was their last album.

Diverging from the typical power rock style on Speech, their fourth and final album, the band found themselves in a dilemma without their vocalist, who had left after the previous release, Mountains. This led to a radical development for the band. Instead of hiring a new singer, the rest of the group picked up the slack, and reduced the role of the vocals significantly, opting for a progressive jam style that was hugely innovative for its time. Guitarist Martin Pugh offers a crashing, furious style that mixes Jimmy Page with early Robert Fripp. When Pugh seeks passages of beauty and tranquility, he finds them with ease, but when he aims for intensity, watch out! He literally attacks the listener, pounding them with his mammoth, perfectly executed riffs. Meanwhile, bassist Louis Cennamo is so talented and innovative that he single-handedly brought the bow into rock music with his bowed bass intro to the album. Several years before Page would pick up the bow for "Kashmir," Cennamo uses the bowed bass as means to an end, not for simple effect.

Just as a normal bassist alone, masters within the genre owe their lifeblood to him. For he is able to play along with just about the toughest, most technical drumming around, that of drummer Mick Bradley, who is easily the most accomplished musician of the trio. To state that he is rock's greatest drummer is simply not enough. His energetic approach to the drum kit helped him become one of the first and only drummers in rock history, along with King Crimson's Michael Giles, to use polyrhythmic drumming, a style commonly used by jazz drummers. His dynamic performance on the primarily instrumental "For Against," which blows away John Bonham's "Moby Dick" and Ginger Baker's "Toad" in a heartbeat. On this album, there was a rumor that the band received some secret vocal and lyrical help from Yardbirds vocalist Keith Relf. Whether or not this is true remains a mystery, but what is fact, sadly, is that not long after this album Mick Bradley succumbed to Leukemia and passed away. This marked the end of Steamhammer, but the other two members forged on, forming a band called Armageddon. Speech is one of rock's finest and most creative hours, and one tends to wonder where Steamhammer could have gone from this point on had it not been for obscurity and sudden tragedy.

01. Penumbra - 22:41
02. Telegram - 11:59
03. For Against - 10:56