Discounting proto-metal efforts by Blue Cheer, Steppenwolf, Vanilla Fudge, et al, this eponymous debut by Toronto, Canada's Warpig is arguably one of the earliest and still most relevant heavy metal albums recorded in the new world, next to Sir Lord Baltimore's seminal Kingdom Come or Dust's own self-titled first album. And although the band's name may scream "Black Sabbath," both its emphatic organ work and the agile guitar melodies adorning hard riffing tracks like "Flaggit," "Sunflight," and "The Moth" owe much more to Deep Purple. Mind you, though, neither of those British heavy metal institutions had yet carved their signature sounds in stone, never mind achieved universal appeal, when Warpig's debut saw the light of day in late 1970, leaving many unanswered questions as to who influenced who. Never more so than on the driving "Rock Star," which boasts a familiar riff progression and manic pacing suspiciously similar to that of Purple's "Fireball," which was only released some six months later! Obviously, one can never know for sure about such things, so many decades later, but consider the controversy launched, herewith. Hardly one-trick ponies, either, the members of Warpig were also capable of indulging in the most wanton savagery one minute (see "Tough Nuts" and the aptly named "Melody with Balls," featuring the dirtiest of riffs and a "Whole Lotta Love"-style feedback freak-out), and quasi-prog rock refinement the next (as shown by the dainty neo-classical keyboard work dominating "Advance in A Minor," where the closest parallel is probably Uriah Heep). All of which exacerbates the cruel obscurity experienced by this exceptional album until its 2006 reissue by Relapse Records, which hardly corrected history's injustices, but at least accorded Warpig some belated recognition for their modest contributions to heavy metal's early-‘70s foundation.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia