Human Beast

The Human Beast, Vol. One

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Although it was optimistically titled Volume One, this would turn out to be the sole album by this obscure, odd, Edinburgh early heavy rock trio. The tracks are dominated by the Jimi Hendrix/Cream-influenced guitar of Gillies Buchan, which leans heavily on devious wah-wah effects. Indebted to blues-rock and early heavy metal, but not quite in either bag, the sound is somewhat skeletal even as power trios go. The ethos of the hippie era are evident even in the song titles alone: "Appearance Is Everything, Style Is a Way of Living," "Brush with the Midnight Butterfly," "Reality Presented as an Alterative," and "Naked Breakfast." Where this falls short is in the department most often not measuring up to the others on records that are otherwise promising: the songwriting. The material is pretty sketchy and meandering, the brooding vocals projecting a devilish mood not supported by much in the way of memorable riffs or melodic evolutions and resolutions. It's no accident that the best track, "Maybe Someday," is the only non-original, and is an interestingly unusual cover of an Incredible String Band song. Fans of early hard rock may nonetheless find it worth checking out for the rawness and the idiosyncratic guitar work if nothing else, though on the whole it's on the bare side in too many respects. The 2007 CD adds historical liner notes with extensive recollections by everyone in the band.

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