Time to Suck


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Time to Suck Review

by François Couture

Suck were a part of the South African hard rock wave of the early ‘70s -- in fact, they were the heaviest of the "Big Heavies" (the term was coined for a 1972 compilation LP). Time to Suck was the sole LP the group recorded in its short eight-month run (1970-1971), a time during which the band, unlike fellow Big Heavies like Freedom's Children and Otis Waygood, didn't manage to rise from their cover band status. However, what they lacked in artistic development, they made up for in sheer power. Singer Andrew Ionnides was gifted with the perfect hard rock voice, pairing the screaming overtones of Robert Plant with the earthy, bluesy tone of a Paul Rodgers. Guitarist Steve Gilroy (a British citizen) had chops, and the rhythm section formed by Louis Forer and Saverio Grandi (an Italian) had a lot of muscle. The songs selected for this release offer a cross-section of early hard rock history, with one glaring omission... no Led Zeppelin! Still, Grand Funk Railroad, Deep Purple, Free, Colosseum, Black Sabbath, even King Crimson's thundering "21st Century Schizoid Man" are represented… along with Donovan. -- What? Yep. And you better believe that Suck's ten-minute rendition of "Season of the Witch" has every right to be included alongside the aforementioned. If "Schizoid Man" is shaky (Gilroy turns in a nice and surprisingly fitting acid rock solo, but the singer clearly never heard the lyrics right and screws them up bad), "Aimless Lady," "I'll Be Creeping," and "Into the Fire" are all impressive. For non-South Africans, Time to Suck is a curiosity at most, but it documents a band that clearly had potential, fronted by a fired-up singer. And hard rock fans will enjoy their take on the repertoire.

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