ROOTS - MY PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW!
The band that started everything was BLACK SABBATH and BLUE CHEER with the "Vincebus Eruptum" LP. But at the end of the 60's and in the beginning of the 70's there have been a lot of other unknown Heavy Rock bands all over this wretched earth, as for example HIGH TIDE. Their "Sea Shanties" album(released 1969) is a journey through total heaviness with some progressive and some psychedelic influences. For more informations of all this forgotten bands it's very recommendable to visit GL-PRODUCTIONS. There you'll find a lot of very interesting heavy progressive rock stuff and reviews to rare records. Ok, back to my timeline.
In 1971 PENTAGRAM was formed by Bobby Liebling and Geof O'Keefe. It was one of the heaviest and strongest bands in the 70's and it's a shame that they still have an underground status today. They released four 7"s in the 70's (the first under the name MACABRE) and two great records in the 80's, where the band joined forces with Victor Griffin's DEATH ROW. There were some line-up changes during the last 30 years, but co-founder Bobby Liebling is still continuing. PENTAGRAM are still a great influence for a lot of today's bands and the new record "Sub-Basement" is once again a masterpiece . If you are looking for their early stuff, I give you the advice to get the "First Daze Here - The Vintage Collection" compilation. But I can't write about PENTAGRAM without mentioning BEDEMON. Founded in 1973 by ex-PENTAGRAM member Geof O'Keefe and Randy Palmer but they've never released any authorized material in the 70's. There are some bootlegs with a bad sound-quality so better check out the new material because they have re-formed. Meanwhile Black Widow Records did release an excellent compilation, entitled "Child Of Darkness".
In 1975 the forerunner of THE OBSESSED, the LEATHER NUNZ saw the light of day. Later the name changed into WARHORSE(not to confuse with the DEEP PURPLE layer). Then, in1980,THE OBSESSED was finally born. They released three great records in the 90's and split-up in 1995. Scott 'Wino' Weinrich,co-founder of THE OBSESSED, is still around today with his new band SPIRIT CARAVAN (formerly SHINE). A good insight at the history of THE OBSESSED is the "Incarnate" album. You'll find songs from 1983-1994 on it.
Another very important band was SAINT VITUS. Founded in 1978 under the name TYRANT by guitar player Dave Chandler and bass player Mark Adams they changed in 1981 into ST. VITUS. They've created albums that will ever stand the test of time. It's doesn't matter, if you listen to their first record ("Saint Vitus") or the last one ("Die Healing"). VITUS had two great singer. The first and last one was Scott Reegers and from 1986-1990 Wino joined the band. In 1992 ST. VITUS released only one record ("C.O.D.") with Christian Linderson on vocals, who was earlier in COUNT RAVEN. My personal opinion is that this is the worst record VITUS did, not only because of Linderson's vocals, who didn't really fit into the band's sound. But, like I said before, the other records are monuments. It's a great loss that they doesn't exist today, but as far as I know Dave Chandler is playing in a new band DEBRIS INC.. In the late 70's in the UK another fantastic band was formed. They released two albums, that are still an great inspiration for a lot of the new Doom Metal bands. I'm talking about WITCHFINDER GENERAL. Especially the first record "Death Penalty",released in 1982 is a real milestone. You'll find there all the trademarks that you love about Doomy Metal. Heavy Sabbathish riffs, great songs with fine melodies, Ozzy-like vocals and the band's image, that was inspired by old witchplotation movies. The second record from 1983 "Friends Of Hell" is not so good like the first one, but also a recommendable classic. As far as I know WITCHFINDER GENERAL broke up in the mid-80's.
The US band TROUBLE started in 1979. On their first three records("Psalm 9","The Skull". "Run To The Light") they mixed BLACK SABBATH with the period of NWOBHM. In 1990 they released the self-titled album, that is still one of my alltime faves. It's more 70's like, but still very heavy and the following two records ("Manic Frustration","Plastic Green Head") continue this way. TROUBLE influenced many bands (Metallica etc.), but like all the other bands here they always were some kind of an underground act. Loved by musicians and fans but a very bad support from fuckin' record labels. It seems in the late-90's as if TROUBLE broke-up and some members had done several projects like LID, WET ANIMAL or SUPERSHINE. Now in 2002 they are back together and we're waiting for a new album.
In Sweden in the early 80's a band named NEMESIS started out. They released one dark and heavy album, titled "The Day Of Retribution". In 1985 they changed their name into CANDLEMASS and the classic "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" album created the term Doom-Metal. CANDLEMASS put something new to the Sabbath-based sound and they produce a music that you can call (if you want!) Epic-Doom. In 1986 Messiah Marcolin joined CANDLEMASS and bandleader Leif Edling had the perfect singer. They put out a lot of great records like for example "Tales Of Creation", one of my faves. In the 90's CANDLEMASS split -upand in 1999 Leif Edling released with new members the fantastic album "From The 13th Sun" and now Messiah Marcolin is back again and maybe there will be a new album in the future. Meanwhile he left the band and Rob Lowe is the vocaliust.
Another important Swedish band is STILLBORN. Formed in 1984 they released in 1989 the outstanding "Necrospirituals" LP. One of the darkest rock records that I've ever listen to. Forget bands like Type O Negative, this record is the perfect missing link between BLACK SABBATH and SISTERS OF MERCY. After the first one they released another two records, where they have altered their sound, but I think "Necrospirituals" is the original masterpiece. In the 90's STILLBORN changed into COLOSSUS with Messiah Marcolin on vocals. But that doesn't worked out and the last news are that they have given up the name COLOSSUS, so nothing is certain.
For me all this bands, with BLACK SABBATH on top of it, are a formative influence on todays Doom Metal breed. If you don't know them, go to your record dealer and ask for it. Of course, there are more great bands like REVEALTION, DREAM DEATH/PENANCE, INTERNAL VOID, SOLITUDE AETURNUS, MILLARCA etc. which haven't found their way into my small column.