Review Summary: I like smoke and lightning, Heavy metal thunder, Racin' with the wind, And the feelin' that I'm under.
Motorbike, leather jacket, rock music and the open road. The dream of a whole generation of young people found its soundtrack at the end of the ‘60s. That’s only one of the reasons that Steppenwolf
is an iconic album though. The other reason is of course the inclusion of the phrase “heavy metal thunder” on the band’s most well known track, “Born to Be Wild”. The origins of the term “heavy metal” are lost in the depths of history so the only certainty is that lyrically its first appearance was in Steppenwolf’s song.
However, Steppenwolf’s debut is much more than just “Born to Be Wild”. It’s a solid blues rock affair with psychedelic influences characteristic of the era. Bearing in mind the time the album was released, it can be characterized as heavy, wild and loud. Imagine a blend of hard rock reminiscent of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grand Funk Railroad and Canned Heat with the psychedelic flavor of Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge. Steppenwolf’s sound is guitar driven, but one can listen to some groovy bass lines, solid drumming and of course Goldy McJohn’s piano and organ. Vocalist John Cay brings to mind John Fogerty from Creedence Clearwater Revival without being as powerful though. Nevertheless, that’s not a bad thing as John Fogerty was one of the most talented vocalists in rock.
The biker anthem “Born to Be Wild” is of course one of the standout tracks here but one can listen to the badass “The Pusher”, check the driving rhythm of the rebellious “The Ostrich”, or the laid back “Snowblind Friend”. Moreover, blues rock lovers are bound to appreciate “Your Wall’s Too High” while “Desperation” is also a track worth noting. In addition, fans of The Doors will most probably find similarities between the main riffs of “Everybody’s Next One” and Morrison Hotel’s
“You Make Me Real”.
is an excellent album which is highly recommended for fans of blues rock and lovers of the bands mentioned previously. It contains all the elements that made the blues and psychedelic movements of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s special and is best accompanied by images of the iconic counterculture film Easy Rider.