Review Summary: A cornerstone of psychedelic rock.
The 1960s was one of the most fascinating decades in the past century for music. It saw the inception of a multitude of incredibly influential bands and styles. In retrospect, it’s even a little difficult to believe that so many of these bands that changed the course of popular music started up in the 1960s. Alongside with these bands, rock music gained the momentum to establish itself as one of the most beloved and expansive genres of music. Some of the most popular rock subgenres were blues rock, folk rock, and perhaps the greatest of them all, psychedelic rock.
Psychedelic rock was born out of the two aforementioned styles in the latter years of the ‘60s, proving so powerful that it served as a main element in the hippie subculture that is so well known as one of the defining parts of the decade. Because of its popularity, psychedelic ‘60s rock is a genre with a plethora of hidden gems.
The Savage Resurrection was a band that started in 1967, a year with a shocking number of stellar releases (some of the most popular being The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
, The Doors’ self titled debut, and Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow
. As a result, it’s not so surprising that their self-titled debut and only album goes so unnoticed today. It was overshadowed by the abundance of albums released by popular rock groups. Despite this, The Savage Resurrection
is a stellar psychedelic rock album that can hold its ground with the mammoth releases of the time.
While the album can be grouped together with the other albums of the psychedelic movement, there are certain elements that set The Savage Resurrection
apart. Because of its surprisingly dissonant riffs and loud production, the album has some elements of proto-punk mixed in. The first verse on the not even two minute long "Every Little Song" epitomizes this punk feel, as well as the noisy outro. Another song like this is the fantastic opening track, "Thing In E." Its somewhat rough production gives it an early garage rock feel that was uncommon at the time. The song is mainly composed of the line, "My world’s better than your world," giving in a self-important swagger that matches perfectly with the driving rock tone of the song. It also shows off the guitar chops of precocious the band's 16-year old lead guitarist Randy Hammon.
But even though the album does borrow from these genres, it also has some poppier and bluesier, perhaps the most straightforward being the third track "Talking To You." It's filled with gorgeous shimmering guitar leads and relaxed, simple verses, giving it a very Jimi Hendrix Experience vibe to it. Another less noisy song is the album's 8-minute blues rock centerpiece "Jammin,'" complete with a passionate vocal performance by lead singer Bill Harper and two awesome wailing guitars. The only negative side to the track is that the drums are too quiet in the mix. The track could have altogether been more enticing if the cymbal-heavy drumming performance by Jeff Myer was more in the foreground.
While these songs are all wonderful, one of the more dull ones is "Fox Is Sick," wrongly placed right after "Jammin'" and therefore coming off as underwhelming and a generic. Nothing really sets it apart from the '60s pop-rock tone that was so popular. Perhaps if the track was placed differently, it wouldn't be so disappointing. "Appeal To The Happy" as well stays true to its title and feels like a conventional bluesy rock song. It's uncharacteristically bouncy and light, which isn't always a bad thing, but in this case it is since the songwriting itself feels weak. Furthermore, it overstays its welcome far too long. Thankfully, these two clunkers don't drag the quality of the album down very much because of the strength of the other songs.
The Savage Resurrection's debut has sadly sunken into obscurity, despite being one of the greatest psychedelic rock albums of all time. Perhaps another factor that led to its poor success is that the band broke up soon after the release of their debut. If they had continued making music, maybe they would have broken into the mainstream. Regardless, the album not only features great songwriting and guitar work, it also feels very ahead of its time as it incorporates elements of punk and garage rock that would become so popular in the next decade. Overall, The Savage Resurrection
is a must-have for fans of '60s rock.