Bang's debut is another overlooked slice of hard rock majesty. Fuzzed out and heavy yet chock full of melody and memorable songwriting, it is shameful that so many youngsters have made their living aping the sort of sound captured by not just Bang, but Sir Lord Baltimore, Leaf Hound, and countless others. Why is it that Bang could not quit their day jobs in the 1970s, but decades later anyone with an Orange amp and a pair of bell bottoms gets to travel the world tunelessly aping this era of rock for an audience of stoned neanderthals?
Although bitterness in regards to this matter is justified, to fixate on the silliness of stoner rock's popularity would be a disservice to this album. For one, to even keep mentioning "stoner rock" would drive home the idea that Bang even sound remotely similar to the various "retro throwback" snoozefests currently making a killing at a festival near you. The fuzz is present, the volume is undeniable, but the similarities stop there - one can think of many bands over the past two decades that sound "sort of" like Bang and others from this era, but Bang have a uniqueness, an attitude, a knack for melody. These songs are driving, forceful, head-boppers with grooves that would make anyone move like a sinister snake ready to pounce on some dumber, weaker animal. That being said, there are tranquil passages of acoustic beauty, as well as tuneful and heartfelt vocals that remind one of Ozzy Osbourne at times but are undoubtedly their own. The chugging riffs and manic solos are thick, chunky, and mountain-shaking. Aside from a the odd riff here and there, any similarity to Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin the listener would like to infer is merely superficial, and evidence of that listener's lack of finesse or culture. The production is raw but this was not through an attempt to emulate any particular sound - Bang is Bang. Drink beer and grill hot dogs in the desert - hear that atmosphere? You can't force that. You simply are
Thankfully, in recent years these hidden gems of the early 1970s have been revealed. Many of these forgotten groovemasters of yesteryear are just now getting their due, forming lucrative reunions and making bank for the first times in their lives through touring the club circuit and various festivals, exposing many of the stoner teenybopper favorites of the past decade as merely pale imitators, farting without feeling, as if such a thing is even possible. It is interesting to see people digging deep and discovering these glorious heavy hitters of old, suddenly realizing that the groups they once believed to be unique and special were not so. To spin that in a more positive light, it is worth pointing out that the organic grooves displayed here are definitely worth imitating. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, groups like Captain Beyond, Iron Claw, and Bang are some of the most flattered bastards out there. Unfortunately, flattery doesn't pay the electric bill. It is refreshing to see these stones uncovered finally. Maybe we do have souls. Even if we dont, the members of Bang do. This is their 34 minute testament and affirmation.