Warpig were a little known Canadian hard rock band who released their debut album way back in 1970, but by 1975 the band had broken up, that is until 2004, when a reunion led to something more permanent and the band is still going strong today. Their self-titled release was reissued by Relapse Records a few years ago, and it's a very strong representation of early '70s psychedelic proto-metal. The band are Rick Donmoyer (vocals/guitar), Dana Snitch (keyboards/guitar/vocals), Terry Hook (drums), and Terry Hook (bass).
Much of the music on display is dark and quite heavy, at times approaching other rising acts of the same time period like Black Sabbath, Mountain, Blue Oyster Cult, Bang, Blue Cheer, Sir Lord Baltimore, Deep Purple, Rush, Uriah Heep, Atomic Rooster, and Pentagram. Plenty of crushing guitar riffs, wicked slide guitar, and organ on the bruising "Melody With Balls", and "Flaggit" is just plain old kick ass hard rock. "Advance Am" has a more prog-rock feel to it, thanks to some majestic electric piano layers, acrobatic bass lines, and some haunting vocal harmonies that sound eerily like classic Uriah Heep. On "Rock Star", the band inject some blues & funk elements into their heavy rock sound, coming across like a hybrid of Deep Purple/Trapeze/Grand Funk Railroad/Humble Pie, and "Sunflight" mixes some prog styled keyboards into what is otherwise a searing heavy rock number complete with creative guitar riffing & soloing. The influence of the late '60s psychedelic era can be heard on "U.X.I.B.", as the band launch into a stirring, Hammond organ soaked journey into your worst nightmare along the lines of vintage Iron Butterfly. Donmoyer contributes some sizzling guitar solos on this one as well. "The Moth" closes things out, a spooky rocker that recalls a heavier The Doors, mixed with some Heep and perhaps Tucky Buzzard. Sounds like they are mixing some clavinet along with the heavy riffs, making for a unique effect, and there are some really frantic rhythms courtesy of Brett & Hook on this one.
Throughout, there's a great sense of atmosphere, so it's not start to finish headbanging, and the band had firm grasp on both prog rock & psych elements to go along with their heavy rock. If you are like me and seek out hard rock & proto-metal rarities from the '70s, this will indeed be a great find for you. Relapse has done a great job on this reissue, which sounds incredible, and the booklet is filled with photos and an essay on the band. Recommended!
2) Tough Nuts
3) Melody with Balls
4) Advance Am
5) Rock Star
8) The Moth