10 forgotten bands that co-​founded metal

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Metal may seem to outsiders to be just a harder style of rock, but anyone who takes a closer listen will realize how multi-​layered it is with its now countless sub-​genres, some of which are extremely different. This diversity is due to its more than fifty-​year history. Back in the late 60s, the foundations were laid for what are now some of the most exciting sub-​genres. The usual names such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin as the forefathers of metal are well known. However, many of the bands that helped develop the sound that gave rise to one of the biggest and most versatile genres are forgotten today or were not known to many at the time. I’d like to change that and introduce you to ten of these bands.

Writing On The Wall

Founded in the mid-​60s as the soul band Jury”, nobody would have thought that these guys would provide the blueprint for doom metal before Black Sabbath came along. In early 1968, the Edinburgh band renamed themselves Writing On The Wall and switched to psychedelic rock of the occult variety. Originally, one of their best early songs Lucifer Corpus” didn’t even make it onto their only album The Power of the Picts”. Unfortunately, they disbanded in 1973 after all their equipment was stolen during attempts to record a second album. What a shame!

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Writing On The Wall – Lucifer Corpus

May Blitz

May Blitz, also from the UK, lasted even shorter than Writing On The Wall. Their career spanned from 1969 to 1971, but produced two albums that paved the way for many upcoming metal bands. Their 1970 debut was incredibly heavy for its time and already had surprisingly progressive undertones.

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May Blitz – Smoking The Day Away

Room

Much clearer harbingers of progressive metal were the extremely unknown Room, also from Teatime Island. The intriguingly orchestrated album Pre-​Flight from 1970 is generally traded at four-​figure prices on Discogs. Fortunately, less audiophiles can also enjoy it conveniently on Spotify.

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Room – Pre-​Flight (Part 1, Part 2)

Warhorse

Warhorse had all the ingredients to become really big. Deep Purple co-​founder Nick Simper started the band in 1970 after being kicked out of Purple and also brought Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman on board. Their sound was not dissimilar to that of Deep Purple, but probably also ensured that they did not manage to step out of their shadow.

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Warhorse – Burning

Bolder Damn

It wasn’t just in the UK that proto-​metal spread; the first bands with a heavy, doomy sound also emerged in the USA. The aptly named Bolder Damn from Florida recorded a proto-​doom/​stoner album in just four hours in 1970, which could have inspired even Black Sabbath in terms of heaviness. Unfortunately, the band’s enlistment in the Vietnam War got in the way, after which they sadly disbanded. At least they left us some great songs like the almost 16-​minute-​long Dead Meat”.

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Bolder Damn – Dead Meat

Highway Robbery

Highway Robbery, also from the USA, were not so keen on a slow-​burning sound and long songs, but instead focused more on fast, thunderous hard rock. Unfortunately, the band came to an end just as quickly, as they recorded their only album For Love Or Money” after forming in 1972 and split up again in the same year.

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Highway Robbery – Fifteen

Poobah

Poobah also formed in the USA in 1972, but the band still exists today. Their debut album Let Me In”, which was only released in an edition of 500 copies at the time, sold out after just one day, but unfortunately the band were unable to achieve any real success for a long time. It wasn’t until 2010, when they re-​released a newly mixed version of the album, that they rightly received a little more attention.

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Poobah – Mr. Destroyer

Cool Feet

Founded in Luxembourg in 1968, Cool Feet are now quite well known in their home country for blues/​pop rock sung in Luxembourgish. In the 70s, they really let their hair down on their only album in English, Burning Desire” from 1976, and brought early heavy metal to mainland Europe.

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Cool Feet – Burning Desire

Sorcery

Sorcery are my absolute highlight of this list alongside Bolder Damn. Founded in 1975, the band caused a stir in California with their theatrical shows, which included two magicians. In 1978, already in the middle of the first metal boom, the band was hired for the soundtrack and roles in the Australian mockumentary Stunt Rock”, which sadly only helped them achieve cult status among a small circle of fans. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I did learn to love the band’s debut album that came out of it.

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Sorcery – Wizard’s Council

The Hand Of Doom

Closing the show are The Hand of Doom, who formed in Bad Hersfeld in 1973 but didn’t release their only album Poisonoise” until 1979. The band thrived on the bizarre personality of their singer Andeas Iggi” Rossner, which made their sound stand out from the crowd. The band must have been an experience live, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any recordings from back then.

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The Hand Of Doom – Poisonoise

I hope I was able to introduce you to some forgotten gems here. If you’ve generally got a taste for the music from metal’s childhood, you’re welcome to listen to my playlist Melting Pot – The sounds that spawned metal! If you know of any other little-​known bands from this era, please leave them in the comments!

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