Despite being a relatively small country, Denmark produced many excellent progressive acts during the late 60s/early 70s.
The short-lived Blast Furnace was one of the best of them.
Now one of the most collectable records of the era, Blast Furnace is strong on songs, style and dynamic performances, with hard rock moments interspersed with flute, blistering guitar solos, killer organ work, cello, harmonica, relaxed acoustic moments and laid-back jazzy grooves. There’s a distinct British feel to the album, due mostly to the lead vocals of Scottish-born drummer Tom McKewan, and elements of Traffic, Procol Harum and early Yes can be heard throughout this varied yet tightly cohesive set.
First And Last is the killer track. After starting out with wild fuzz guitars and a distorted Hammond-led opening riff, the bombastic heaviness gives way to a laid-back verse with clean guitars and harmonious backing vocals.
Of the musicians, special mention has to be given to the then 18-year-old guitarist Niels Vangkilde, whose atmospheric lead playing effortlessly brings to life the more melancholic passages in tracks such as This Time Of Year and the epic Toytown.
The familiar lack of anticipated sales marked the end of Blast Furnace in 1972, with only this album to their name. Both McEwan and Vangkilde went on to join Culpepper’s Orchard, arguably Denmark’s finest band of the period.
Blast Furnace, Polydor, Denmark 1971, £450+