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Grunting, sweating, greasy downer rock from the dawn of the 70s? Step right this way

Another deep-dive into the proto-metal past via a 14th creditable collection in the Brown Acid series

Brown Acid: The Fourteenth Trip cover art
(Image: © Riding Easy)

If the previous 13 volumes of this seminal proto-metal compilation series have taught us anything, it’s that no one was heavier than Black Sabbath before Black Sabbath. It’s a pipe dream to think there’s an undiscovered bonehead boogie combo somewhere who accidentally out-heavied Iommi and co. in the spring of ’68. 

But once we get that fruitless mythology out of the way we’re free to freak freely in the poppy fields of yore, and this latest edition of Brown Acid is satisfyingly stuffed with grunting, sweating, greasy downer rock from the dawn of the 70s. 

Take, for example, the head-spinning I’ve Been You by Detroit duo Mijal And White, which is essentially chirpy bubble-glam run through an industrial meat grinder and sprinkled liberally and artlessly with squeaks and squawks from an out-of-control oscillator. 

There’s the slinky Play It Cool by Transfer, a sleazy little garage rocker from the band’s sole ’74 single. The cowbell-banging You’re Not the Only Girl (I’m Out To Get) by Appletree, a savage arena-sludge ripper that tries gamely to out-funk Grand Funk. Liquid Blues’ relentless Henry Can’t Drive provides the requisite shameless Hendrix worship. 

But the comp’s showstopper is clearly the eight-minute grand finale Raven Mad Jam by long-gone Columbus fuzz-pilgrims Raven (obviously not that one or the other one), who take us on a wild ride that sluices through nasty proto-punk riffola, smashes headlong into a two-minute mid-song drum solo (!), and ends in panicky, paranoid loner-folk madness, with our increasingly fractured frontman bellowing ‘Let’s go make some love!’ The whole thing just feels good, man.

As always, Brown Acid’s nimble sleeve notes provide a crucial peek into the (usually) short and turbulent lives of these went-nowhere rockers and provide a tantalising glimpse into what might have been. 

Every one of these tracks represents the career highs of long-lost garage bands attempting to take over the world through sheer volume. You can’t help but feel like you’re unearthing some undiscovered gem from some other, stranger past. It’s like archaeology for heavy-metal dirtbags. 

If you have any interest in the dusty, forgotten corners of heavy rock’n’roll, you’ll dig the latest entry in this seemingly bottomless series. Keep ’em coming.

Came from the sky like a 747. Classic Rock’s least-reputable byline-grabber since 2003. Several decades deep into the music industry. Got fired from an early incarnation of Anal C**t after one show. 30 years later, got fired from the New York Times after one week. Likes rock and hates everything else. Still believes in Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction, against all better judgment.