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Sir Lord Baltimore's Complete Recordings: revelatory, and endlessly entertaining

Gloriously untamed proto-metal unearthed on Sir Lord Baltimore's The Complete Recordings: 1970-2006

Sir Lord Baltimore's The Complete Recordings: 1970-2006
(Image: © Cherry Red)

Heavy metal was built on audacious sonic ejaculations that pushed hard rock to wild extremes. While the crazed thunder of Blue Cheer is well-documented, Brooklyn trio Sir Lord Baltimore flew totally below the radar, only noticed later by Julian Cope, who frothed over their “histrionic proto-Kiss, proto-David Lee Roth vocal acrobatics and enough Stooged-out proto metal to last a lifetime”. 

Cope’s spot-on ravings provide notes for this box set gathering 1970’s Kingdom Come, 1971’s self-titled follow-up and 2006’s reunion III Raw. Produced by Eddie Kramer at Electric Lady, Kingdom Come sounds about to burst out of its skin as singer-drummer John Garner lays spectacularly frenetic vocal templates for future cock-rocking caterwaulers, while Louis Dambra multi-tracks car-crash fusillades of blistering guitar on onslaughts such as Master Heartache, Helium Head and Hell Hound, predicting Motorhead on Hard Rain Fallin’ and thrash by Ain’t Hung On You’s explosion-ina-snake-nest finale.

Adding second guitarist Joey Dambra, Sir Lord Baltimore soften the relentless attack and widen the sound, adding flute and presaging prog on 10-minute opener Man From Manhattan, before Where Are We Going pursues Mott-like raunch, and hilariously macho Woman Tamer mints big-riff slowies. Despite seat belts and subtleties, Garner’s cartoon-metal yelps frequently sound like someone has placed a sharp object on his drum stool. 

Then they were gone. Until Garner and Bamra reconvened for 2006’s still-rambunctious III Raw, reflecting the former’s Christian conversion on Rising Son and Mission to complete this often revelatory, endlessly entertaining set in their inimitable style.