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Various Artists: Wayfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles

Proto-metal gems from the outer reaches of rock lore

This fascinating compilation brings together a raft of obscurities from the American hard rock underground of the late 60s and early 70s. The release of this collection of arcane artefacts could scarcely be more timely.

With acts such as Wizard, Gorgon Medusa and Hellstorm belting out freaky, doom-laden jams such as Sealed In A Grave, Sorcerer and Black Wizard, it fits perfectly with the current retro/occult rock fad, with a few prog and stoner moves chucked in for good measure.

Although some of the tunes are better than others, the overall quality is high, and the swagger of flare-wearing space cadets such as Air, Wrath, Triton Warrior and Stone Axe prompts the question as to why none of these bands ever got anywhere. Cooler than Huggy Bear and Shaft combined, this lavishly packaged oddity is a time-travelling treat.