And it is with great sadness we bid fond and tearful farewell to one of the foremost sonic alumni, someone who went to the edge of rock and roll space, looked over the side and told us all what he saw in ballads of stunning electric fury of such prescient power and essential truth that even today they’re considered the gateway band to a whole lifestyle they helped create. Deep Purple, while only with one perfect album (In Rock y’all, don’t even try and argue) have done more than most for the advancement of the rock and roll revolution and at the nexus of them for years has been Jon Lord with his keyboards that almost singlehandedly held up Child In Time. You did so much for us Jon, your essential vibe will be sorely missed, but you leave us with a blueprint, dear Lord, and we can sit happy knowing you were able to nail the beauty of that image before you left. You did so much for us; now, go take it up with the gods.
It would seem appropriate while the angst of this passing still hangs serene around us to bring to the fore a new release influenced by those now classic Deep Purple tapes, and while I can’t say the Balam debut is influenced, it’s true that to review rock and roll at all is to talk about Deep Purple’s legacy, aside from that there isn’t too much direct lineage, so I won’t pretend there is. Balam certainly don’t cite Deep Purple, they prefer to think of themselves as the difficult step-child from the Sleep-Om consecutive marriages. The artwork is there for a tasteful Om-esque thinking-man’s-metal, and the telegraph-wire bass opening would sure up that assessment; but this self-titled demo contains more of the thudding Blacker Sabbath riffs of Sleep, more anger, more Iommi worship even than the Holy Mountain dudes, fo’ sure because this thing plays like a fully psyched-out Sabbath tape, something from the early days though because the guitar tone is just punishing. It’s psychedelic too, bitta Blue Cheer distorted soloing goes on in this beast. You haven’t come to this party for the soloing have y’? Nope, you’re here for the monolithic riffs that could stand in for Kubrick’s black slabs, well astral voyager you’ll sure get your fill and then some. The riffs are mountainous, singular and with a drive and verve and purpose that is as thuddingly heavy as they are decibel-wise. This isn’t like the Boss, capped at 76 decibels, no baby, even the opening telegraph bass-strum is louder than that, and it just tees off the riff which crashes in like a battleship through your front room. The riffs waft out of your stereo and sit heavy as reefer clouds in the air, for what seems like fucking hours too, but then this EP is damn long. Only half an hour total though so aside from being a thoroughly modern throwback to the beautiful Sabbathian times I don’t have too much to say about it. Bruce Springsteen is a fuck, as is Leith Penny, and none of them should overshadow the sad loss of Jon Lord from these celestial planes. Go and download Balam, and give them yer dosh. If you’re unsure, download for free, listen, then give them some cash.
Written under dumbness by Steven.