7 / 10
I was a little of unsure of what record to begin this exercise with, but the answer presented itself when I received this little gem on a LP in the mail yesterday. I’ve never been so giddy receiving a package–this was one of my top wants.
I first learned about the mysterious Blues Creation years ago while diving head first into hard rock obscurities, and the album’s cryptic title, Demon & Eleven Children, along with the sinister cover art hooked me immediately. What was the story behind these mysterious Japanese rockers with the scary album cover? I immediately downloaded the album, and have had to rely on those mp3’s until last night. On to the music.
Demon & Eleven Children begins in a most spectacular fashion that only adds to the legend with the track Atomic Bombs Away. The song opens with a doomsday atomic bomb blast that completely decimates anything and everything. Nothing could survive the fall-out of such a catastrophe, right? Wrong! We immediately hear a noodling blues lick break through the chaos, then a couple of bass notes, before the guitar changes to an incredibly simple, yet totally heavy riff that would make Deep Purple jealous. The rhythm section joins in, and we are treated to a groove every bit as heavy as the previous years’ War Pigs by Black Sabbath. What a way to kick things off! As the vocals kick in, we get out first dose of what will be an album full of English sang/slurred almost phonetically.
The next track, Mississippi Mountain Blues, amuses me infinitely. It sounds likes a traditional blues arrangement, so I assumed it must be a cover. No! It’s an original! A Japanese band with an original song called Mississippi Mountain Blues? Are there even any mountains in Mississippi? Brilliant. Did I mention that song is great?
For the rest of this side of the record, Blues Creation lays down some very good Sabbath and Deep Purple sounding riffs that morph into some slow, smokey blues with acoustic guitar.
The flip side begins with another slow, bluesy number One Summers Day. I’ve always been curious if this song features the same vocalist, as the lyrics are more clearly sung and are down-right pretty. The pace picks up again with some for the rest of the record, and culminates in the blistering title track. This track was surely Blues Creation’s response to Paranoid, and it absolutely whips ass.
In the end, I give this record a 7/10. Bolstered by the incredible bookending tracks and it’s relevance in rock history, yet hampered enough by the slower songs to keep it from being a holy grail.
Definitely check this record out if you’re into very early Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, or are interested in Post-WWII Japan’s take on the sound. I’ve also always been curious about this band’s place in Japan. Were they big or relative obscurities? I’ve also never heard their first LP of covers, or the Creation records. Worth checking out, or should I pass?
A CD reissue of Demon & Eleven Children is available from the good folks over at Rockadrome, who also have up a small sound clip of Atomic Bombs Away. The vinyl is long out of print, though it occasionally pops up on ebay every now and then.
For more info on the band, check out their Wikipedia entry. I’m sure the band will also be covered in detail in Julian Cope’s just released guide to the history of Japanese rock called japrocksampler. I’ve only found the book available from amazon.co.uk. It cost me roughly $30 total for the book and shipping to the US, and I’m still waiting to receive it.
Lemme know what you think of the record, or maybe other bands you think people should check put based on this record. Communication!