4 out of 5 Stars!
Flower Travellin’ Band, a strange name for a strange quartet from Japan, released a handful of albums in the early ’70s (then reappeared again with a new album in 2008). Satori, the band’s second platter, is a trippy, “doomy,” and bizarre collection of five tracks (entitled “Satori, Parts 1-5”), made up of bluesy Hard Rock bordering on almost Sabbath-like Heavy Metal, with Heavy Psych and Prog-Rock influences throughout. Moreover, had Flower Travellin’ Band lived up to its name and relocated to Germany during this period in history, the band’s music could have easily fit into the more experimental Krautrock genre since it shares numerous traits with several Teutonic bands of the period, such as Guru Guru and Scorpions (Lonesome Crow-era).
Anyway, on Satori, Hideki Ishima’s guitar work is generally quite stunning, with some of his alluring riffs being tinged with Asian influences, and the rhythm section is usually thundering and throbbing, with Jhun Kowzuki adding fascinating bass runs and Joji Wada tossing in energetic drum fills, while Akira “Joe” Yamanaka’s wide-ranging vocals are often as weird as a LSD freak-out and do take some getting used to, yet somehow, they work.
The eleven-minute “Satori, Part 4” is probably the stand-out track here, with the wicked guitar riff and wailing harmonica solo in the middle section almost mesmerizing.
Nevertheless, no other group from the era had quite the same sound as Flower Travellin’ Band, so the quartet remains unique in my eyes (and to my ears), and the album Satori is definitely worthy of investigation, especially for fans of early six-string craziness and something a bit different in the world of Hard Rock, Psychedelic Rock, and early Heavy Metal.