4.5 out of 5 Stars!
Although the Ian Gillan Band produced two fairly enjoyable albums prior to Scarabus that leaned heavily toward Jazz-Rock, the band’s third album was a more straightforward endeavor, offering Hard Rock tracks with only some AOR and Jazz-Rock touches, and ended up being my favorite of the three studio releases.
On Scarabus, Gillan’s trademarked, bone-chilling, reach-for-the-rafters screams on songs such as “Poor Boy Hero,” “Fool’s Mate,” and the title track are simply fantastic, and the musicians involved—Ray Fenwick (guitar), John Gustafson (bass), Mark Nauseef (drums), and Colin Towns (one of my favorite keyboardists of all time)—play their damned hearts out.
From “Twin Exhausted” to “Mercury High” to “Mad Elaine” to “Slags to Bitches,” the album offers up one upbeat track after another, with Gillan’s instantly identifiable vocals and the band’s outstanding tightness and talent making me wish this horribly underrated line-up had hung together longer to create another few albums of such high caliber.
Ian Gillan—a true Vocal God!!!
(And RIP to the gifted Johnny Gustafson.)