Buffalo – Dead Forever (1972)

Buffalo_DeadForever4 out of 5 Stars!

Although perhaps not as memorable as the band’s second album Volcanic Rock (reviewed previously on this blog), Buffalo’s debut still remains a strong introduction to this gang of hard-hitting Australian blues rockers.

On Dead Forever, the guitar work is wonderfully heavy yet melodic, reminding me of a cross between early Wishbone Ash, Cream, Flower Travellin’ Band, and Mountain (while one of the two vocalists sounds almost like Kenny Stewart from Dirty Tricks).

Of the eight tracks on this album, the band includes two covers, the first being “Pay My Dues” by Blues Image (from that band’s Open album), and the other being a terrific Heavy Psych version of “I’m A Mover” by Free (originally included on its Tons of Sobs debut), which Buffalo rearranged, then toyed with various rhythms and extended the running time past the ten-minute mark, making the track seem like a completely different tune. Meanwhile, John Baxter’s wild guitar rules the roost, his solos and riffs on tunes such as “Bean Stew,” “Leader,” “Forest Rain,” “Ballad of Irving Frank,” and the boogieing title track make for an enjoyable affair. Again, Dead Forever isn’t nearly as hard-hitting as the next album in the band’s catalogue, but the memorable, well-performed riffs and driving rhythms are fairly impressive and offer plenty of hints of what will come next.

Were this album released in today’s market, it would certainly be labeled as “Stoner Rock,” and the description would be quite appropriate.

A shame the cover art is ugly as hell, though—indeed, all five of Buffalo’s covers were rather putrid—but don’t let that stop you from investigating this talented group, especially its first three albums.

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Buffalo – Volcanic Rock (1973)

Buffalo_VolcanicRock4 out of 5 Stars!

From Australia, Buffalo burst out of the gate with a trio of wickedly aggressive, Heavy Psych albums back in the early ’70s that, sadly, never got much notice outside the band’s native continent. Indeed, I didn’t discover this group until several decades later, and forever cursed the music media for not covering this group more extensively while it was in existence.

Buffalo, and in particular, Volcanic Rock (the band’s second album), will likely appeal to fans of Black Sabbath, Mountain, Orang-utan, Flower Travellin’ Band, May Blitz, and Captain Beyond, and features a powerful, gritty singer named Dave Tice, along with some of the heaviest-sounding instrumentation (for the time period), slamming rhythms and grooves thanks to bassist Peter Wells and drummer Jimmy Economou, and a guitarist named John Baxter, who offered up brutal riffs and masterful solos.

The raw and fiery energy of tracks such as “Freedom,” “The Prophet,” “Sunrise (Come My Way),” and the connected tracks “Pound of Flesh/Shylock” seem almost a musical template for the genre of Stoner Rock or Blues Rock “retro” acts such as Gov’t Mule, and even Grunge bands, especially Soundgarden.

Unfortunately, once John Baxter left the group after the next album, Buffalo never delivered material that matched the caliber of Volcanic Rock, a must-have for all guitar lovers.

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