Saturday, 11 February 2012

Flax - Monster Tapes (1980)

Flax was a Norwegian hard rock band, some would even say heavy metal band who released three albums from approx 1978 to 1982 (??). Monster Tapes is their second album. It was re-released as a MP3 album by EMI in 2011 as a part of them re-releasing old archive albums (and available through Amazon). Before this re-release, the album had been unavailable since the early 1980s. I bought it back then on LP and it never made into a CD (but it was released on cassette too).

I have always claimed that Monster Tapes is the first ever heavy metal album from Norway. After giving the LP some spins today, I am not so sure I am right. The heavy accented vocals involuntary draws the comparissons to krautrock. The flutes reminds me about both Jethro Tull and Prudence. There are also a lot of progressive rock here too aka Yes. A couple of blues like songs is also included on this album. The hardest songs are pretty much heavy metal though. Does that make Monster Tapes into a heavy metal album ? I don't think so. It is always OK to change my mind and I have just done that. This album is at best a hard rock album.

The whole album also sounds charming, amateurish to me. The vocalist Hermod Falch pretty laughable attempts on English is the main reason for that. But the sound is also a bit strange. Where did they record this album and how is it that EMI of all labels released it ? The album sounds like a box of cutlery falling down on the floor. One heck of a racket in other words.

The songs are good though and shows some promise. The sound however is pretty bad. This is a very strange album though. I have lived with it since 1984 and is still trying to make sense of it. I award it a three pointer while I continue to scratch some more holes in my scalp.

3 points

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