[Review] Jerusalem – Jerusalem (Special Edition 2022)

The legendary UK band Jerusalem released its eponymous album in 1971, produced by Deep Purple‘s singer and frontman Ian Gillan. On October 28, 2022, thanks to the excellent work of Talking Elephant Records, it was reissued with the addition of Bonus Tracks, giving new visibility to this Rock milestone. The album is to be considered seminal for the Proto-Metal style proposed, pioneering in the Heavy scene and a source of inspiration for future bands, as well as highly sought after by fans and collectors. The album opens with “Frustration,” a track that immediately shows the band’s attitude in proposing a new style of heavy rock for the time. An accelerated and energetic rhythm section, excellent guitar work and a dynamic and expressive vocal. The vocal parts alternate with instrumental sections with the guitar playing lead guitar inserts and beautifully crafted riffs. Tempo changes, accelerated drumming and long instrumental sections enhance the band’s ideas and technique. The band’s innovative style also characterises the following “Hooded Eagle” where the aggressive vocals are set in a Hard Rock context enriched by tempo changes. The two guitars duet to perfection between distortions and riffs that have made Rock music history. In the middle part, a long instrumental section is developed with intense and refined solos that are also prolonged in the second part, alternating with the energetic vocal parts. “I See The Light” opens with a scratchy vocal, excellent Blues-tinged guitar work and a killer bassline. The guitar solos are exceptional and the track shows how the band is adept at delivering heavy rock with forays into prog and early references to what would become metal in later years. Darker atmospheres and an imprinting between Proto-Metal and Progressive passages characterise “Murder’s Lament.” The vocals are warm and expressive, the tempo changes are the extra quid of the song, developed with some Psychedelic passages. The instrumental textures are full of ideas between well-executed riffs and solo inserts, a track that shows the versatility of the band, skilled in mixing different genres thanks to their personal touch. Granitic and powerful “When The Wolf Sits” opens with excellent guitar work that duets with the vocal melodies. The vocals add an aggressive touch to the sound, where distorted guitars give power, counterbalancing the vocal refrains. An excellent track that moves the sound into more heavy territory almost unexplored for the time, so very original. Continaundo in the style of its predecessor “Midnight Steamer,” it combines harsh stretches with Blues-tinged guitar work. Energetic and engaging, with another melodic duet between vocals and guitars, well-constructed riffs and sharp solos. Long instrumental textures where the band brings out all their technique and innovative ideas. “Primitive Man” features a gritty, slower-moving rhythm section than its predecessors. The guitar riffs are heavy and darker in character, with a very aggressive vocal that alternates with the very sophisticated solo parts. In the middle section, the sound is steeped in Prog references, with well-constructed tempo changes alternating between more elaborate and heavier parts. A real concentrate of technique, energy, unique in its genre. the album’s longest track “Beyond The Grave” shows the psychedelic facet of the band’s sound. The intensity increases as the minutes go by, taking the sound into heavy psych territory, full of lysergic passages and instrumental twists of the highest order. A continuous musical crescendo that perfectly develops the song’s central theme. The original version of the record ended with “She Came Like A Bat From Hell,” which perfectly sums up the band’s innovative style of heavy rock. A tight track, with fine guitar work both in the solo parts and in the riffs, the vocals are aggressive and show one of the band’s trademarks. The bass lines are killer and give body to the song, forming with the drumming a solid and energetic rhythm section. The band’s only released single “Kamakazi Moth” was added to this new tracklist. An addictive and energetic track with an aggressive vocal, while the sound shows how the band was ahead of its time. This explosive blend of heavy rock was picked up in later years by bands of the late 70s, but let’s not forget this band was playing them in 1971, an absolute credit to them. Bonus tracks add the organ to the band’s already exquisite sound, proposing a heavy prog style without losing the essence of the originals. The two members of the original line-up are joined by top musicians, managing to bring those magical atmospheres back to the present day, adding new nuances thanks to the keyboards. An absolute masterpiece of rock music, a seminal record that was a source of inspiration for the heavy bands of the following years. The band’s sound is highly original, centred on excellent guitar work, aggressive vocals and accelerated, granitic and addictive rhythm sections. A must-listen for all lovers of heavy sounds, in my humble opinion records like this should be played at school to teach kids what rock music is.

Tracklist

01. Frustration (05.18)
02. Hooded Eagle (04.19)
03. I See The Light (03.54)
04. Murder’s Lament (03.40)
05. When The Wolf Sits (04.50)
06. Midnight Steamer (04.41)
07. Primitive Man (05.55)
08. Beyond The Grave (06.08)
09. She Came Like A Bat From Hell (05.35)
10. Kamakazi Moth (Single Version) (02.45)
11. Hooded Eagle  (2009 version) (05.15)
12. Midnight Steamer  (2009 version) (05.36)
13. Kamikaze Moth  (2009 version) (03.25)
14. Where The Wolf Sits  (2009 version) (05.41)

Lineup

Lynden Williams / Vocals
Bob Cooke / Guitar
Bill Hinde / Guitar
Paul Dean / Bass
Ray Sparrow / Drums

Jerusalem |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Spotify|

Talking Elephant Records |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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