Who are some of the most innovative hard rock, blues-based rock bands?
November 30, 2009 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Help me turn my boyfriend on to some new (to him) music in the same vein of what he likes.

My boyfriend (age 27) has recently gone on a Deep Purple/Iron Maiden kick. He is a guitarist, and therefore appreciates a lot of the nuances of this kind of music -- Ritchie Blackmore's classic-rooted playing, the vocal stylings of Ian Gillan (and the others in the several DP lineups), and the lyrics. As for Maiden, he respects Bruce Dickinson's top-notch lyric writing. He loves the raunchy, blues-based rock sound of both bands. I'm looking to dazzle him on Christmas with CDs by other bands in the same vein that he hasn't heard much of. I'm thinking Blue Oyster Cult and Judas Priest might be good choices but as an indie-lovin', folk-based jangle pop chick I need suggestions from people who know a lot about intelligent, musically sophisticated balls-to-the-wall heavy rock. He's already a huge fan of Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Sweet,Rory Gallagher and the Who. Any suggestions for maybe more obscure, but just-as-great, hard rock 70s British bands? Or new bands with the same kind of sound? The more unique, the more expert the musicianship, the better!
posted by xenophile to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Saxon are fairly obscure, compared to Iron Maiden at least.

Check out this article on NWOBHM for inspiration.
posted by fire&wings at 10:48 AM on November 30, 2009

Is AC/DC too obvious? Rather than "back in Black," you could go back to the really great old Bon Scott stuff- "Dirty Deeds" or even "High Voltage." Cold Chisel is another heavy Australian group from that era.

Judas Priest is a great choice. BOC I don't know, they were actually kind of a comedy band a la Spinal Tap (not that their music wasn't decent, but it was more shtick than serious).

On the obscure end of things, there's the album "Volcanic Rock" by a band called Buffalo. It's heavy, man. It also has a truly silly cover image.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:51 AM on November 30, 2009

Oh, and this might be a dumb question, but is he a fan of Black Sabbath already? Because they (along with Zeppelin) are the undisputed kings of this genre.

I was just thinking when you said "new bands with the same kind of sound," someone would pop in and mention Wolfmother, but they are so massively derivative of Sabbath I would suggest just going to the source.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:55 AM on November 30, 2009

Older stuff:

Rainbow's Rising and Long Live Rock and Roll
The 70s era Scorpions stuff is essential (yes, they were a killer 70s heavy rock band before writing Rock You Like a Hurricane), In Trance and Virgin Killer and Taken by Force especailly.
Motorhead's Overkill
Everything by Judas Priest from Sad Wings of Destiny to British Steel
Everything by Motorhead from S/T through Orgasmatron
Def Leppard's On Through the Night (seriously)
The first Yngwie Malmsteen solo album, Rising Force (seriously)


Newer stuff:

Pride Tiger
High on Fire
The Brought Low
Drunk Horse
Fu Manchu
posted by The Straightener at 11:09 AM on November 30, 2009

I have to imagine he's already into Black Sabbath, but if not, then, yeah. That.

No doubt there's some shtick going on with BOC, but it's awesome shtick. Tyranny and Mutation, Secret Treaties, and Agents of Fortune would all be solid picks.

Also, UFO. Probably start with Phenomenon. Uriah Heep's Demons and Wizards. Budgie's Never Turn Your Back On A Friend.

As for Judas Priest, Sad Wings of Destiny has that vintage proto-metal sound a la Deep Purple.

On preview, The Straightener has lots of great stuff there.
posted by evisceratordeath at 11:13 AM on November 30, 2009

While Iron Maiden-era Bruce Dickinson is fantastic, do not make the mistake of buying him Bruce Dickinson solo stuff. It is not, how do you say, good. Motorhead is a good suggestion, as is Judas Priest. For newer stuff, I'd suggest Mastodon.
posted by electroboy at 11:18 AM on November 30, 2009

Maybe he'd like a little Humble Pie? (Humble Pie's lead singer, Steve Marriott, was allegedly Jimmy's Page's first choice as vocalist for Led Zeppelin... but since Marriott hadn't yet left the Small Faces, Page had to go with another fellow by the name of Robert Plant.) Their album As Safe as Yesterday Is was apparently the first record Rolling Stone described as "heavy metal." I'd also suggest Smokin' or Rockin' the Fillmore.
posted by scody at 11:18 AM on November 30, 2009

Intelligent, musically sophisticated balls-to-the-wall heavy rock for someone who likes Thin Lizzy, Queen, etc...:

(perhaps too obvious?) Jethro Tull
Curved Air
Frank Zappa (ignore video)
(early) Roxy Music
Janis Joplin

More modern and indie...but still guitar heavy, complex rock:
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Guided By Voices

Not sure I'd ever call AC/DC "musically sophisticated," though I love 'em.
posted by applemeat at 11:32 AM on November 30, 2009

Mott the Hoople were a great under-rated '70s band.
posted by timeistight at 11:34 AM on November 30, 2009

posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:41 AM on November 30, 2009

The White Stripes.
posted by papayaninja at 11:43 AM on November 30, 2009

Chiming back in: based on the other bands he likes, I assume he enjoys Cream already. If so, maybe he'd like the DVD of their reunion at the Royal Albert Hall if he doesn't already have it.
posted by scody at 12:04 PM on November 30, 2009

The new supergroup Them Crooked Vultures would be of interest, for sure - it's Dave Grohl,Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones of Zeppelin. Rocks.
posted by jbickers at 12:08 PM on November 30, 2009

Black Tide is one of my guilty hard-rock pleasures.
posted by gnutron at 12:19 PM on November 30, 2009

Everything by Cream, because most of the already mentioned bands were heavily influenced by what they did. Disraeli Gears or Wheels of Fire would be the best choices

Van Halen, particularly the first album, but basically Eddie Van Halen is about as innovative as guitarists come.

If he's not already into Jimi Hendrix, he needs to be schooled. Either Are You Experienced or Band of Gypsys would be a good introduction.
posted by wabbittwax at 12:22 PM on November 30, 2009

I'm just going to add my approval to Queens of the Stone Age (and Them Crooked Vultures), Wolfmother and Hendrix.
posted by tumples at 12:29 PM on November 30, 2009

Less hard rock (but still rock, without a doubt): Nazareth and Foghat are both good. Hair of the Dog is a good starting point for Nazareth; Fool for the City for Foghat.
posted by TedW at 12:43 PM on November 30, 2009

Since the mighty Mastodon has already been mentioned, I'll throw my hat in the for The Sword. Really super groovy, contemporary metal. None of the "Cookie Monster" vocals either, just really good stuff. Here's their Myspace to get some musical samples.
posted by friendlyjuan at 12:46 PM on November 30, 2009

Robin Trower
posted by rocket88 at 1:11 PM on November 30, 2009

Not metal, but a lot of ZZ Top's non-radio stuff is pretty good blues rock. Excellent guitar work. I was a little skeptical when someone bought me their box set, but it's pretty quality stuff.
posted by electroboy at 1:11 PM on November 30, 2009

The Mars Volta
DragonForce (okay, not really, but if he hasn't seen them he'll at the very least get a chuckle out of it)
posted by phrontist at 1:23 PM on November 30, 2009

posted by phrontist at 1:25 PM on November 30, 2009

Radio Moscow.

Formed in 2003. Excellent musicianship. Firmly planted in the 60s and 70s.
posted by past at 1:27 PM on November 30, 2009

The Tea Party. Possibly also Early Man.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:01 PM on November 30, 2009

I highly suggest Blue Cheer's - Vincebus Eruptum 1968, early hard rock, before Sabbath and all that, very blues influenced.
posted by mattsweaters at 2:15 PM on November 30, 2009

Dream Theater!
posted by twblalock at 2:29 PM on November 30, 2009

It's a little earlier but this was hugely influential on bands when it was rereleased not all that long ago.. I wonder if he might be into these box sets of obscure rock bands, the second one in particular has a lot of UK bands - Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 and Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From The British Empire and Beyond, 1964-1969
posted by citron at 3:09 PM on November 30, 2009

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