Apparently it’s not possible to describe Blue Cheer’s biggest album without using hyperbolic words such as “bludgeoning” and “sledgehammer”. Google any review of Vincebus (pronounced “win-kay-bus”) Eruptum. It’s like grindcore never happened – which, for any reviewer over 50, perhaps it never did.
Let’s be clear what this album is: a collection of bombastic 60s rock, propelled by distorted power-drumming (think Carmine Appice after a few light ales) and a moderately heavy guitar tone, most prominently on Blue Cheer’s briefly amusing cover of Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues. Heavy metal it is not, unless your definition includes Jimi Hendrix, Norman Greenbaum and Deep Purple Mk I.
That gripe aside, Vincebus… still provides a thrill: garages were invented to house this kind of sludgedriven music. Perhaps the years could have been kinder to less prominent songs such as Doctor Please and Out Of Focus, but the concept of pissed-off teenagers overdriving their amps in the name of boredom resonates as strongly as it ever did. The result is an album that, like certain forms of jazz, is attractive in concept but less so in practice. Was it the first ever heavy metal album? you may still be asking. Possibly, along with a dozen other contenders. Save this argument for the pub.