Released: 2006, Relapse Records
I’m betting most readers have no clue who the hell Warpig is. I sure as hell didn’t! Turns out that Warpig was a pioneer of early hard rock and almost-heavy metal, blasting out of Toronto, Canada in 1970; roughly the same time as a few other British acts (you name ‘em) were forging the molten music we know and love today. Sadly, WARPIG was largely overlooked in its time (bad label, bad promotion, outside projects etc.) and the band folded without a trace. Now, thanks to Relapse Records (huh?) and this re-release we all get a second chance to hear this lost gem.
And what does one hear upon giving WARPIG a spin? Nothing heavy by today’s usage of the term, that’s for sure. Hell, this even falls short of its contemporaries, as both BLACK SABBATH and IN ROCK are considerably heavier than this. What this amounts to then, is moderately powerful psychedelic rock, with overtones of heaviness. Rick Donmoyer’s and Dana Snitch’s guitars are definitely the focal point, but Snitch’s Iron Butterfly-esque keyboards play a large part throughout many of these extended jams. Shit, “Tough Nuts” sounds as if it would fit right in on IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA or METAMORPHOSIS. So really, WARPIG is light-years from where rock was headed, coming off more as a still-born freak child as opposed to its strong brothers.
However, don’t take it that this is a bad album – far from it! There are some truly excellent songs here, the aforementioned “Tough Nuts” being one of them. As far as rockers go, “Rock Star” is both heavy and catchy, “Sun Flight” is by far the most intriguing rocker on the album, whilst opener “Flaggit” gallops along with both lead guitar AND keyboard. Rick Donmoyer’s vocals are silky smooth and emotive, a perfect match to the oddly meandering rock he accompanies.
All in all, Relapse Records has done us all a solid by unearthing this rarity of the past. Well worth a look, and intriguing if not essential, Warpig deserve our remembrance.