The early seventies was a golden age for what at the time was labelled heavy rock and they came no heavier or rockier than this debut originally released on Deram in 1971. Singer Ian Gillan of Deep Purple and who produced this album, labelled the band as ‘rough, raw and doomy’ and comparisons to Purple and Black Sabbath frequently made by the music press back in the day weren’t too far off the mark.
Led by guitarist Bob Cooke and vocal powerhouse Lynden Williams they took their opportunity by the scruff of the neck and captured a vibrant sound that assaults the senses from the off. Young and green they may have been but the opening double whammy here established their credentials as a force to be reckoned with. ‘Frustration’ was ahead of its time. With a whiff of punk and late 70’s Brit-metal it encapsulates the band at their frenetic best, haring out of the speakers like a runaway train. ‘Hooded Eagle’ follows and takes its cue from early Black Sabbath with a tormented double tracked vocal eerily reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne, all overlayed by guitarist Bob Cooke’s finest Tony Iommi styled wigouts!
Blues, progressive and metal all colour the Jerusalem pallete and no more so than on the blood curdling, ghostly folk-rock of ‘Beyond the Grave’. Jangling guitars and swirling cymbals set the scene for Williams to deliver lyrics in a paganesque style, that will have the listener hiding behind the sofa.
Listening to their raw, bludgeoning sound today it’s a wonder that Jerusalem weren’t rediscovered by the NWOBHM crowd in the early 80’s. But no matter, we can appreciate them now with this remastered package. The re-issue is augmented by 5 titles including the single only ‘Kamikaze Moth’released in 1972, plus 4 tracks that reprise some of the material from the debut. Re-recorded in 2009, these later recordings were actually re-arranged and present a more polished version of the band that actually improve the originals and reflect the potential of this much under appreciated quintet.
A minor classic. PLAY LOUD!!!