Forgotten series: Armageddon featuring the Yardbirds’ Keith Relf – Armageddon (1975)

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Originally released in 1975 on A&M Records, Armageddon proved to be the late great ex-Yardbirds/Renaissance vocalist Keith Relf’s last stand — and he really went out rockin.’ It must have come as a shock to his legacy fans, as it was a very different direction to anything he had done before. To the uninitiated, Armageddon was an amalgam of progressive rock and hard rock — in the best sense of the words.

The album’s five long songs are pretty much divided into suites. The album opener “Buzzard” explodes from the gates, and it’s a perfect example of this band’s potential back then. Relf’s excellent blues harp playing also makes an appearance on this track. The mellow ballad “Silver Tightrope” is another special song which really sets a mood and it’s a fitting showcase for Relf’s fine vocals.

Ex-Steampacket guitarist Martin Pugh’s fiery lead playing, explosive ex-Captain Beyond/Johnny Winter drummer Bobby Caldwell, and melodic ex-Renaissance bassist Louis Cennamo must also be mentioned for their unrelenting rock solid performances on the whole record. The jack-hammer riff rocker “Paths and Planes and Future Gains,” for instance, wouldn’t sound too out of place on a Black Sabbath album. “Last Stand Before” is kind of a funky mid-tempo Led Zeppelin-like song, if you will. “Basking in the White of the Midnight Sun” rocks like there’s no tomorrow.

Esoteric Recordings offered a 24-bit remastering of this lost classic in 2009, with smart new liner notes detailing the band’s brief history along with full lyrics reprinted in handsome packaging definitely add to the experience. Any Yardbirds fan will want to have this CD in their collection.

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Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Steve Elliott
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