Released in January 1968, "Heavy" was Iron Butterfly's debut album, featuring the original line-up of Doug Ingle (voc/keys), Darryl DeLoach (voc), Danny Weis (gtr), Jerry Penrod (bass), and Ron Bushy (drums). As the title implied, Iron Butterfly set their stall out to play psychedelic rock with a more heavy edge thanks to Weis' occasional use of feedback and fuzzed-out guitar drones alongside Ingle's doom-laden, almost gothic organ. The root of the classic Iron Butterfly sound of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"-fame began to take shape here, as exemplified on psych/rockers such as "Possession", "Unconscious Power", "You Can't Win", and best of all, "Iron Butterfly Theme", a heavy, droned-out, instrumental with lashings of feedback which, Blue Cheer aside, was about as heavy as you could get in 1968. The album captured Butterfly in their formative stages and is, stylistically, something of a mixed bag, with some tracks veering towards psychedelic proto-heaviness, while others display pop and r&b influences on an album which saw Iron Butterfly hone their style within the classic pop format - 10 tracks in 30 minutes - with no excess flab (or jamming), just a collection of short, concise songs that mapped out the blueprint for Butterfly's glory days. It's important to listen to this album with a sense of historical context as anybody looking for some sort of proto-Sabbath, Zeppelin or Purple might be disappointed when they hear the psychedelic confections on offer here, but undoubtedly, Butterfly were a much heavier proposition than, say, Jefferson Airplane or the Grateful Dead (a much more accurate frame of reference). The album was very much 'of its time'. "Heavy" would go on to reach #78 on Billboard and, following an extensive line-up reshuffle, the "...Da-Vida" version of Butterfly would go on to become one of the leading attractions of the era stateside. But this is where it all began. Try it.
The Butterfly's debut album and it does have some really good songs on it like Unconcious Power and Posession, though mingled with some filler like the cover of Lee Dorsey's hit Get Out My Life Woman and the rather strange Gentle As It May Seem, though the utterly bonkers Stamped Ideas is one of the highlights as is the superb Fields Of Sun, mingling hard guitar with a big rythym section backing. Not quite pyschadelia but the Butterfly were a big loud heavy band for their time. The production does make this album sound a little dated though.
"Heavy" was the first album released by Iron Butterfly, although the group was not really the same one that would put out the longest one-hit wonder track of all time, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." The common denominators were bandleader, organist, and vocalist Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Busy, but the other three members of the group on this 1968 album were about to be replaced. If you really feel the need to have another Iron Butterfly album besides the obvious one, go for the follow-up "Ball" instead of this one. The interest in this one ends up being historical rather than musical because here we have the birth of heavy metal where heavy guitar riffs create an attacking wall of sound and the effect is very much of a garage band with really powerful amps and super big speakers. The sound is the thing here and not the songs, mainly because they really end up sounding all alike. "Possession" and "Unconscious Power," if not the best of the bunch, are at least representative of the sound. As for me, I am content to play one Iron Butterfly song from one album because that is the one with the monster riff of all heavy metal riffs. .
DONT LISTEN TO THOSE THAT DRONE ON ABOUT "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." . PRETENTIOUS,,OVERBLOWN TITLE TRACK,,WELL THATS NOT FOR ME IM AFRAID..HEAVY ON THE OTHER HAND IS FANTASTIC,,SHORT TYPICAL 60'S SOUNDING POP/ROCK SONGS.GREAT ALBUM,,BUY IT NOW,,YOU WONT BE DISAPPOINTED...