You may very well not have heard of this band let alone seen or heard their 1971 album Satori. I feel obliged to put that situation to right because hand on heart this is one of those stellar overlooked gems that ought to be in every rock music collection.

The band formed in Japan in 1968 and are part of the Proto Metal genre that included Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Cream etc. These bands used a combination of blues-rock with psychedelic rock which would later evolve into heavy metal.

Whilst the names of bands like Cream, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Steppenwolf are mostly well known to us there are other lesser known and overlooked groups that demand an appraisal. Without a doubt the Flower Travellin’ Band and especially their first original album Satori demand attention.

Recorded over one day and mixed in another this album is now being re discovered and regarded as an influential album by those fortunate enough to have heard it. 

The album consists of 5 tracks all called Satori and numbered parts 1-5. The album cover, with its meditative Buddah like figure and cartoon characters, gives some clue to the sonic adventure that the listener is about to embark upon. The five sections evolve and change and create an alternative and mind expanding universe of sound. If this sounds pompous and grandiose it is simply because that is what it is.

Metal guitar chords, Eastern rhythms, African strings, tom toms and earth rattling bass combine in a memerising melange of musical madness. This Japanese band have taken a myriad of influences and combined them into an LSD tinged world that seems familiar and foreign all at the same time.

Listening on headphones one is made to reappraise ones understanding of early rock music. This truly does stand out as a truly great rock album and stands shoulder to shoulder with all the classic albums of the late 60s and early 70s. This comes highly recommended.

Islwyn Paul Mainwaring

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