Why is the paint suddenly peeling off the walls? Oh great, nuclear armageddon. Hangovers and bills and now this. No, hold on. Never mind. It’s just the heavy psychedelic Japanese doom rock blast at the beginning of the Blues Creation’s second CD Demon And Eleven Children (1971). Enter Kazuo Takeda: he sings with a Japanese accent but it doesn’t matter because the music weighs a ton. It’s a huge sound coming from a band that was supposedly still in high school when the album was recorded.
During the late 1960s early 70s, Japan didn’t have to look far from home to find some of the heaviest rock of all time: Speed, Glue and Shinki, Blues Creation and Flower Travellin’ Band. This was at the same time Blue Cheer were coming out of the Hells’ Angels cave in the US armed with huge guitar distortion, while Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin threw fire on the British psychedelic movement. The similarities between what was coming out of Birmingham at the time and one Japanese group in particular, Flower Travellin’ Band, are undeniable. While the members of the English bands were children of WWII-era parents, the unique pleasure of being pummeled by the wide and immediate devastation of nuclear weapons was reserved for Japan. Twice. So not only does FTB’ s music convey the urgency of such a catastrophic event, it is the subject of their 1972 song ‘Hiroshima.’
While Blues Creation and Speed, Glue and Shinki were on more of a heavy blues thing, the Flowers’ combined the psychedelic exploration of Zep with the darkness of Sabbath. The resemblance between the voices of Flower Travellin’ s Akira “ Joe ” Yamanaka and Ozzy is almost freaky. In fact, the Flowers would be a straight bite on Sabbath if Joe wasn’t a better singer than Oz and Hideki Ishima’ s guitar arrangements weren’t so flawlessly devastating. But while Zep were into Middle-Earth shit, Flower Travellin’ Band were on some Far East meditation spirit of a million dead kamikaze pilots. They created timeless rock, way harder than anything today. If you don’t believe me check out FTB’ s Satori, and prepare to have your face melted off.