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8 Jul 2017

Necromandus "Necrothology" 1974 UK Psych Hard Rock Compilation








Bill Branch, Dennis McCarten, Baz Dunnery and Frank Hall



Necromandus "Necrothology"  1974 UK Psych Hard Rock Compilation

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Recorded at Morgan Studios, London 1973
All tracks produced by Tony Iommi for the Tramp Agency

Definitive anthology of early 70s downer rock band, produced by Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi. Includes previously unreleased tracks, live material, different versions and a special tribute track with full band biography, press releases, pictures etc..................

Managed and produced by Tony Iommi, Necromandus taped an album and a single for the Vertigo label in 1973, which didn't materialize at the time. Fortunately those studio recordings are now available on this LP, together with some archival demo and live tracks from 1971 and '72. Necromandus created a stunningly unique and dark sound featuring twisted vocals, exquisite guitar work and a powerful rhythm section. Pressed on 180-gram vinyl in an edition of 260 numbered copies, the LP comes with detailed notes and a double-sided glossy insert.................

Continuation of the story. Ironically, the heritage «Necromandus» still lives in the hearts of the public. Some novice groups recognize their influence and the Spanish "doom» «Tempter» recorded a tribute to the legend of hard rock. The first official edition was published in 1990 under the name «Quicksand Dream», the vinyl has been duplicated on CD in the late '90s, and later went «Necrothology». The last studio material apart only album contains a number of alternative versions of the classics of the group. In particular, the complete version of «Orexis Of Death», where Iommi not only solo, but also leads a second rhythm guitar. Also attracted the attention of the material of live performances (dated at 1971), perfectly conveys the atmosphere of the stage. In general, the music is really beyond the scope of a standard hard rock. A lot of progressive elements and almost jazz guitar create a very untypical picture. Although it's still a second-tier group..............

Remastered reissue of the rare 1973 heavy doom album originally intended to be released on the legenday Vertigo label in the UK. The band was discovered and managed by Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. As a bonus a rare 8 track live album is included. 16 tracks of classic doom-laden heavy rock.
Although they never did shrug off the unwelcome nickname of "Second Sabbath" and then had to endure a doom arguably worse than never being noticed at all: watching their would-be first album, 1973's Orexis of Death, pitilessly shelved forever by their record company, England's Necromandus would receive a modicum of belated recognition when said album finally gained release in 1999. Big whoop! Tell that to the three out of four bandmembers who were already in their graves by then! But, at least for fans of obscure hard rock and metal, the album's unearthing was cause for celebration; festivities that had been denied to Necromandus singer Bill Branch, bassist Dennis McCarten, and drummer Frank Hall when their supposed benefactor, Black Sabbath power chord maestro Tony Iommi, lost interest in them, and then their guitarist and driving force, Barry Dunnery, lost faith, deciding to pack his bags as things began looking grim for the group. After all, it was Dunnery's monolithic riffing and nimble lead guitar work that first captured the attention of both the U.K. press and Iommi, prompting the latter to sign the group to a management contract and personally oversee production for Orexis of Death. So it's not at all surprising that the album's opening statement, "Nightjar" (following shortly upon a cryptically named and sounding, string-scraping introduction named "Mogidismo"), is quite similar to the Sabbath template, alternating chugging staccato doom riffing and reverberating power chords from Dunnery, only fleshed out with, frankly, tighter performances and better sound by the rest of the band. What is surprising is how quickly and completely Necromandus shifts gears thereafter, scaling back on the first number's general heaviness and distortion to delve into far more supple, eclectic, and at times rather impressive stabs at the fanciful art rock prototypes typical of the era. Namely, these included the mildly jazzy "A Black Solitude," energetic folk strummer "Homicidal Psychopath" (neither of which does justice to its foreboding title, allegedly changed later without the band's knowledge), and the very definition of anything-goes prog rock that is "Gypsy Dancer." The more compact, guitar-driven construction of "Stillborn Beauty" reverts a little closer to hard rock expectations, but the title track's urgent brand of folk-jazz (including guest guitar from Iommi) and the closing reprise of "Mogidismo" ultimately leave listeners with more questions than answers. These questions combine with some of those unforeseen stylistic meanderings and the fact that Necromandus' songwriting simply wasn't on par with that of comparable success stories like Black Sabbath, Genesis, Jethro Tull, or even Gentle Giant, to in some way justify Vertigo Records' decision to not bother releasing Orexis of Death in the first place. But the album's unquestionable bright spots and the inclusion in most available CD reissues of a revealing live set from March 1973 (a show they headlined over Judas Priest!), featuring some of their other, non-LP, heavier compositions, actually do justify the interest of collectors of ‘70s rock. Now the only question left to answer is what in blazes "Orexis" means. .... 

The story of Necromandus begins in 1968 with the breakup of two West Cumbrian bands Jug and Heaven. Members from both bands, Barry "Baz" Dunnery (lead guitar) and Bill Branch (vocals) from Jug, and Dennis McCarten (bass) and Frank Hall (drums) from Heaven, formed a heavy progressive blues outfit they called Hot Spring Water. They were briefly renamed Taurus before settling on Necromandus after a radio show asked their audience for name suggestions.

Heaven had supported Earth (soon to become Black Sabbath) at the Towbar club at Nethertown in west Cumbria and had become friendly with them. Black Sabbath had a lot of their early success in Cumbria and after Necromandus had supported them several times Tony Iommi became so impressed with them he became their manager.

In early 1973, Necromandus, under Iommi's guidance, recorded the album 'Orexis of Death' at London's Morgan Studio. Iommi also added some guitar to the title track.

A deal was arranged with Vertigo and the band began opening for Black Sabbath as well as Tony Kaye's Badger. Dunnery left the band in 1973, and as a result the album was shelved by Vertigo. It was not released until 1999. The album was re-released in 2005 under the name 'Orexis of Death Plus...' and included two unreleased bonus tracks. It was also reissued in 2010 in its standard form, but with their Live album included.

Frank Hall and Baz Dunnery were reunited for a time in Cumbrian band Nerves. In 1976 Baz Dunnery went on to play in Violinsky with John Marcangelo (formerly with the Invaders) and played on their hit single "Clog Dance". Dunnery and Hall also played together in the new wave of British heavy metal band Hammerhead, although Dunnery's stint was brief.

Bill Branch, Dennis McCarten and Baz Dunnery have now passed away. The only surviving member of Necromandus is Frank Hall.............

Once hailed as the "Second Sabbath" by venerated British music weekly Melody Maker, Necromandus were an extremely obscure and, ultimately, quite unsuccessful proto-metal outfit (otherwise known as heavy progressive blues, at the time) from West Cumberland that formed from the ashes of two earlier bands, Jug and Heaven, circa 1970. Consisting of singer Bill Branch, guitarist Barry "Baz" Dunnery, bassist Dennis McCarten, and drummer Frank Hall, the group actually went by several names, like Heavy Hand, Hot Spring Water, and Taurus, before adopting Necromandus based on a radio station poll. But by 1972, all of their hard work and local gigging had come to naught, and it would ultimately take the patronage of Sabbath's Tony Iommi, who signed the group to his own Tramp management agency, to elevate Necromandus out of the pub rock trenches. Iommi also financed and produced the band's debut album, Orexis of Death, recorded at London's Morgans Studio, with a view of releasing it through the Vertigo label in 1973. But the record was shelved indefinitely after guitarist and driving force Baz quit in late 1973, and would in fact only see the light of day almost 20 years later! In the meantime, Necromandus had quickly folded rather unceremoniously, and all those involved were rarely heard from again (rumors suggest some members rehearsed with old friend Ozzy Osbourne in the early days of his solo career) until those early songs were finally released, along with a smattering of long-forgotten demos, live tapes, and outtakes......by Eduardo Rivadavia....................

Personnel:
Barry Dunnery — guitar
Bill Branch — vocal
Dennis McCarten — bass
Frank Hall — drums

Line-up
Current members
John Branch – vocals (2016–)
Frank Hall – drums (1970–1973, 2016–)
Dean Newton – guitar (2016–)
John Marcangelo – keyboards (2016–)
Banjo Cunanan – bass (2016–) 

Former members
Bill Branch – vocals (1970–1973; died c. late 1980s)
Barry Dunnery – guitar (1970–1973; died 2008)
Dennis McCarten – bass (1970–1973; died 2004) 

Discography
Quicksand Dream (1991, alternative version of Orexis of Death)
Orexis of Death (1999, recorded 1973)
Necrothology (best of, 2001)[12]
Live (2005)
Orexis of Death Plus... (reissue, 2005)
Orexis of Death / Live (reissue, 2010)

Tracklist
1 Intro
2 Curly Sea Slug (Live, Prev Unreleased)
3 Nightjar (Long Version)
4 Orexis Of Death
5 I've Been Evil (Prev Unreleased)
6 A Black Solitude
7 Still Born Beauty
8 Gypsy Dancer (Remastered Version)
9 Homicidal Psychopath
10 Orexis Of Death (Prev Unreleased Version)
11 Mogidisimo
12 Nightjar (Tribute To Necromandus By The Tempter)

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