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Tapiman - “Hard Drive” (2017) review

Tapiman - Hard Drive (Guerssen Records, 1971/2017)

     One of our favourite reissue labels unearths some primo 1971 home recordings from one of Spain’s heaviest power trios. Released before the following year’s eponymous debut, the album will attract completists who will want to gobble this up, as it contains almost exclusive, unreleased material. Admittedly raw, this is balls to the wall, ferocious riffing, full of Pepe Fernández’s throbbing basslines, Tapi’s metronomic drumming and barbed-wire shards of glistening guitar courtesy Miguel Ángel Núñez. ‘No Control’ would be re-recorded with a different lineup for their debut, but the original barks and screams with a heavy, bluesy swagger reminiscent of Lesley West and Mountain.
     The short instrumental ‘Eight’ is presented in both electric and acoustic versions, so musicologists can trace its development, even if it still ultimately sounds more like an incomplete warm-up jam than a completely baked track. I prefer the mellower, slightly jazzy acoustic take. ‘Time On Space’ is more of the same – gnarly jamming full of tasty licks propelling a toe-tapping beat, although it, like several others, are obvious preparatory workouts that demonstrate the band’s collective chops, but don’t stand alone as individual “songs”, seeing as most peter out before reaching a planned coda.
     Not so ‘Before Last Minute’, which adds a groovy keyboard solo to the ramshackle proceedings, the peaceful, floating ‘Long Sea Journey’, which might just turn a few heads towards Canterbury, or the dreamy take on Sabbath’s ‘Planet Caravan’.

     So take a chance on these hot tunes from a tight-as-a-monkey’s-bum band that would go on to bigger things throughout the 70s. A nice introduction to heavy Euro rock, ‘70s style, for fans of the continent’s take on heavy metal, with the occasional poppy psych dreamer tossed in for good measure.

- Jeff Penczak
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