The Human Beast - Volume 1. 1970 Scotland

The Human Beast - Volume 1. 1970 Decca. Released in Germany as well.

CD reissue: 1990 Deram (Japan); 2007 Universal (Japan mini-LP); 2008 Sunbeam

LP reissue: 2008 Sunbeam

Packaging: A mint UK original can set you back 4 figures (one sold recently for over $2,000), so that's a tough option for most unless wealthy. Up until the Sunbeam reissues, The Human Beast lived in the gutters of the pirate market. The first Japanese CD was extinct from Day 1. I did, however, jump on the mini-LP in 2007, as it's an exact replica of the original. It's a single sleeve, but with those cool pasted flaps like the original. And of course the album cover is incredible. This CD is the first copy of the album I ever owned. But Japanese mini-LPs are expensive and limited, so that's not going to stop a bootleg. Finally, a year later, Sunbeam got it done the right way. With a cover like that, I had to supplement the CD with the LP. Interestingly, they pressed the LP as a gatefold, and put a black border around it. I know purists will scoff, but I have no problems with reissue labels taking a little personal creative license with the packaging - as long as it's tasteful, or an upgrade. The inside of the gatefold contains newly written liner notes. I would love an original, but I don't see that happening. The original German copies are more reasonable but hardly cheap.

Notes: On the surface, it would seem The Human Beast's sole album to be typical of the era, given the guitar-bass-drums trio format. But these guys aren’t Cream plagiarists, nor did they go the Led Zeppelin, Ashkan, Elias Hulk psychedelic power variation of the blues. No, we’re moving towards the freaky, to the astral zone of Clear Blue Sky, but even beyond. The lyrical concept and overall acid feel gives the feeling that Vangelis may have stumbled onto the album before launching into “666” for his Aphrodite’s Child group. And yes, I’m sure Human Beast digested plenty of “Saucerful of Secrets” and “Ummagumma” before heading into the studio. One of the most creative of the UK power trios, no doubt.

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