In 1972, Australian band Buffalo released their debut record “Dead Forever.” Not a well known band, but an good band for the time. Buffalo was made up drummer Paul Balbi, bassist Peter Wells, guitarist John Baxter, vocalists Dave Tice & Alan Milano. Although Milano would leave the band after this release.
Many people described this record as being a hyper clone to that of “Vol. 4” by Black Sabbath. Please do NOT look at these guys as a record company’s way to sign bands that sound like what’s popular. Buffalo is something totally different than what was mainstream then.
Buffalo’s sound can be described as progressive, hard, heavy, bluesy, and psychedelic. They bring together these influences to create their own sound and style. The end result is a tasty series of songs that are easy to swallow. There are some great melodies on this album. The melodies seem to fluctuate between faster and more upbeat tempos to more heavier and slower tempos. Many of the songs seem to start off slow and increase with heaviness. The song structures are well put together. “Forest Rain” is a ballad that is very rough and raw. The production seems to be really clear.
The musicianship is pretty good as well as the instrumentation. Balbi’s drumming really sets the pace for the flow of the music. Well’s bass guitar is phenomenal. His bass lines are very complex and his scales are setting the tone for Baxter’s guitar. Baxter’s guitar work is amazing. He throws out a nice blend of heavily distorted guitar tones which are gritty and deep. The riffs he produces are top notch. It’s a shame that more haven’t heard of his name. Baxter can hold his ground and shred on the guitar just as good as Ritchie Blackmore, Pete Townsend, Tony Iommi or Jimmy Page. “I’m a Mover” is a great song which is covered by the band and Baxter’s leads are fantastic. The vocals are pretty good too. The shared position at the mic reminds me of two people competing for the same job.
The only reason I gave this record a lower rating than what it deserves, is because of the fact that there are a lot of covers on here. But other than that, this album is a great record to jam to and is enjoyable to listen to. If you’re into early Heavy Music, this is one album I would highly suggest. Note, the first eight songs were part of the original album. Tracks 9-13 were released in 2006 and are more or less demos and covers.
Track Listing 2006 edition:
Leader – 6:07
Suzie Sunshine – 3:00
Pay My Dues – 5:36
I’m a Mover – 10:57
Ballad of Irving Fink – 4:37
Bean Stew – 7:11
Forest Rain – 6:28
Dead Forever – 5:32
Hobo – 2:46
Sad Song, Then – 2:37
No Particular Place to Go – 4:53
Just a Little Rock and Roll – 2:24
Barbershop Rock – 3:24