What’s this? It’s the sound of a massively distorted guitar, fuzzed up to the psychedelic eyeballs and dying to run amok over the record …

Sometimes you just look at an album and you know exactly what it’s going to sound like. Such as this one. The band’s name is Mainhorse, the cover features a charging, leaping stallion and it was originally released in 1971. So, that’ll be proto-metal with testosterone leaking out of its ears and eyeballs then. Wrong! Very wrong. In fact we are feet first in keyboard-driven progressive rock land here, and I’d have just lost my bet.

In actual fact, if you looked at the line-up you’d be given a clue anyhow, as this is the first outing for keyboard maestro Patrick Moraz, prior to Refugee and then his career-defining stint with Yes for the Relayer album. The first track, entitled by a staggering feat of imaginative lateral thinking, Introduction, opens with those keyboards way to the fore. Stabs on a rich, full Hammond along with a certain showboating emphasis on the ivory-tinkling, and you’re away on your second flight of assumption already – why, it’s going to be an ELP clone, surely. Wrong again, and surely not, because what’s this? It’s the sound of a massively distorted guitar, fuzzed up to the psychedelic eyeballs and dying to run amok over the record. It just about manages to resist this temptation, at least after the first couple of minutes from its incepton when you fear it may turn sentient and devour your children.

This first track is the most outrageously in-your-face, especially with that guitar assault, with only the part-jam closer God (those tricky titles again) threatening to terrorise your loved ones with fearsome guitar embellishments, though Such A Beautiful Day – which sounds precisely nothing like that mellow, cheery title – is certainly no slouch either. Taken all in, the album is a sharp shock of prog as a work-in-progress, and a highly enjoyable artefact from when albums that were this good, and frankly barking mad, were not only released with notable success, but indeed released at all!

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