Sound — 10
Steve Morgen (vocals, lead guitar), Barry Stock (rhythm guitar), Rennie Genossa (bass guitar), Bob Maiman (drums), this band coming from Long Island, New York. This would be a similar effort to something like "Microminiature Love" by Michael Yonkers. I would say it has drawn inspiration from many hard rock psych standards of the time that were highly influential like The Who or The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This album does have its own styling and characteristics that make it a unique album though; it does give a lot of nods towards those original proto punk type rockers like The Kinks and The Trashmen though of course like most late '60s rockers similar to Morgen would do. This was originally published on the Probe label of CBS records back in 1969 interestingly enough they don't seem to have a mainstream sound at all and they definitely don't compromise at all one bit in this amphetamine fueled hard rocker. All the material on here is highly original though from what I can tell even though they pay homage to their hard rock creator gods like Townshend and Hendrix, this is a truly talented garage rock band. The leader Steve Morgen can really give some nice punk rock vocals whilst playing great screeching psych licks. This album surprisingly retains some of the proto punk/metal themes while not upholding them completely giving it that razor sharp edge of hard rock punk that is just sitting on the borderline between the boundaries of metal/punk fuzz psych.
Lyrics — 9
The opening track "Welcome to the Void" definitely pulled me in and had me under the albums spell with those allusions to a collage of different fairy tale stories that are standards all merged together in a creative centerfold. There are definitely some all out sexually crazed and fantastic lyrics on here and definitely in your face at times. The raging "Beggin' Your Pardon (Miss Joan)" just screams a lust through the banshee guitars with more testosterone driven sex crazed lyrics on the verge of insanity from depravity; it gives Morgen a wild unpredictable edge. "Of Dreams" definitely has a mellow feel in sexual vague and distant eerie lyrics almost whispered in a calmer voice and different singer more suitable for the track but still of course has that nice drone raga buzz going on in the rhythm section, I can definitely dig it, the imagery painted throughout there is just a dreamscape in a sheer unimaginable level.
Steve Morgen obviously is a sex fiend and I will call him out on that straight up right now and just so I can put it aside, it drives the music into this craze in a really great sense that just makes it pulse and throb in a melting psychedelic fury of violence resonating in a form of hard rock psych music. While this album definitely captures a more vanguard punk setting it's hard to put in into that category because it becomes something so wild and unbelievably heavy and raging for this time (late '60s) that it just becomes a proto metal essential. The whole lustful writhing of Steve Morgen kind of reminds me of an Iggy Pop or better yet Jim Morrison type icon mixed into a harder style of rock but carrying the same idea that reflects on the music itself. The music somehow becomes wild and sexual like an untamed beast making this effort powerful and exciting without measure. The overall songwriting and fuzz guitar are without doubt cream of the crop. Even before dropping needle on groove, the stark artwork on the cover features a monochrome reproduction of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" in contrast to the multicolored hues so prevalent then, and a single word, "Morgen" which is at once the artist's name, the album's title, and the German word for "tomorrow" makes an immediate profound statement. The darkness and insanity of the lyrics definitely are matched with the moody spiraling hardcore psychedelia.
Overall Impression — 10
There is some great prowess in here on instrumentation, definitely an all out talented garage rock band that becomes very professional, I would say very close to The Flamin' Groovies although maybe not as good they go on such a deeper harder level rivaling and surpassing the Groovies although I do love them and they are also an excellent band of the same time who would continue to make some nice proto punk as well. I do love the insane pulsing drum rhythms on "Eternity in Between" it also gives the obvious nods towards The who in underture with Keith Moon type drums and a "My Generation" kind of fuzz still in its own right it becomes something new and unique. And my favorite cut would have to be the long psychedelic dirge "Love" which just goes on in a Jimi Hendrix/The Who hybrid note progressions along with some intense buildup and more deranged lyrics that fit the bill perfectly.
This definitely meets a close sound to Michael Yonkers' "Microminature Love" from 1968, along with other hard and unique all out hard rock/punk psychedelic masters like another The Koala (1969), and bearing a close resemblance somehow to The Lollipop Shoppe's "Just Color" (1968). They are all Rolling Stones hard driving and The Who also at their most wild hard rock taken to another echelon. I'd say Michael Yonkers' "Microminature Love" amounts to a greater level in my opinion as a far out power trio not to discredit Morgen I just have a real taste for power trios. Another album that would also stick out would be "Wasa Wasa" by The Edgar Broughton Band - another trio. Rory Gallagher's "Taste" is another heavy trio monster of the time along with many others like Led Zeppelin's debut, Jimi Hendrix Experience albums, Cream's "Disraeli Gears," and Free's "Tons of Sobs" (1968) a year before along with The Jeff Beck Group's "Truth" (1968) and "Beck-Ola" (1969). There are a numerous others too that I just can't list off the top of my head but those ones really are important and stand out to me in their efforts to pioneer rock to a whole new level forming what would eventually become metal from hard blues rock. This still somehow stands out in its own right amongst all those albums somehow separating itself in a sense from the style of blues and becoming its own "Black Monk Time" (by The Monks - 1965) or The Fugs driven fuel of punk type stuff along with The Deviants ("Ptooff!" (1967)) and The Holy Modal Rounders or The Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat" (1968). There are still so many others but I think I covered the main groups that really set a new level and probably helped a more late '60s type of proto metal to emerge like Morgen all driven from older garage rock bands like Shadows of Knight and The Litter.
This album can rival along with it's counterparts of the same time like Iggy and The Stooges (1969). It does carry it's own truly unique sound wrapped around an insanity and angst that make it stand in a somewhat uncommon category for the year with MC5 and The Stooges I believe. There are a number of other albums that bear the proto metal genre but most of them don't really go this far in razor sharp heaviness along with the Black Sabbath "Earth" demos from 1969 and "21st Century Schizoid Man" along with "Helter Skelter." Other than those listed the rest are definitely good and there are a number of other bands that would be close but not as close as this stuff gets. Morgen is a truly unique masterpiece of its time showing the rarity of bands that would move forward and help form a new wave of harder rock that would form into metal. I think Morgen is a historical album without doubt and highly innovative.