Sorcery - Stunt Rock

edited August 2021 in year-1978

Purists of late 70's heavy metal will surely be familiar with this excursion into the fantasy realms of the genre, Sorcery were an influential Los Angeles act who recorded this album as the soundtrack for the 1978 film of the same name.

Sorcery - Stunt Rock
ARTIST: Sorcery
ALBUM: Stunt Rock
LABEL: Sorcery Music Int'l, Groovy
SERIAL: GRL 25087
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1998, Old Metal, OMR-006

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA Flag
LINEUP: Greg McGee - vocals * Richard Taylor - guitar * Richie King - bass * Perry Morris - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Sacrifice * 02 Wizard's Council * 03 Talking To The Devil * 04 Burned Alive * 05 Book Of Magic * 06 Stuntrocker * 07 Mark Of The Beast * 08 The Bird Song * 09 Wicked City * 10 Woman * 11 Power Mad

Background

Purists of late 70's heavy metal will surely be familiar with this excursion into the fantasy realms of the genre. Sorcery were an influential Los Angeles act who recorded this album as the soundtrack for the 1978 film of the same name. Around the same time there was another Sorcery doing the rounds, this outfit from Chicago who released an album named 'Sinister Soldiers' in 1978 also.

The L.A. version was far superior, being the brainchild of guitarist Taylor, who formed a good versus evil concept, which was played out in theatrical style as part of Sorcery's stage show. This took the form of Merlin the Wizard fighting the devil, which can be viewed in classic fashion during Sorcery's role in the film. These types of shenanigans were innovative for the time and the band themselves were highly accomplished musically. Supposedly Taylor was a member of Legs Diamond at some point, but I can't verify this.

For the record 'Stunt Rock' was centered on Aussie stunt man Grant Page and his adventures in the U.S., with his 'cousin' playing the part of the 'Prince Of Darkness' during Sorcery's stage show. This was a prime showcase for Sorcery and their epic stage show and music, but somehow it didn't pan out, despite the films cult following.

The Songs

Musically Sorcery play a competent mixture of various 70's hard rock acts, noticeable during opening track 'Sacrifice' which is as superb an opener as any ever committed to disc. Imagine a combination of Kiss, The Scorpions, Angel and Starz and you'll have a firm grasp on Sorcery's overall sound.

Naturally it's overblown and pompous, keyboards everywhere, dueling with galloping riffs and McGee's vaguely Gene Simmons type vocals. If it sounds appealing then it should, the track a sweeping statement of the burgeoning L.A. metal scene unfolding in 1978. The demonic voice opening 'Wizards Council' was surely ripped off by Venom and although it's somewhat laughable overall, it's still heavy and melodic.

Listening to McGee's vocals during 'Talking To The Devil', it would seem Glenn Danzig and Ian Astbury studied him closely, the similarities too close to ignore. Swirling synths permeate 'Burned Alive' and this one is certainly closer to Kiss, but definitely not in the subject matter.

There's a discernable atmosphere to 'Stuntrocker' and the ominous tones offered by the mystical vibes these guys specialized in. At times it feels like I'm listening to ancient English occult fiends Black Widow and their 1970 'Sacrifice' relic. 'Mark Of The Beast' is a title which was borrowed by untold amounts of metal bands, this track picking up steam near the end after a pedestrian opening, the synths stealing the show once more.

Taking a radical shift is the acoustic ballad 'The Bird Song' where the band gets to clone Led Zeppelin to some degree, more country inspired than metal. 'Wicked City' returns to a more stock 70's hard rock sound and this one isn't dissimilar to early Quiet Riot or Riot for that matter.

The organ dominated 'Woman' has the Legs Diamond sound measured to a tee, but it's the crushing 'Power Mad' which rates higher, with a climactic synth solo which cannot be denied, executed in prime 70's authenticity and tastier than a Gregg Giuffria workout. As with most soundtracks it works better when viewed in the context of the film and fits nicely with one of Page's incredible stunts.

In Summary

With the exposure granted them for 'Stunt Rock' both on screen and off you'd think it would have boosted Sorcery's marketing appeal. But the film disappeared from screens quickly and for years was out of print and derided as a period piece gimmick. It's not bad at all though and has been revitalized over the years, along with the profile of Sorcery.

The band continued for a while and David Glen Eisley took over from McGee on vocals for the follow up 'Sorcery 2' which was far more melodic rock based and toned down the theatrical element. Eisley gave the band a prototype Giuffria feel and it's well worth seeking out.

Nevertheless while 'Stunt Rock' is an artifact of its time, it is also a stunning one which can't be overlooked in terms of influence. This is when fantasy metal was on the cusp and Sorcery certainly can take their share in the spoils of helping invent it to modern standards.


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