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Articles Home » 1970 Articles » Elias Hulk - 1970 Unchained
Elias Hulk - 1970 Unchained

ARTIST: Elias Hulk
ALBUM: Unchained
LABEL: Youngblood Records
YEAR: 1970
CD REISSUE: 2006, Air Mail Archive (AIRAC-1234) * 2007, BGO Records (UK), BGOCD772


LINEUP: Pete Thorpe - lead vocals * Granville Frazer - guitar * Neil Tatum - guitar * Bernard James - drums * James Haines - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 We Can Fly * 02 Nightmare * 03 Been Around Too Long * 04 Yesterday's Trip * 05 Anthology Of Dreams * 06 Free * 07 Delhi Blues * 08 Ain't Got You


Legendary hard rock from the English south coast, Bournemouth to be exact and just look at that cover! I wonder if the artist landed a job a decade later in the Shrapnel label's art department. Terrible stuff, but I digress since the album cover and small pressing only add to this megabuck rarity's reputation. As the story goes the group gigged heavily throughout southern England, even making their way into Wales before recording a demo at Strawberry Studios with 10cc's Eric Stewart, which landed them a contract with the London based Young Blood Records. More touring followed including gigs at The Marquee and Eel Pie Island, but boredom and cash flow issues eventually spelled the end of Elias Hulk and the group split in 1971.

The Songs
Based on appearances, 'Unchained' is not as heavy as you would imagine. This is partially due to Pete Thorpe's schizophrenic vocal style that ranges from pastoral Justin Hayward on the opener 'We Can Fly' to Ozzy and Black Sabbath - lite on 'Yesterday's Trip'. Very much a product of their time and flying the freak flag of Edgar Broughton Band, Groundhogs as well as Canned Heat, Elias Hulk run through every blues rock cliche imaginable, but it works. A solid set of no fuss, no muss rock and I especially like the raw aggression of 'Nightmare' where the Grounghogs comparison is especially apropos and the Eastern psychedelic jam of 'Delhi Blues', very tripped out Ladbroke Grove - Notting Hill and I imagine they went over quite well with the stoned out Hawkwind/Pink Fairies crowd.

In Summary
I had the pleasure of holding an original copy of 'Unchained' in my hands that was selling for well over $700 at a record convention several years ago. Naturally unaffordable, it was a rush to finally see the real thing. Since then there have been multiple CD and LP reissues from a variety of labels all of which are easy to find and of course very inexpensive.

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#1 | richardb on November 29 2008 20:37:31
Shame on me Eric, I live on the south coast and Bournemouth is literally just down the road from me - I never realised it was steeped in rock'n'roll tradition!

Richard B

#2 | gdazegod on July 08 2009 05:02:00
Too right about the Shrapnel Art Dept Eric! I've been acquiring a whole heap of early 80's Euro metal lately, and some of their album covers look as though they have been composed by the same guy who did US Metal I, II, III and IV..! guns (btw, this is Mike Varney with the gun.. cool representation don'tcha think? hehe..)
#3 | super80boy on September 06 2015 23:50:59
Thanks to the Europe based Sommor Records for giving this cult rarity a proper reissue treatment - a nice package with history and pictures insert, a poster and of course a 180g wax job. Sludgy stripped down live sounding hard rock but there are some cool trippy psych and softer moments as well. Standout Tracks - the intense 'Nightmare', the drumming in 'We Can Fly' and psych vibes in 'Ain't Got You'.
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