Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Dr Phibes And The House Of Wax Equations - Hypnotwister

Dr Phibes were a fantastic three-piece psychedelic rock band from the north of England who released two great albums in the early 90s. I was lucky enough to see them live on a few occasions and every time, they blew my mind with their hypnotic mix of spaced-out ambience, hard rock and dub. They were all great musicians who obviously had a special rapport with one another and produced one hell of a noise between them.

I remember them being compared to The Jimi Hendrix Experience a few times, and always thought it was a lazy comparison - black lead singer who played guitar like a lunatic backed by two white guys on drums and bass. Must have really taxed those brain cells to think of that one. Musically, they bear little, if any, resemblance to JHE. Who better to compare them to? I always thought they were pretty unique, mostly due to the combination of musicians rather than them doing anything particularly innovative. 'Hypnotwister' is a truly great album, a mixture of feedback-soaked hard rock riffing, dub basslines and rock-solid drumming, some really spaced-out atmospherics and Howard King Jr's deep and powerful vocals. Unlike their superb debut album 'Whirlpool', which is very spaced-out and atmospheric for most of its duration, this is an album of songs and there's not a duff track in sight.

I recently read that Howard King Jr, Phibes' guitarist and vocalist, is currently in prison for the murder of his mother. Some of his lyrics make a bit more sense now. Very sad.

Track listing:

1. Burning Cross
2. Deadpan Control Freak
3. Real World
4. Anti-Clockwise
5. Moment Of Truth
6. Misdiagnosedive
7. Hazy Lazy Hologram
8. Jugular Junkie
9. Bearhug

Get it here


valis said...

Thank you..!

Herod said...

You're welcome, Valis. Hope you enjoy it, it's a great album.

Anonymous said...

Many thankx for this great psych sounds.

valis said...

Don't stop...........keep 'em comin'!

Herod said...

Valis - I've been sidetracked by real life for while but rest assured the uploads will recommence soon!

valis said...


I understand, completely. (I've stopped posts on my blog for two weeks while I move.)

Best to you, and thanks for posting everything!


Anonymous said...

Hope you continue posting soon – found some outstanding things here.

Anonymous said...

Who are the psychedelic man?

SteamboatFatty said...

I LOVED these guys in the 90s. Lost my vinyl collection in a flood. Thanks so much for posting this! Any chance of Whirlpool? ;)

ascoldasice said...

Hey Wank, good to see you are still doing your blog, and I must say I absolutely LOVE Hypnotwister. It's so epic, without being cheesy. Another album on the wishlist along with the Poisoned Electrick Heads S/T.

Parker Franz said...

i've created a yahoogroup for Dr. Phibes


Could you upload hypnotwister again please.



john said...

Hey, I've been enjoying your site immensely. Loadsa good forgotten stuff and half remembered songs.
Is there any chance of re-upping this one the link is dead.
Thanks in anticipation.

Herod said...

John - the link's dead because the album has simply disappeared from my rapidshare account. I don't quite understand why that happens, but it's a bit annoying. Anyway, I'm reupping the album to rapidshare right now and the link should be working later this evening.

Glad you like the blog, I'll get back to updating it sometime soon, but alas, for the moment, time has put the squeeze on me.

john said...

Curiouser and curiouser, thanks for the reply, looking forward to it.

gareth senior said...

Thanks for this - much better than the rip I had from cassette :)

The metadata seems a little weird - track 1 "Burning Corss" appears as pat of it's own album in my iPod. Weird.

Listening to this inspired me to rip a version of the first album "Whirlpool". From vinyl not CD - but I kinda like the crackles :)

It's linked to from my site:


thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Re singer & his mum . . . it's a strange world. Thanks for all teh links


Franz Parker said...

To hear and watch some free recording live songs of Dr Phibes :


Best regards


Anonymous said...

howard isn't out of prison yet

Steve Broomfield said...

I'm listening to Whirlpool at the moment - a truly epic album. Saw the band promoting their second album at Clapham, and it has to be one of the best gigs I've ever attended. Reminded me a bit of the Hawkwind Levitation tour what with the brilliant use of animated film as backdrop.
This was a band that deserved to go a long way but alas the unfortunate business with Howard and his mum put paid to their career. As someone noted on this blog earlier some of the song lyrics are a fairly clear announcement of his intentions/attitude. It sorrows me that no one picked up on this at the time and gave him the help he needed. I met the band backstage at Reading one year and they were thoroughly nice blokes, and there was no hint of any incipient MH issues from Mr King. Sad.

Herod said...

Thanks for leaving a comment Steve. Nice to see that this little corner of the internet is still attracting visitors.

Funny you should comment on Dr Phibes because I have recently been listening to Hypnotwister, first time for many years. Like Whirlpool, it remains an truly awesome album, and regardless of the sad events that brought Dr Phibes to a premature end, these two albums are monuments to their genius, and ones that I hope people will continue to worship at for a long, long time.

charly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
charly said...

One of the best band ever,
They still have a very special place in my heart,
Crazy how they can make me travel in space while sitting on my chair,
no need for drug...

Anonymous said...

the drummer was half indian /half white

zigzagwanderer said...

Hi Herod , I lost 'Hypnotwister' , any chance of a re-up ?