Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Open The Iron Gate: 1973-1977
Genres: Dance & Electronic, World Music, Pop
Listen to Samples
A revolutionary album
mumer | 11/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Comprised mostly of songs from Max Romeo's brilliant album, 'Revolution Time', this excellent reissue from Blood & Fire has quickly found itself as one of my all-time favorite CDs. The majority of its songs were recorded at Lee Scratch Perry's Black Ark, a sure-fire guarentee for high end dub. While most of Max's classic songs from War Ina Babylon will create instant smiles on your face, the songs off this CD take longer, but go far deeper. If I had no control over myself, I'd just listen to it over and over again. As a bonus, the reissue is very nicely presented, both with high quality sound and with extensive liner notes. Don't wait to finish this review, do yourself a favor and add an amazing CD to your collection."
Some of the best roots reggae ever committed to vinyl
kungfubreaks | Toronto, Canada | 11/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As far as some people are concerned, Blood and Fire can do no wrong. Much as I admire their re-issue programme myself, I don't feel that every single release is necessarily a must-own CD. However, Max Romeo's Open The Iron Gate is most assuredly one such release. This is arguably Max Romeo's finest hour, even though many classics such as War Inna Babylon, Chase The Devil and One Step Forward are to be found on the earlier War Inna Babylon LP -- nearly every track is a gem. Socialism, class struggles and the great divide between the rich and the poor are all major themes, explored with great flair and lucidity on tracks such as No Peace, Warning Warning and Revelation Time. War Inna Babylon, Romeo's signature track, is recast as the incendiary Fire Fe The Vatican, a scathing denunciation of the Catholic church. Other highlights include the palpable pathos of A Quarter Pound Of I'cense, the brilliant Three Blind Mice, whose Trenchtown Rock-style celebration of dance culture seems to have only grown more poignant with the passage of time, and the impassionate appeal of the title track. Needless to say, the Lee 'Scratch' Perry-influenced production (although only Romeo himself is credited on this release) is first-rate throughout; also, some (but sadly not all) tracks come with dub versions mixed in. I would have preferred separate tracks for the dubs, but they are excellent otherwise. All in all, an impeccable roots reggae record."
Soulful Reggae Minimalism
Nathaniel C. Moffat | Bethesda, MD United States | 03/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Max Romeo's less-is-more ethos is evident with spare arrangements that perfectly showcase his soulful, Heptone-esque voice.
Like an artist who uses empty canvas to good effect, Romeo uses the silence between notes to evoke both outer-space alienation and the warm ambiance (think "Us and Them" by Pink Floyd or "Another Green World" by Brian Eno). It's no easy trick.
If you haven't heard of Max Romeo before, you may be surprised to find how close he comes to achieving transcendant greatness on a couple of tracks. On "Warning Warning" he goes into a zone, while "Every Man ought to Know" has unforgettably great backing vocals.
On the minus side of the ledger, the lyrics are cartoonishly Marxist (smiting Babylon with hammers, sickles, and whatnot), but Romeo comes across as more of an earnest naif than as a danger to an island economy.
This wildly underappreciated album belongs in any reggae collection that goes beyond 10 CDs. Even if you don't agree that it is great, it can't be argued that this doesn't stand up well to repeated listens. I must have listened to this disc twenty times in recent months, which outside of, say, Blackmarket Clash just doesn't happen on my CD player.