"This was the last studio album ever put out by Iron Butterfly. A physchedellic one-hit-wonder band in the late 1960's, this was a group desperately trying to make a comeback in 1976 and had just released a mediocre album called Scorching Beauty. Sun and Steel was a last gasp effort that had no business succeeding under these circumstances, but succeed it does, and brillantly. If there were any justice in the world, this album would be hailed as one of the greatest hard-rock efforts of the 70s. Two factors make the difference: John Ryan's production and Bill DeMartines' incredible keyboard playing (though all the members of the band perform superbly). The songs, too, demonstrate craftsmanship and variety: the title track is an awesome organ-driven mini-epic, "Lightning", "Free", "Scion" and "Get it Out" are all sizzling rockers, "Right/Wrong" is a fantastic progressive piece with a great buildup intro, and "Beyond the Milky Way" and "World Going By" are stunningly beautiful ballads. All this leads up to the spectacular finale "Scorching Beauty", which lives up to its title. Sun and Steel is a hard rock record without a single flaw, and it remains one of the great tragedies of rock history that Iron Butterfly didn't survive to make more music like this. Forget Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida, this album is the essential Iron Butterfly."
Not your typical IB music but a great 70's sounding rocker!
Michael G. Fox | Upstate NY | 06/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There were two IB albums in the mid 70's. (a third was in the works when label MCA dropped them and they remain in the vaults) The first was Scorching Beauty. Not very good, this one "Sun & Steel" was MUCH better. The band lineup for the album is longtime IB members Erik Braunn (GTR/VOX) & Ron Bushy (DRUMS) Also in the band was (on his 2nd IB album) Phil Kramer (BASS/VOX) & new member Bill DeMartines (KEYBOARDS/VOX).
The album has its great rockers and 2 nice ballads. Some of the lyrics aren't that good but some are magical.
Sun & Steel- a hard rocker with a kickin gtr solo but the lyrics are kind of dumb. (Sung by Erik Braunn)
Lightnin'- Good vocally & lyrically, This song uses the guitar/voice box feature. More famous in songs like Rocky Mountain Way & Living On A Prayer BUT IB was the first band to use the feature. (Back in 1970 on Butterfly Bleu) (sung by Phil Kramer)
Beyond the Milky Way- GREAT TUNE! One of 2 ballads on the album. This was played at my wedding (bridal party dance) Kind of weak vocals in places but the lyrics are golden! This was released as a single and did not chart. (written by demartines & bushy and sung by Bill DeMartines)
Free- Another erik braunn tune and this one is one of the weaker songs. Lyrically & vocally. Honestly he is dearly departed and a helluva guitarist but he shouldn't have ever sung.
Scion- Great rocker, great keyboard chops and guitar solo can't be beat. Weak vocally again as it is sung by Erik.
Get It Out- Another Erik song which is warbly like usual but seems to fit better in this song than in others. Was the flip to "Milky Way" on the single.
I'm Right I'm Wrong- The only other Phil Kramer tune on the album. Great song, wonderfully sung, orchestral arrangements were a nice touch, the only complaint is the opening violins are a bit grinding to the ears. Someone told me it was released as an edit on a 45 with the song that follows it. not sure which was the A side and which was the B side or if it is even true.
Watch The World Goin By- The best Erik Braunn tune, his warble makes the song sound sad and it fits perfectly. I lost a good friend to kidney disease last year (2004) and this song always reminds me of him. Footage of him would actually make for a good video for the song (and make me sadder) RIP Mikey!
Scorching Beauty- I don't think this was left over it is probably a coincidental occurance. It sounds alot more like the Sun & Steel songs in type. The only thing that ruins it is Erik's voice, but it saves it when he "sings" along with the guitar.
A good album, worth the money (well not 30 some dollars) but if you can find it for less GET IT! don't expect In A Gadda Da Vida and expect good mid 70's rock and you will LOVE it!
Please read and rate all my reviews. "
One of their best
Michael G. Fox | 12/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sun and Steel is one of the best heavy metal albums ever produced, and it came out the same year that Led Zeppelin's 'Presence' was released (don't like 'Presence'? Stop being so closed-minded). Iron Butterfly basically invented the sound that became heavy metal (way back in 1966), and their last album only furthers that legacy. Oh, by the way, how could you possibly say Britney Spears did a heavy metal song? My sister has that CD, and while it may be loud, it sure ain't better than Iron Butterfly."
Best CD by the "Braunn" Butterfly
Stephanie (firstname.lastname@example.org) | The Tri-Cities, Wa | 02/06/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD along with "Scorching Beauty" are the blacksheep of the Iron Butterfly catalog. Guitarist Erik Braunn (or Brann - depending on which CD you have) who was in the band line up for the "In-a-gadda-da-vita" and "Ball" CD's, took a shot at reforming the band circa 1974. Drummer Ron Bushy, aside from Braunn is the sole returning member from the 1960s line up. Phil Kramer (Bass,vocals) and Bill DeMartines (Keyboard, vocals) round the line up out. Original vocalist/organist Doug Ingle is nowhere to be seen on this album. That fact makes it for a very differnet sounding Butterfly. Serious Butterfly fans may be thinking 4 stars? Why? The music standing by itself isn't bad. Some of the songs are actually pretty good. "Watch the world goin' by", "Scorching Beauty" and "Sun and Steel" are all cuts that have aged well. This album is not for people looking for the 1960's sound. This one is differnet, not in a bad way... but differnet. If you're a fan wanting to get deeper into the Butterfly. This is the better CD of the two from the blacksheep years."
Once again, I love an album many people seem to hate
B. E Jackson | Pennsylvania | 08/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It never ends. I love Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Love Beach, I love Black Sabbath's Technical Ecstasy, and I love the Moody Blues Octave album. Maybe there's something wrong with me. Maybe I actually live on another planet with people who aren't normal and I don't know about it. Whatever the case, I seem to love music, mostly rock music, that's generally considered to be bad or average by most people who listen to it and give their negative opinions. This might explain why I have trouble talking to people. There's something strange about me. You can almost see it in my eyes. I'm like a horror movie come to life.
But let me say this- I honestly love everything Iron Butterly has ever done. This album included. Yes, I know this means many of you out there will be thinkin' "well he's a fan, so he's just going to suck up to everything the band released". Let's not think that way. I don't suck up. I just suck. I knew before I heard Sun and Steel that I'd like the music because of all the negative reviews, and yes, it turns out I do love it. Once again, just like with the albums I mention above, the music on Sun and Steel is not as bad as people would have you believe.
The title song may be a little weak but not bad enough to write it off. "Lightnin" has a wonderful disco beat, or SOME kind of beat. It's kind of like ZZ Top's "tube snake boogie". That's a good song too. ZZ Top were really good at one time. My parents like them a lot. "beyond the milky way" is a very beautiful song. I never thought of it as a ballad, but I guess that's really what it is. There's something very pretty about it. The next few songs just plain ROCK, dude. They rock in a very fun, melodic way. This stuff ain't bad at all, darn it.
And, oh man, "I'm right, I'm wrong" has SUCH a close sound to the music the band Camel was releasing at the time. Ever heard of Camel? Pick something up from them. Don't be fooled by the band name. Just because a camel isn't a beautiful animal doesn't mean the band Camel makes terrible music. Camel plays incredibly beautiful melodic music. But this isn't about that band. This is about late period Iron Butterly, and how underrated this album is, and how much people should realize it, and... damn. If only people knew. Time to go back to my spaceship to tell my weird alien relatives I'm returning home. But I shall sprinkle Sun and Steel CD's all over some empty area of Utah for some hunter or jack frost to find out about this wonderful album, and take it home to their family. Play it loud and buy it now."