There is a magic to Smack’s versions of these well-known songs that is indescribable. Most people have seen their fair share of cover bands. You go to a party, or a bar, and they are just sort of a human jukebox. No big deal. Something very special happened in the case of Smack though. While guitarist Jim Uhl is not exactly an undiscovered Hendrix or Clapton, he is very good. It is the way the four members of the band have managed to make each of these very famous songs their own which is so impressive.
Smack’s arrangements, their backing vocals, and overall sound is absolutely unique. It surprised the hell out of me to hear them take classics such as “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Manic Depression” and make them their own. I really did not think they could pull it off, but they do.
If Shadoks scored a coup with the CD release of an album of which only two copies are known to exist, their achievement with Cerebrum’s Eagle Death is even more astonishing. Until now, the only releases from this band had been two 45 rpm singles. These were issued on the Barcelona-based Dimension-Ekipo label in 1970. As far as mega-rare psych singles go, they are at the top of many collectors' lists. For whatever reason, the song “Eagle Death” was not even the full version, but a “radio-friendly” edit. The full 6:18 cut has never even been available until now.
It is an example of what makes this label so amazing. Not only are those four songs present, but five more tracks (recorded in 1969), have been added. The work in getting all nine cuts cleaned up enough for commercial release after all these years must have been staggering.
Was it worth it? For those of us who like the heavy, psyched-up, fuzzed-out music of bands like Blue Cheer, or early Stooges, the answer is simply and absolutely “Yes!” Listening to this material is like finding some sort of psychedelic/garage band Holy Grail (hidden in Spain for 43-odd years). Eagle Death is as heavy as this music ever got.