Full Album Premiere: Randy Holden – ‘Population III’

In 1970, Randy Holden dropped Population II, one of the heaviest slabs of proto-metal there ever was. The record is easily one of the earliest documentations of what would become doom metal, and the fact that it’s not spoken of more widely is a never-ending source of hair-pulling and nail-biting frustration to those of us who worry about such things.

In the past, we’ve written about the album in our Primitive Origins column and in our Fight Fire with Fire column. And, today, we at Decibel are honoured to be giving you the full album premiere of Holden’s Population III.

The album, which comes out on July 1 on Riding Easy Records, was actually recorded in 2010 and shelved until Holden recently rediscovered the songs and decided the time was now. On this recording, Holden—who plays guitar and sings—is backed up by Cactus’ Randy Pratt and ex-Black Sabbath/Rainbow/Blue Öyster Cult drummer Bobby Rondinelli. The trio lay down six epic, heavy, blues-laden heavy rock tunes that crash like the most raw proto-metal and early psych, with a bit of that heavy doom sound to it as well, along with some extended tripped-out jams.

“It has a modernized sound,” says Holden. “I was inspired by the concept of what a followup to Population II might have been. I think we kind of got that. And the songs are quite different from anything else going on.”

You can preorder the album here, and you can listen to Holden talking about dropping LSD back in the day here, and, most importantly, you can stream all of Population III today right here: