As mentioned, former Blue Cheer guitarist Randy Holden's 1970 solo debut Population II is getting a long-awaited remastered reissue this Friday (2/28) via RidingEasy Records (pre-order), but you don't have to wait until then to hear it because a full stream premieres in this post. If you're unfamiliar, Population II -- which has been sought after by record collectors for decades, heavily bootlegged, and reissued a few times (but never digitally, and never with a remastering done to Holden's liking) -- is widely considered one of the earliest doom metal albums, and it's not hard to hear how influential it is and how timeless it still sounds today. Blue Cheer were proto-metal, emphasis on the "proto," but Population II sounds as evil as the Black Sabbath albums that came out that same year. The remaster of this stone-cold classic sounds great -- listen below.

For some more background on this album from Holden himself, he says, "I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before. I was interested in discordant sounds that could be melodic but gigantically huge. I rented an Opera house for rehearsal, set up with 16 Sunn amps. That’s what I was going for, way over the top."

He also adds, "At the time, I was hearing these crazy melodies everywhere I went - I thought I was going crazy. Machinery all around us doesn’t turn in a perfect rhythm. That’s what I was tuning into, I heard the music and the discordant sounds coming from the machinery. It was perfect for rendering the machine we built."