It's been said that the two Dwarr LPs, Starting Over (1984) and Animals (1986) represent some of the primary influences of "doom metal."
Dwarr is Duane Warr. I don't claim to be anything resembling an authority on the subject, but to me it's clearly the greatest private press hard rock album of all time. It compares to Ozzy-era Black Sabbath not only in its style and quality but in its accessability for people who don't listen to a lot of heavy stuff. Although the Sabbath influence is unmistakable, it's some of the most unique music you will ever hear.
Praise for Starting Over:
"“Drag City and Yoga continue their excavation of the works of Dwarr, a/k/a Duane Warr, a South Carolina native who in the mid-’80s put out a couple of completely unique privately pressed albums. Last year, the two labels collaborated to reissue Animals, Dwarr’s second album from ‘86, which is a mind-blowing exercise in basement psychedelia and Dungeons & Dragons-inspired doom metal. That psychedelic part was most likely accidental, or a byproduct of the man’s supposed drug intake at the time, but that’s beside the point. One of the greatest strengths of Warr’s music is that although the influences can be traced (Hendrix and Black Sabbath, I’m guessing), thanks to his limited means and vivid imagination it is 100% singular. While Starting Over, Dwarr’s 1984 debut, is less heavy than its successor, it still exists in the same fantasy wasteland where Over the Edge and Conan the Barbarian exist side by side. Here, he alternately shreds like Eddie Van Halen on a bum trip and a drunk Steve Hillage, only to mellow out and go into Pink Floyd territory, and then there’s my favorite song on the album, “I’ve Been Thinking,” where Warr does his best Jimi impression, except the treble is turned to 11 and it sounds like a horror film soundtrack. Non-rock, non-metal, non-normal human life, but always triumphant…Dwarr always wins!! (And for the full Dwarr experience, check out this video on YouTube.) -- Andreas Knutsen, Other Music
Praise for Animals:
"These days, recording a minor masterpiece in your bedroom is well within the realm of possibility. But when South Carolina plastic factory worker Duane Warr (aka Dwarr) recorded his spookily brilliant Animals in 1986, such an undertaking took will, resourcefulness, and vision. In Dwarr’s case, the vision is dark and deeply personal. And Animals is a disc of absolutely haunting, home-fried outsider metal that’s as immediate and unsettling as Syd Barett’s Opel or any of Robert Johnson’s hazy netherworld transmissions.
"Apart from a hired drummer, Warr played and recorded all the instruments to a Tascam 8-track. Timpanis, cymbals, bells, and gongs borrowed from a local high-school marching band help build an ominous, doomful wall of clang around psychedelic- and prog-tinged metal riffs and acerbic lead lines that sound like Ummagumma-era Gilmour, Fripp, and Iommi cut to pieces and glued back together as some garage-spawned Frankenstein. Amazing, eerily inspiring, and super scary" -- Charles Saufley, Premier Guitar magazine