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Birth Control - Operation  CD (album) cover

OPERATION

Birth Control

 

Heavy Prog

3.74 | 74 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Although my first Birth Control album was the later proggy `Backdoor Possibilities', I initially fell in love with the band for their initial proto-prog works. I'm a total sucker for all those Hammond- drenched hard rock albums by bands that would later embrace their prog curiosities, so those early albums by Grobschnitt, Beggers Opera, Atomic Rooster and others - load me up! `Operation' by Birth Control sits alongside those sort of LP's, so we're talking melodic accessible rock with lengthy stretches of instrumental workouts and group jamming usually in the middle of each track. The 6 pieces here also frequently incorporate hard R&B, pop/rockers and even a bit classical grandiosity right at the end.

`Stop Little Lady' is such a classic opener, a stomping and relentless Deep Purple-like rocker that balances a memorable melody and chorus with extended jamming. The verses have a spacey keyboard shimmer that always reminds me of those early Eloy albums, and the insanely catchy chorus sung with manic power by the always charismatic Bernd Noske will be stuck in your head for days! I completely lose my mind during the uptempo instrumental electric piano and searing organ run over scratchy grooving electric guitars in the middle too! `Just Before The Sun Will Rise' has a Genesis-like organ drive throughout backed up by a very propulsive beat, Bernd's bellowing in fine throat-shredding form and there's plenty of dangerous acid-rock guitaring and glistening Hammond too. `The Work Is Done' is almost as good as the opener, a 60's inspired darkly grooving R&B rocker with a female chorus and a thoughtful lyric.

If a little less chugging and heavy, side B's `Flesh and Blood' wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Beggars Opera album, it's a shorter hip-swivelling pop/rocker that's also gently psychedelic. `Pandemonium' is a heavy slab of intimidating plodding rock for the howling vocal sections and prickly unhinged delirious instrumental outbursts for the rest, especially the Hammond plastered over every damn inch of it. Then questionable closer `Let Us Do It Now' takes a left turn and adds some unexpected classical grandeur, bordering on cinematic sophistication. There's constant reflective heartfelt piano throughout, gentle orchestratations and horns to carry the drama, and a restrained and purring crooned vocal from Bernd too. It's not a total success, but I think it just stands out more because it sounds like nothing else on the rest of the disk rather than being no good. For a heavy rock band, there's is no doubt it's very ambitious and surely a sign of the progressive rock leanings they would later take.

Housed in a baffling and attention-getting offensive cover, `Operation' is scorching hot to me. Sure, in many ways, most of the tracks have the same structure (verse, chorus, big instrumental jam, back to verse, chorus), and even the following album `Hoodoo Man' would start seeing them becoming more adventurous and interesting to prog listeners. But I guess I just love the slightly rough sound, and to my ears these kind of riff and burning Hammond-heavy foot-tappers are sweaty, dangerous and damn sexy - even if the final track makes you dress up in your Sunday best and waltz with your lady across the dancefloor instead!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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