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Grobschnitt - The International Story CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 27 ratings

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4 stars One thing is for sure; these guys like to play music... a lot of it. Sometimes that extended approach works for this fine German group and sometimes not. When the material becomes more jam than composition, things get a bit tiresome and the otherwise perfectly good music ebbs toward commonplace. But the more focused work, at least on this live collection, is outstanding and true to the sounds and spirit of classic Prog Rock, occasionally haunting everyone from Rick Wakeman and Pink Floyd to Genesis and Yes.

This impressive set spans 1972 thru 1981 and brings together selected performances, alternate mixes, and a couple vocal-less variations of recorded work from this group's repertoire of symphonic space rock. First up is a Hamburg performance of 'Die Sinfonie', an 18-minute number off their first record spotlighting the percussion of drummer Eroc and lead of guitarist Lupo, and though lackluster in spots it is the kind of warm, filling German rock that works its way into you and lingers for awhile. Even better is the organ attack and neo-classical fire of 'Nickelodeon', all instrumental, all great. The rest of disc one is taken up by the gigantic 'Solar Music Berlin', a 53-minute monster of heavy-duty, heartfelt drama and cabaret spectacle. The piece succeeds more often than it fails, and the very nice 'Ernie's Reise' opens the second CD with lots of theater rock, melodious guitar/keyboard parts and strong classical elements. Great symphonic/heavy symph on 'Severity Town' showing a perfect blend of keys, metal-minded harmonies, and precise Allman Bros-style fluidity. 'Du Schaffst das Nicht' and 'Simple Dimple' continue, two acoustic guitar numbers follow that, and more epic space opera and trippy theatrics in 'Vater Schmidt in Wuppertal', the jazzy 'Private Solar Excursion', and an instrumental take of 'Magic Train'.

All in all, a smashing retrospective of one of the best outfits in the German scene and though this set sometimes contains too much music, a great deal of it is worth the burden.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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