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Grobschnitt - Grobschnitt  CD (album) cover

GROBSCHNITT

Grobschnitt

 

Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 108 ratings

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febus
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars ANOTHER HIDDEN TREASURE.

GROBSCHNITT is another one of those great prog bands that deserve better recognition.All the prog fans who know this band will tell you they were one of the best ever.Had they been British instead of German, they would have been sitting pretty at the pantheon of fame of prog music. 2 or 3 of their best albums would be in the top 20 of the PA list, no less.GROBSCHNITT had a long career spanning almost 20 years from 1970 to 1989.

Everything was different with this band. They didn't use their own names, only going with fantasy one word-nicknames. They were known for concerts lasting 4/5 hours, wearing masks and roadies acting on stage, big lavish pyrotechnics and theatrical plays while performing. They produced later in their career (1977) one of the most monumental piece of music ever recorded live, a fantastic trippy journey of 80mns, the epic SOLAR FIRE which might be for me at least maybe the best prog ever recorded. Or at least throning high in the top 5--depending my mood--. I have no problems with this comment as all prog fans who know this album agree with that. There is NO good prog collection without SOLAR MUSIC.

But i digress as for now as i am going to review their first album the self-titled GROBSCHNITT. The band originating out of Hagen,Germany formed in 1969 under the name KAPELLE ELIAS GROBSCHNITT, a reference to a world war 1 German army march band. Of course, any good manager or productive recording company would have asked them to shorten the name of the band and they actually did as only the GROBSCHNITT part survived.

The main nucleus of the band was drummer JOACHIM ERIG, better known as EROC who will have a very successful solo career later in the eighties, guitarist GERD-OTTO KUHN ,nickname LUPO and rythm guitarist, lead singer STEFAN DANIELAK who goes by the name of ''WILDSCHWEIN'' (boar in English). Also on this first album are playing another drummer AXEL HARLOS, bassist ''BAR'' and keyboardist ''QUECKSILBER''.

GROBSCHNITT first album is one of their best, full of diverse styles but everything mixing together very well going from symphonic to wild groovy jams to melancolic athmospheres and then joyous guitar romps without forgetting this German self deprecating sense of humor. This is a happy band with no message of despair or coming death, not taking themselves too seriously but playing very seriously their music. This album is still full of freshness, even 35 years later, very lively and spontaneous.

There are 4 tracks starting with SYMPH0NY, a 13mns 3 part-suite which happen to be symphonic only in the end. This song starts humorously with funny vocals followed by a very rocking upbeat guitar and groovy percussions. Some reviewers noted some similarities with SANTANA, not that i agree completely but that's very lively full of rythms and scorching guitar like a young Carlos. The singer ''WILDSCHWEIN'' has one of those kind of unique vocals that might throw off some listeners. He has a strong guttural voice well in the style of CHRIS FARLOWE of COLLOSSEUM or DAVID CLAYTON THOMAS from BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS. This is no JON ANDERSON for sure.

After a few joyful groovy minutes, SYMPHONY slows down ,gets ...symphonic, a beautiful part with lush organ and tasty piano before a wonderful guitar solo from LUPO enters the fray, very melancholic, very dreamy that brings you to prog heaven. A magnificent journey for you to experience. Beauty at its best! LUPO is another one of those guitarists like KLAUS HESS from JANE who know how to transmit emotions and deep feelings out of his playing. Heaven, i told you!

TRAVELLING starts with a heavy guitar riff before going ''Santana-esque'' again for a fast paced rock song another German band of the time BIRTH CONTROL -period HOODOO MAN- would have been proud of! This is not spacey Krautrock, this is groovy Germany!!! And once again , a fantastic loose performance of guitarist LUPO who don't shut up one second.

WONDERFUL MUSIC is a short folk/ acid ballad full of acoustic guitars, flute with a classical and medieval touch, but still played with a lot of vivacity and fun. This is somewhat reminiscent of some old JETHRO TULL acoustic songs.

SUN TRIP is the second ''epic'' of the album lasting 18 mns. I don't know if this is a trip to the sun, but this is definitely quite a trip starting with a strong German-accented narration of a Bible part .Then it's time again for LUPO to shine with some great guitar licks in a Collosseum-like frenetic jam before quieting down for a very ''kraut'' spacey/acid athmosphere, old AMON DUUL 2 - PHALLUS DEI period-would have loved. Then LUPO goes again into a majestic symphonic guitar solo full of emotions really looking to play the nice note then accompanying tastefully a plaintive vocal performance of WILDSCHWEIN. SUN TRIP is a perfect example for all this German musical creativity of the beginning of the 70s as a typical spacey psychedelic ''kraut'' jam where different moods can be reached from weirdness to beauty to melancholy to craziness to frenesy, all in one song and performed masterfully.

GROBSCHNITT is a typical German sounding band, but with their ownn personality and a great sense of humor. And the musicianship is no slouch either. They would l produce great albums, some very average. But that's difficult for anyone to keep the fire burning for so long anyway! So belive me, this album the self-titled GROBSCHNITT will look good in your collection. Also woth noting is that the remastered version includes one bonus track, a live rendition of SYMPHONY lasting no less than....30 minutes recorded in concert 2 years before the release of this album.....another wonderful journey into the beautiful and weird world of GROBSCHNITT.

4 STARS.

febus | 4/5 |

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