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Grobschnitt - Ballermann CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.69 | 154 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

After their excellent debut, GROBSCHNITT came back with a double LP album named BALLERMAN. 5 songs comprise the first LP as the second LP offers us the first version of their trademark masterpiece, a studio rendition of the fantastic SOLAR MUSIC which would become very popular 5 years later with the definitive SOLAR MUSIC-LIVE album.

A few changes of personel have occured since their first album as EROC is the only one drummer now and VOLKER KAHRS nicknamed ''MIST'' has taken over the keyboards. Like the first album, BALLERMAN is a mix of diverse styles of music blended together for a new great unique GROBSCHNITT experience going from drunks in a beer fest athmosphere to the most delicate symphonique sounds not forgetting weird spacey psychedelic jams.

The sound is more subdued than on their furious debut as the ''Santana'' groovy rythms and loose guitar sounds have disappeared for a more polished, more progressive approach. However the typical GROBSCHNITT sense of humor is well present with the opener,the hilarious SAHARA. Not that this song will win any prog awards, but at least it's funny with EROC narrating like a drunk with a VERY strong German accent. Who said Germans are no fun? at least the members of GROBSCHNITT are. But that's not this beer fest song that will give 4 stars to this album, even reducing the chances of doing better.

NICKEL-ODEON brings us back to old Grobschnitt with a good strong guitar helped by lush organ tapestry then a very, very powerful vocal performance from WIDSCHWEIN follows helped again by tasteful guitar playing. WILDSCHWEIN sings his heart out, cries his heart out i should say in a very moving way. He sounds like he is ready to commit suicide or that he has lost everything that was dear to him. Not a song to cheer you up for sure! but a beautiful one showing us that GROBSCHNITT can also deliver emotions and sound serious. The keyboardist is great and helped the music sounding richer than before, but once again LUPO the guitarist is the hero going from frenetic hard rock to melancholic introspection.

DRUMMER'S DREAM sounds more like future GROBSCHNITT -Rockpommel period- a mid-tempo ballad with symphonic arrangements overcoating an average melody.LUPO and MIST again do a good job with their respective instruments. As long as you can go along with the voice of the singer ''WILDSCHWEIN''.

MORNING SONG follows the same pattern than DRUMMERS DREAM, a psychedelic ballad very bucolic with acoustic guitar, clavinet and sweet vocals.The 13 mns long MAGIC TRAIN opens with a beautiful classical piano solo from Mist, a divine pleasure cut by the apperance of Wildshwein vocals and guitar breaks from LUPO and a long athmospherique journey not bad but not that great either. This is a good song but could have used a little more creativity and spontaneity imlo. Some reviewers mentioned GENESIS regarding this song, but as i have never been a great GENESIS fan anyway, i can't say much.

The highlight of the album is of course this studio version of SOLAR MUSIC which lasts 33 mns....still far away from the 80mns from the live album.Sure all the main themes of this fantastic piece of music are present here but it is in no way the definitive version as the live one is something out of this world blending power, creativity, weirdness, successful experimentation, ultimate musicianship: the most trippy album of all time.

Nonetheless, this is a good way to start with SOLAR MUSIC if you haven't heard of it yet! This is a spacial journey with all the elements i mentioned that make prog music great.This is beautiful themes after other beautiful themes, all played with passion,enthousiasm living a lot of room for -wellthought and calculated- improvisations. When listening to this suite, i think of the title of thsi movie: SPACE ODDYSSEY. That's exactly what it is, but not in the cosmic way of TANGERINE DREAM and other KLAUS SCHULZE. There is beautiful guitar to be heard here, great drums works and of course very spacey keyboards and a very few weird vocals as SOLAR FIRE is mostly an instrumental prog festive mayhem. There is sheer power in SOLAR MUSIC.

I will stop here celebrating this monument as i still have to review the live album, their definitive album, the GROBSCHNITT masterpiece. I would give 3 stars to the first LP and 5 of course for SOLAR MUSIC, so BALLERMAN will get.....


febus | 4/5 |


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