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Quatermass - Quatermass CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.68 | 154 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The first time that I saw the cover of this album was in the mid-seventies. It was included with others in a promotional inner-sleeve included in the old L.P. format of ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA`s "ELO2" album. These and other albums were released by EMI in my country as part of the "Convivencia Sagrada" series, a series of very good Rock albums released by the label in those years. The cover design is very interesting. I think that it is one of the best that HIPGNOSIS designed then.

Apart from the cover design, another thing kept me interested in this album: it has the original version of the song called T"he Black Sheep of the Family" which the band RAINBOW recorded for their first album called "Ritchie Blackmore`s Rainbow" (1975).

Talking about this QUATERMASS`sole album as a whole, I think that it has some interesting compositions, some of them being very Progressive and others having a mix of several styles: Hard Rock, Blues, and sometimes some Jazz influences. The inclusion of some orchestral arrangements done by keyboard player Pete Robinson are also interesting. The album still has some good experimental moments, somewhat dark, and sometimes some things sound repetitive and boring. But it is a good album anyway. The original version of "The Black Sheep of the Family" included in this album (composed by S. Hammond. Who is him? He also appears as the songwriter of other songs!) is very good, but somewhat different to RAINBOW`S version, because it is based in the Hammond organ, not on guitars like in RAINBOW`s version. It has funny lyirics too! I don`t know if this song was released then as a single by QUATERMASS, but it is a very good song, better as a single than "One blind mice" (released as a Bonus Track in the CD version with its B- side, "Punting"), which was released as a single, and it was a strange choice in my opinion, because the song is not very melodical and accessible for a single release.

The general sound of this album is dominated by the keyboards, particularly by the Hammond organ, which is played with added distorted effects. The band didn`t use the syntesizers very much. As previous reviewers wrote, the members of this band were by that time veterans of the English Rock scene, with in the case of John Gustafson, who was playing in bands since the late fifties, and Mick Underwood, who also played in the band called OUTLAWS with Ritchie Blackmore in the mid sixties. Gustafson, Robinson and Underwood also played together in the band EPISODE SIX for a short time after Ian Gillan and Roger Glover left that band in mid 1969 to join DEEP PURPLE. In fact, Underwood recommended Ian Gillan to Blackmore to replace Rod Evans as lead singer in DEEP PURPLE. Gustafson also played in the mid seventies with IAN GILLAN`s BAND (as Peter Frame wrote in his book called "The Complete Rock Family Trees", published in the U.K. in 1993).

QUATERMASS`sound had the influence of several styles, so sometimes, in my opinion, they didn`t sound purely as a Prog band. I can hear some similiarities with URIAH HEEP, EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER and DEEP PURPLE`s music and style (but keeping in mind that URIAH HEEPand ELP had not yet released their first albums when this QUATEMASS`album was released in 1970!), but they were a good band anyway. Gustafson had a very good voice. Unfortunately, the band split due to financial reasons. Years later I was surprised to learn that Peter Robinson is the same musician who recorded and played with PHIL COLLINS in some of his solo albums and tours during the eighties!

I also know that in the nineties there was another band called QUATERMASS II with Mick Underwood as their only original member. I have not listened to their album yet.

Guillermo | 3/5 |


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