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Atomic Rooster - Made In England CD (album) cover

MADE IN ENGLAND

Atomic Rooster

 

Heavy Prog

3.68 | 80 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Space cowboys and church hymns make for an interesting mix

By their fourth album heavy prog leaders Atomic Rooster had already changed considerably in sound and lineup. With this album they strayed more into their tertiary genre (soul) while still maintaining strong footholds in heavy metal and prog. For this album the songs are shorter - sometimes heavier and sometime catchier - than ever before. This makes for both a good and bad thing as one of the big strengths about Rooster up to this point was the fact that they were always heavy and catchy with a fine mix of both, one nor the other disturbing the balance. But with a large section of soul coming more to the front of the mix this album starts to become a little bit scary for prog fans.

A couple of songs on this album really don't fit with the Atomic Rooster convention. Stand By Me is a heavy and quick pop rock tune that really does feel more soul than prog, the album's finisher as well, Close Your Eyes sounds like it could be coming from the local chapel (albeit a lot more upbeat). Some of the songs are simply far too short to develop like Rooster has done with songs on previous albums like the all too short Little Bit Of Inner Air, which has some very pleasant vocals and a nice guitar line to accompany it. People You Can't Trust is a good and cynical song, but for some reason the piano line sounds a little to close to Tomorrow Night (from Death Walks Behind You) for comfort. The backing vocalists on this one are also hit and miss, adding to the soul feel and taking away from the more heavy aspects.

Still, where would we be without a few killer Rooster tunes? This album still has many. A couple songs on here that make for a more than satisfying meal are all the ones that lean more towards their heavy prog roots while borrowing from that soul feel. The opening song from the album Time Take My Life is an instant Rooster classic with it's sharp chorus and masterful guitar riffs. Do Not Know What Went Wrong does nothing wrong in how it mixes the soul influences more heavily than some of the more rock songs, perhaps it's the fun piano, vocals and guitars that do the trick. This is an upbeat song (somewhat ironically perhaps) that really makes for a good listen.

More good music as we come into side two. Opening with a clip of some very gospel moments, the record seems to slow to a stop (that song still gets played out later in the record, whether that's good or bad is up to you) and the menacing pianos come in to start the instrumental Breathless. This track has a mind of it's own! It's a destructive powerhouse that could easily hold it's own with previous instrumental works of beauty from the band such as Gershatzer or Vug. Some excellent piano hooks and some excellent guitars make for a great tune here. Following that is another powerhouse (this one with a sense of humor) as Space Cowboy kicks in with a 'heavier 'n hell' riff. ''Yee-haw''ing can be overlooked if your sense of humor is not the same as the bands because that riff is just too mighty to pass up on. Finally, another excellent piece with All In Satan's Name, which is a bit less heavy than one may expect, even if there's some malevolent drums to kick it off. Another excellent riff comes in and we're into an almost Deep Purple kind of song with this one. Evil, heavy and with a rapid pace - this is just how I like my Roosters cooked.

So while it's kind of a mixed bag with some very good and very 'meh' tracks this one still makes for a good addition to any prog record collection. One of the more recent cd remasters of this album also features 8 BBC session tracks which include a lot from this album (including Stand By Me twice) and some from their previous record, In Hearing Of. If that's the record you're looking at picking up then you can add another half star to this rating. All in all this gets 3 space cowboys out of 5, very good in parts and very ignorable in others. Still recommended to everyone, since when this record is good, it is good!

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |

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