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Carol Of Harvest - Carol of Harvest CD (album) cover


Carol Of Harvest


Prog Folk

4.02 | 86 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars One of those bands that formed, released a single album and faded into obscurity, CAROL OF HARVEST has had the luck of having its music resurrected from the vaults of history through word of mouth due to its unique psychedelic progressive folk sound that has steadily gained recognition over the following decades. The band was founded in 1976 and the creation of songwriter / guitarist Axel Schmierer who collaborated with his school buddies bassist Helmut Reinschlüssel and drummer Robert Högn in Fürth, Germany near the northern Bavarian city of Nuremberg. After streamlining a similar musical vision the trio quickly recruited Jürgen Kolb on keyboards who changed the band's sound and steered it more into the Krautrock and psychedelic arenas. Soon thereafter the band found the perfect lead vocalist with Beate Krause, a friend of Reinschlüssel who at a mere 16 years of age provided the perfect feminine vocal touch to the psychedelic folk music that the band would create for their first and only eponymous album that came out two years later. The unusual name came form a Walt Whitman book published all the way back in 1867. Instead of playing live gigs, the band spent ridiculous amounts of time honing their passions in the studio rehearsing which can be heard in the meticulous interplay between the musicians as well as the production techniques.

Despite the album cover looking like it came from 90s black metal or an apocalyptic post-rock band such as Godspeed! You Black Emperor, the music is actually a unique sort of psychedelic Krautfolk which blends aspects of Camel, Sandy Denny, Renaissance, Pink Floyd and Clannad with touches of German Krautrock which is dominated by Krause's powerful enigmatic vocal style which blends quite well with the arpeggiated guitar strolls and psychedelic atmospheres. The album is bookended by a lead and an ending track that are quite lengthy with three shorter tracks in the middle. The opening "Put On Your Nightcap" sets the tone for the album with spacey arpeggiated guitar parts, a Floydian bass line and cool keyboard effects that despite sounding like a British band finds a touch of their native land in their unique form of Krautfolk. While the general tempo is laid back and nonchalantly floats from one track to the next, the two longer tracks such as the opener and the ending "Try A Little Bit" find the pace picking up with more rocking segments that even include electric power chords adding a bit of heft to the rather hazy drifting through the psychedelic folk forest of sound.

Despite never attracting the attention they deserved, CAROL OF HARVEST did manage to woo the interests of the independent label Brutkastern Records who released a mere 200 copies of this first pressing and remains a nice little collectible for those who crave original issues. As the decades have passed and word of mouth interest has revitalized the album's legendary status as an obscure classic, the album has been released by a few select labels and finally found a remastered version on Prog Temple which includes three unreleased bonus tracks. After the recording of this album the band finally took on the promotion of it and scored a handful of gigs and actually won a band competition in Würzburg but ultimately encountered very little interest in their music which led Kolb to pursue more fruitful adventures. Unfortunately his departure caused a chain reaction and the band quickly dissolved thereafter despite a replacement filling the gap. The band found they couldn't rekindle that original motivation for making their unique brand of space folk and went their separate ways.

Upon first listen, CAROL OF HARVEST wasn't a band that blew me away by any means. Due to the reputation of greatness i found it a little ordinary and it was hardly love at first listen. However, after subsequent listens i began to appreciate the subtleties of the music as it's not about performing flashy prog workouts but rather atmospheric trance inducing mediations of sort. The album is reflective and focuses on emotional depth rather than technical chops. It is in effect a psychedelic album dressed in folk clothing. CAROL OF HARVEST doesn't sound anything like their German folk contemporaries such as Ougenweide or Parzival for example. It sounds more like a Sandy Denny meets Pink Floyd sort of gig with touches of symphonic prog and other influences. For me this was a grower but ultimately revealed its secrets to its enduring legacy as one of the forgotten classics.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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