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Grobschnitt - Rockpommel's Land  CD (album) cover

ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND

Grobschnitt

 

Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 168 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A MINOR SYMPHONIC MASTERPIECE???

ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND is a surprising piece of work in more ways than one. I got interested in it because I'd known for a long time that 1970s German bands were quite good at symphonic prog (I've got a soft spot for Novalis) and because I read that ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND was Grobschnitt's answer to classic Yes. The cover art looks suspiciously like Roger Dean, and the original album contained two pieces of around ten minutes as well as a longer piece of nearly twenty minutes - it all looked very promising.

Perhaps the most curious fact of all is that the album was recorded by the legendary producer Conny Planck (famous for his work with Kraftwerk, Neu, Guru Guru, Cluster and a whole load of New Wave bands, both English and German), in Planck's own studio, during 1976/1977 (the halcyon days of David Bowie's so-called Berlin Trilogy and Iggy Pop's THE IDIOT), although it has nothing in common with New Wave or the progressive avant-garde. Rather, it looks back to (and is clearly influenced by) the symphonic prog of Yes, Genesis and Camel circa 1973-1974.

The first time I played ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND I'm afraid I listened to the lead vocals somewhat too carefully. The plot (of course it's a CONCEPT album) is based on a terribly naive fairy-tale, somewhat similar in structure and mood to Zappa's 'Gregory Peccary' and Utopia's 'Singring and the Glass Guitar'. Grobschnitt even try to liven the whole thing up with comedy voices in the style of Genesis' LAMB: not an entirely convincing stunt if you're not native speakers of the language you're trying to be funny in (English, in this case).

But upon later hearings, when I just enjoyed the music for what it was, I got carried away by the bright, airy playing, the soaring lead guitar lines, and even the singing which (if you disregard the words) seems to be full of romantic yearning. I was a prog fan in the mid-seventies but didn't know Grobschnitt back then. All through the wilderness years of the 1980s and 1990s I longed to discover bands who adhered to the standards of my favourite (British) symphonic bands. It's only recently that I've started to discover their Italian contemporaries. ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND may not be quite on the same level as PFM or Le Orme at their best, but I strongly recommend it to anyone who longs to hear refreshing sounds from the 1970s. Three and a half stars!

fuxi | 3/5 |

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