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Wallenstein - Blitzkrieg CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.80 | 130 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Wow oh wow. If you ever wondered when shredding began then you can go back as far as 1971. That's right, 50 years ago may not bring such things to mind but all it takes is a listen to this debut album BLITZKRIEG by the German band WALLENSTEIN to realize that many things had already developed so very long ago. This was a band from Viersen, Germany that sort of latched onto the early world of Krautrock but quickly transcended it due to the virtuoso classical training of keyboardist Jürgen Dollase who took this band into an entire new level of technical prowess. While the other musicians were extremely talented, it's clear that Dolasse was the star of the show with some of the most outrageous keyboard playing that knock Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson down the totem pole.

Formed in 1971 as BLITZKRIEG, the quartet of Dolase (keys, mellotron, lead vocals, sole composer), Dutch bassist Jerry Berkers, American guitarist Bill Barone and fellow German drummer Harald Großkopf discovered that the moniker had already been taken by an English band and opted for something of a similar nature by naming itself after the Thirty Years' War commander Albrecht von Wallenstein. This band was also one of the longest survivors of the early Kraut scene lasting from 1971-82. It is also notable for Kraut fans that it was produced by Dieter Dierks and released on the Pilz label.

Since the band name was taken, WALLENSTEIN used BLITZKRIEG as the first album title but also is appropriate in that it perfectly embodies the frenzied assault of the senses that must've taken everyone by storm in the year 1971. This sort of fast tempo musical barrage was unheard of that far back. The opening misspelled "Lunetic" is completely unhinged with the most frenzied rockin' the classics keyboard, guitar, bass and drum attacks that i've ever heard from this era! Perhaps one of the best integrations of classical music, psychedelic rock and early heavy metal i've ever experienced. The album features four tracks with the opening "Lunetic" and "Manhattan Project" featuring all instrumental virtuosic performances and "The Theme" and "Audiences" adding some vocals. While the instrumental parts are 5 stars across the board, the vocal performances while scarce drop the overall wow factor down a bit.

What's beautiful about this album is that Dollase was about as skilled of a classically trained pianist as it gets yet nothing on this album sounds like it was hijacked from classical masters of the past. All of the music sounds totally original and presented in full enthusiasm. The opening "Lunetic" is probably one of the most adventurous and satisfying tracks in all of 1971 with an energetic overdrive that far exceeds anything that was considered heavy metal or hard rock during the same era. The intricate changes in style throughout the album are enthralling with attention paid to every instrumental detail. It's just too bad that Dollase didn't try to find a highly competent vocalist to fill in the last remaining slot. While Dollase may have been a modern day Bach or Mozart, his vocal abilities while competent did not match the intensity of the music. If only Inga Rumpf would've joined forces, this could've been the German version of Yes!

Oh the would've's could've's! Any way you slice it, this is by far WALLENSTEIN's best album because the next album would focus more on vocal tracks and as heard on this debut BLITZKRIEG, it's clearly the instrumental aspects of this band that made them stand out amongst the legions of Kraut acts out there. While some bands like Amon Duul II and Can were going for the lysergic jugular, WALLENSTEIN had the perfect answer to The Nice by cranking things up several notches. This is a highly recommended album for anyone into all things rockin' the classics from the late 60s / early 70s timeline and it doesn't get any better than the insanely quickened and competent key gymnastics displayed on BLITZKRIEG form Dollase and his team of competent musical friends. While Dollase is the star of the show, the bass, guitars and drumming are WAAAAY above average for the era as well.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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