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Paternoster - Paternoster CD (album) cover





3.61 | 67 ratings

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4 stars PATERNOSTERr was one of the few prog rock bands to emerge out of Austria, aside from EELA CRAIG and KYRIE ELEISON. They released their one and only album in 1972 on the CBS label, but despite the label it was released on, has became one of the rarest albums on the label (up there with the British folk rock band TREES). In 1991, a small German label called Ohrwaschl (no relation to Ohr Records at all) had reissued this on CD, but because the master tapes were lost, it was a direct from LP to CD recording. Don't let that scare you off, because the sound quality is great, and there only the occasional cracking.

PATERNOSTER was lead by organist/vocalist Franz Wippel. His singing is really peculiar, think of a depressed version of PROCOL HARUM's Gary Brooker with a Germanic accent and you get the picture how he sounds like. The rest of the band consisted of Gerhart Walenta on drums, Gerhard Walter on guitar and vocals, and Heimo Wisser on bass.

Musically they're an early '70s prog band with psychedelic leanings. Hammond organ is the only keyboard used, and the guitarist uses that late '60s psychedelic fuzz lead. I have always heard this album described as being "very depressing". Well, I hadn't noticed that. Actually the only thing depressing sounding is the vocals from Franz Wippel himself, and of the lyrics. Take away the lyrics and the vocals, there is really nothing depressing about the recording. What you really get is early '70s organ-driven prog, with vocal passages that bring to mind PROCOL HARUM, and the more energetic passages that bring to mind The NICE. Some of the songs have lots of electronic effects that resemble such Krautrock acts as ASH RA TEMPEL or early TANGERINE DREAM, injected with the early '70s prog sound you expect from these guys.

The album opens up with "Paternoster". It starts off rather slowly, with organ and vocals. The first part is sung in Latin (the only part of the album not sung in English), the second part is sung in English, and then it kicks in to a very cool psychedelic jam that I wished was longer. "Stop These Lines" and "The Pope is Wrong" are example of the early prog sound combined with the spacy Krautrock sound of ASH RA TEMPEL or early TANGERINE DREAM (or early PINK FLOYD, for that matter). Some of the lyrics tend to be religious, especially "Paternoster" itself, but "The Pope is Wrong" has lyrics highly critical of the Pope, but still in defense of religion. "Blind Children" features lyrics on the theme of suicide.

The album isn't perfect. For one thing, the vocalist is quite peculiar sounding and needs getting used to. Some of the vocal passages seem to bog the music down a bit (because they keep the same pace without much variation during those passages), and it's without a doubt a lot of the instrumental passages demonstates that this band can really soar. I'd actually call this a totally essential album if it was all instrumental. But as it stands, it's still worth having, but the vocals need getting used to.

Proghead | 4/5 |


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