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Amon Düül II - Phallus Dei CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II



4.01 | 464 ratings

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4 stars This group was formed by the splitting of the Amon Duul commune in late 1960s Germany. These guys being the more musical of the two. Although Amon Duul released an album first, it was Phallus Dei("God's Penis") as well as Can's debut Monster Movie, that really got what came to be known as 'krautrock' started. Originally Krautrock was influenced by both US and UK psychedelia, along with avant-garde, world music and sometimes jazz. There are two guest percussionists here: Embryo's Christian Burchard and Popol Vuh's Holger Trutzsch. The connections to other groups don't end there, as you can see by reading other reviews on PA.

You could describe the music here as late '60s psych, but that wouldn't be a fair description. The music is more experimental and "progressive" than that. The main instruments are the typical guitar, bass, drums and organ, but violin and percussion play an important part. There are both male and female vocals, singing mostly in German I believe. The vocals are kind of strange and even the English ones are hard to understand. You sometimes hear two drummers at the same time. In general, ADII is more melodic and composition-centred than a lot of their contemporaries.

Things begin with "Kanaan", which is almost raga-rock at first. It then switches to psych rock with vocals. Later returns to the raga-rock part. A psych jam with guitar solo afterwards. "Dem Guten, Schonen, Wahren" opens with psych guitars and cymbals. Then vocals and some steady drumming. A very '60s sounding song but very good. I love the 'chorus' here which is obviously sung in German. Some of the vocals here are real oddball, which is a good thing of course. A psych guitar solo near the end. Then the band plays the music to the 'chorus' part while someone talks on a megaphone.

"Luzifers Ghilom" has some nice sounds to open it; I don't know what instruments I'm listening to. After a funky drumbeat and bongos appear. Guitars and violin come in playing a riff/melody. The music stops and you can hear gibberish "chicka-chicka-down-down" vocals. The band then proceeds to play a different section of music. More vocals and some organ now. Later some kind of chanting. Nice guitar is joined by two drumkits and more gibberish vocals. The guitar and organ parts here are great. More chanting. Over halfway changes to a new section with violin and wordless vocals. A cool riff to end it.

"Henriette Krotenschwanz" starts with a marching beat. Bass and guitar is joined by vocals. First Renate and then male vocals. I never really liked her vocals, especially this early in their career. The music is like a weirder version of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". And now we get to the heart of the album. The title track is a great journey through German progressive rock circa 1969. It begins with random sounds on different instruments for a few minutes. Very spacey and avant, gets more noisy. About 3 1/2 minutes in a repetative bassline starts and other instruments join in with the tempo increasing. Goes into a jam/improv.

The music after awhile calms down, and then some organ and wordless vocals. Things get more intense and a violin appears. The music proceeds to do a start/stop thing. Then a brief melodic section with guitar, violin and drum rolls. Violin solos briefly with some percussion. Then percussion and voclas dominate along with random sounds and a weird altered voice. Music gets very intense and tribal sounding. Full band comes back in sounding like symphonic country music. Later guitar and violin duel with each other before the rhythm section returns and there is now singing. The lyrics are in English, but I'm not sure what is being sung. Later on some melodic bass and vibraphones. Ends with a great riff and a good drumbeat. More wordless vocals.

ADII would make both more accessible and less accessible albums after this. This is the debut album from an experimetal German rock group from the 1960s; so don't expect the greatest sound quality. The thing about ADII, compared to other Krautrock groups, is that I don't think these guys really influenced too many other artists. Not in the same way Can, Faust or Neu! did. Anyway, this is a great early prog album and one of the very first Krautrock albums. A must hear for anyone curious about early non-UK/US prog. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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