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Grobschnitt - The International Story CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 27 ratings

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3 stars A comprehensive overview of the legendary German band

Grobschnitt's story began in 1966 when a band called The Crew was formed with the three core members who would anchor them for many years. A few years later the band name would change and many successful albums and tours would follow. Grobschnitt were an almost entirely German phenom, rarely playing elsewhere, but they were very successful in their home country. Their mix of musical styles would evolve and encompass psych, symphonic prog, and hard rock. They built a significant cult following similar to the Dead or the Mothers, by incorporating humor, costumes, and long, explosive stage performances.

This double disc set features mostly live selections from the early 1970s to the 1980s along with some alternate takes. Disc one is the real party, with enough glorious 70s prog to make your mouth water. After "Die Sinfonie" and "Nickelodeon" we get a 53-minute live version of "Solar Music" which is something to hear. Many delightful moments remind me of bands like Nektar, Novalis, and Eloy. It blends heavier symphonic with often spacey excursions and is almost entirely instrumental. Like the bands mentioned above Grobschnitt occasionally lose me with their lack of immediacy and not always gripping jams. But there are great moments primarily for the guitar fans, some really expressive and juicy lead work. The drumming and bass are really enthusiastic and driving at times, energetic. The second disc is far less convincing. The highlight is about 25 minutes from the popular "Rockpommel's Land" album, but not even this touches the material on the first disc. Ultimately there are fine moments here but I'm never quite grabbed like I want to be, maybe I just need to keep trying. It should also be noted that this collection intentionally plays down some of the theatrical vocal/humor dialogues in an effort to provide more focus on the instrumental side of the group for newer international listeners, thus the title.

I've never heard a Grobschnitt studio album but my intuition tells me that this live overview may not be a bad place for noobs to begin. You get a musical overview that touches all of their important albums, an hour long version of their signature track, and a fairly well done band history in the CD booklet. The sound quality is very respectable. Simply by taste the band maxes out at 3 stars for me but I can understand those who are more enthusiastic.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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