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Amon Düül II - Carnival In Babylon CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II



3.53 | 142 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Amon Duul II: Carnival in Babylon [1972]

Rating: 5/10

Carnival in Babylon is the fourth album from the influential German krautrock group Amon Duul II. This album shows the band moving away from the crazy experimental krautrock that they developed on their first three releases and towards a more mainstream brand of psychedelic rock. This is not a pop album by any means, but all of these tracks are much more straightforward and concise; the vocals take on a much larger role and the instrumentation is much lighter and more melodic. There are certainly no eighteen-minute ambient explorations to be found here. As a fan of experimental psychedelic music, I'm rather dissatisfied with the musical direction presented here. However, there is still a fair share of excellent guitar work, and the band does manage to pen some nice instrumental hooks.

"C.I.D. in Uruk" opens the album with Zappaesque mallet percussion and violin. This a very light folk piece overall, but the electric guitar solos turn it into a fairly interesting psychedelic piece. "All the Years Round" is largely centered on Renate's sub-par vocals. This woman's voice is quite off-putting to me, and none of the instrumentation is interesting enough to distract me from it. "Shimmering Sand" is another dull psych-rock song that is slightly saved by the guitar soloing. "Kronwinkl 12" verges on outright psychedelic pop, but is actually one of the better tracks on the album. It's catchy and has some nice guitar hooks. "Tables Are Turned" is another pop tune. It's completely uninteresting; I don't have much to say about it. The nine-minute closer "Hawknose Harlequin" is the closest the album comes to pure krautrock; it features long guitar jams and a repetitive rhythm section. While it is a decent track, the band had already done many like it before.

Carnival in Babylon is a significant step down for Amon Duul II. This is strange, considering that the excellent Tanz Der Lemminge was released only a year earlier. Everything that the band had been working towards on their original trilogy of albums seems to get thrown out here. The entire album has a sterile sound, and many of the tracks seem to focus on all the wrong things. However, a few redeeming qualities save the album from total mediocrity. The electric guitar soloing is excellent as always, and the instrumental melodies are often quite good. Both of these strong points are weakened by the restrictive song structure, though. This format is much too narrow for the band's signature free-form psychedelic sound. Amon Duul II tried to adapt their style on this release, but the result was a middle-of-the-road effort that can easily be avoided by most.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |


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