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Atomic Rooster - Death Walks Behind You CD (album) cover

DEATH WALKS BEHIND YOU

Atomic Rooster

 

Heavy Prog

3.82 | 184 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Sothoth
4 stars Out of the proggy bands releasing two albums in 1970, I can't think a band that changed so much in sound like these guys did between those albums in the same year. Their first album was basically keyboard-led jazzy prog rock with little to no guitars. This follow-up brings the guitar heaviness to the fore, resulting in a band that essentially is juggling progressive rock with workingman's hard & heavy rock. They largely succeed here by sticking to their strengths and not going overboard in either direction. The instrumentals, while being showcases for the players, don't feel like structureless noodling; it's all tightly composed with a rough edge to keep the non-proggy fans interested. Straight up rockers like "Tomorrow Night" have enough of a prog sensibility in their sound (I dig the opening piano melody) to set themselves apart from your typical barroom brawlin' band.

The overall sound of the band leans more towards Deep Purple than Black Sabbath, but with a more sustained Hammond organ focus while not overshadowing the guitar. The vocals aren't gonna knock yer socks off, but they get the job done within its range and actually work quite effectively during the title track, which is one bad mutha. Prog influences also show up for numbers like the mellow but ultra cool "Nobody Else", although that opening backwards blabbering is a bit of an annoyance.

This was the right thing to do to keep the band alive. Vincent Crane didn't waste time finding replacements for the drums, and getting a loud guitar into the mix gave Atomic Rooster some added cojones. The drumming and guitar playing is, by the way, excellent. Hammond (the drummer, not the instrument) is more of a straightforward basher than Palmer, but it works perfectly within the context of these songs, and even though I'm no fan of drum solos, I actually kind of like his solo during "Gershatzer".

When I think of 'atomic' I think of something powerful and potentially destructive beyond belief, and when I think of 'rooster' i think of something screaming and waking up dazed families at the crack of dawn. This album is where the band lived up to their name.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |

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