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Atomic Rooster - In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster CD (album) cover


Atomic Rooster


Heavy Prog

3.80 | 210 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I kept reading the name Atomic Rooster as I read reviews on this site and I finally figured that I had to check them out. I vacillated between buying Death Walks Behind You and In Hearing of, and in the end it was the song Head in the Sky that made me choose because one reviewer had noticed that the style was like a prototype of Wolfmother and I love their music, so I was intrigued.

By now, my prog explorations had taken me to Yes, Genesis, Rush, ELP, and the bands I already had in my collection, such as Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. I was developing a notion of how progressive rock should sound: complicated rhythm changes and odd time signatures, virtuosic playing of all instruments including bass and keyboards, songs over 10 minutes long, lyrics on a more enlightened level than just sex, cars and the life of a drifter or a criminal. A first listen though, I can't say this album really blew me away. Some of the songs just seemed too much like ordinary early seventies rock.

After a few more spins and some specific digging I found that some of the progressive elements I had sought were indeed there. On tracks like Breakthrough and A Spoonful of Bromide there are some interesting classical piano parts that add colour to the standard slightly funky or jazzy hard rock sound as well as some cool drumming with tricky rhythm. There is also the brass in the instrumental The Rock, which would figure more strongly on the Made in England album. And Head in the Sky indeed sounds like the grandfather of Wolfmother except it begins with some atrocious guitar playing in a flood of distortion in a very lame attempt to impress that this song is going to be a wild one.

There are other things about the album that don't really impress me. Pete French's guttural Joe Cocker-like voice doesn't appeal to me, sounding rather like a non-prog band's vocalist. Break the Ice is a catchy rock number but the bum-ba-de-dum keyboard repeating throughout the song has me wanting something more Emmerson/Wakeman/Lord-like. The guitar never really goes above standard rock either. I can't say any of the solos impressed me much and there is little in the way of inspiring riffs. Most of the guitar riffs also sound very mundane to me. Perhaps Messieurs Alex Lifeson, Steve Howe and Steve Hackett who have spent so much time recently in my ear buds have spoiled me for more standard playing.

In conclusion, I find this to be a pretty good rock album and at least three of the tracks are finding themselves selected for mixed playlists. But I can't say I can rate this highly as a prog album. Maybe I am missing something? Maybe I'll find it eventually.

FragileKings | 3/5 |


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