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Grobschnitt - Grobschnitt CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.91 | 190 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Although more associated with their later spacey and loopy cosmic prog, most of the self titled debut album from Grobschnitt is exciting, intelligent and forward-pushing 70's rock in the tradition of the earlier albums by fellow German acts Eloy, Jane and Birth Control, with a healthy dose of the Santana band and Pink Floyd. The music has quite a basic, plodding and repetitive sound, but filled with lengthy structured themes and jam- based parts. The lyrics are grounded in very human concerns like love, peace, romantic obsession and war, which makes the album easy to relate to and connect with. There's also something oddly upbeat and hopeful amongst the more somber moments throughout the album.

Opener `Symphony' has a grand and frequently repeated main theme, with slight Santana band influences in the electric guitar and organ washes, some urgent percussion, gorgeous mournful Rick Wright-styled organ and piano in the moody middle section with restrained and tasteful strings. All this before forceful percussion, commanding bass work and a near five minute extended Gilmour-esque epic guitar solo wrap up the piece amongst swirling electronic and cosmic effects! There's some very amusing fractured English lyrics translations, which I assume were not on purpose? For instance, "I am going, going to get you, trying to get you with my eyes, going to make you with my mind..." is brilliant and sweetly naive nonsense! Not sure if it's the band getting in early with their sense of humour or just badly translated, but it's strange that much of the rest of the album lyrics are fairly grounded!

The intro of `Travelling' has booming and very intimidating drums before heavy guitar strums transform the song into a upbeat and frantic cross between the mediterranean guitar style of Eloy's `Floating' and the screaming guitar runs of the early Santana albums. Shame about the rather abrupt fade out mid solo!

`Wonderful Music' is a hazy and sprightly foot-tapper with a folky acoustic guitar and flute dancing around the warm and heartfelt crooned vocals from Stefan Danielak. Still, there's something slightly haunted and reflective in his voice that gives the track a slightly uneasy feel, too.

Plodding bass and thunderstorm effects swirl around a foreboding bible passage read in German before dirty sprawling metallic riffs and militaristic marching drums stomp in. The piece becomes faster amd more uptempo with melodic guitar runs and passionate yet restrained vocals. "Sky is blue, but rain is whispering..." is a surprisingly lovely but ominous lyric. Shimmering organs before a very effective change of direction, slowing right down to the moody and spacious middle. Like the dark ambience of early 70's Floyd live, the low- key organ, spectral vocals and gentle guitar strums float around sounds of warfare and battle, before snappy percussion and quirky effects kick back in before a hugely emotional long bluesy guitar solo tears it's way through the rest of the piece.

I've been reviewing my LP copy, but apparently the remastered CD comes with a thirty minute bonus track that is a live interpretation of the opening piece with long and heavy improvisation sections. Maybe look into that version.

Really glad I kept at this one after being initially quite uninterested and let down by it. Now after flogging the heck out of it, playing it over and over to let it sink in, I've come to find it a hugely charming and energetic release. It's also become an album I play on drives all the time, so it's always in the car waiting for when I need a quick fix!

An easy four stars.

By the way, I'd love an interpretation of the striking front and back LP covers too, if anyone can offer some opinions!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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