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Mythos - Mythos CD (album) cover





3.62 | 102 ratings

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3 stars Mythos was a band that never managed to fully crack the Cosmic Egg, but then again they weren't really trying very hard. The group in its prime released only two studio albums, neither one achieving the timeless quality of other Krautrock classics, and with only multi-instrumentalist Stephan Kaske surviving the complete overhaul of personnel between them.

But they had a certain flat-footed charm not uncommon among second-division Krautrock bands. And, contrary to its trippy amateur cover art, their debut album opens with an unexpected classical flute piece, borrowed from Handel and reminiscent of JETHRO TULL's "Bourée". Hardly kosmische material, but like so many other musical and spiritual quests of that era the journey then turned eastward for inspiration, adding sitars, tabla-like percussion, and more than enough studio echo to hide the sometimes painfully insecure vocals.

The boilerplate space jamming of "Hero's Death" is clumsy but fun, especially when Stephan Kaske's voice begins cracking like a teenager on the brink of puberty. And then there's the two-part "Encyclopedia Terra", filling all of Side Two on the original vinyl with yet another Saucerful of the same Floydian Secrets that influenced so much of the Krautrock scene, but showing a somewhat tighter conceptual focus than other kindred freakouts.

The eighteen-minute long track is quite ambitious in a superficial sort of way, although the apocalyptic sound effects can be cheesy at times: synthesized air raid sirens and detonations, followed by an armistice of bird song and a lone, tolling bell. All of which leads to the song's miraculous aftermath: a haunting narration at the end of the world, related in world-weary Germanic English. These last few minutes of the album are maybe the highlight of the entire Mythos discography, revealing a stark pessimism far ahead of the trite Hair Peace, Bed Peace mentality of the time, and easily bumping my own rating of the album up a notch.

At their intermittent best Mythos was not unlike a de-clawed HAWKWIND, or maybe early PINK FLOYD without the architectural education (all the band members were high school dropouts). In other words, hardly an essential experience, but certainly worth another look to Krautrock completists.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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