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Amos Key - First Key CD (album) cover


Amos Key

Symphonic Prog

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Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars Amos Key is another one of those obscure, one-album gems. It is keyboard, bass, and drum, with emphasis on keyboards. There is some sparsely used guitar, but you'll have to listen closely to find it.

The obvious influences are Deep Purple (they even do a little homage in the middle of "Got the Feeling"), and especially E.L.P. Where E.L.P. would lighten the mood with an occasional novelty song, this band is able to maintain a bit of lightheartedness throughout. This is not to say it isn't serious music. There are times that even get a bit dark. The overall sense is that these guys refuse to take themselves too seriously. What all this means is that "First Key" is a lot of fun to listen to.

The music is complex, but very accessible. These are three talented musicians. The keyboards are immediately obvious, but the drums and bass almost take you by surprise. The music flows along, and then suddenly I notice how tight the drum part is. In the next moment, a machine gun bass line grabs my attention. The vocals could be stronger. Sometimes the accent is a bit heavy, and the mix is too low. However, it doesn't detract from the enjoyment. But enough of that, it's not wise to dissect it too much. As I said, this is fun stuff. Best to let the whole experience flow over you.

The basic sound may be derivative, but the attitude is genuine. It's too bad they only recorded one album. An entire career by Amos Key could have been something special. Try to find it if you can. It may not be essential, but it would definitely enhance any prog collection.

H.T. Riekels

Report this review (#114128)
Posted Saturday, March 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I just bought the first Amos Key album on CD, and I am extremely impressed with the level of musicianship and composition. This is strong, hard-driving organ, drum and bass progressive rock absolutely in the Emerson, Lake and Palmer vein. This is an excellent find and sounds more British than most other German Prog bands I have heard. I expect to listen to this album quite a bit, and I am a bit surprised that this group has not come up in conversation more- probably as they recorded only one record. This is a mostly instrumental record, and while the vocals are not exceptional, they do fit in well with the overall feel of the record.
Report this review (#134041)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars If you like the classical symphonic approach of bands like Ekseption or Atlantis Philharmonic then you’ll probably like these guys. There’s not a lot of information about the group available, but they clearly had classical music training and the compositions tend toward reinterpretations or inspirations based on classic composers; specifically, Bach, Beethoven and Shumann. The sound comes almost exclusively from synthesized keyboards and bass though, with a single guitar and drums added for definition.

These are shorter tracks then one typically hears on classical composer-inspired music, with most of them ranging from three to four minutes. Concepts are not fully fleshed out for the most part, and the result is an album that seems more like a sampler then a fully-developed work. The little-known Greek band Akritas put out a similar type of album the same year, and Ekseption and Atlantis Philharmonic’s main work was around the same time as well so I guess you might call this a movement of sorts. The proto comparison would be the Nice, although these guys are heavier and more organ-driven than any of those bands.

This is not a particularly memorable album, but it’s worth a spin or two if you come across it. The heavy prog number “Sometimes...” and jam-like “Important Matter” are the standout tracks, although the entire album is quite consistent in terms of its composition and sound.

The band attempted a follow-up but were overcome by events and time, so this is the only piece of music they have left for history. Not much else to say about them but to tack on the obvious three star rating. Recommended as something of a curio for symphonic rock fans.


Report this review (#169840)
Posted Sunday, May 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars An ELP feast......

The only release by this German band is a pretty good release, although it has it's major flaws. Style wise, this album is firmly in the synth symphonic prog category. I would compare the music here to ELP, Ekseption, Triumvirat and Deep Purple. The reason for Deep Purple is that Amos Key delivered a lot heavier music than the likes of ELP and Triumvirat. Amos Key is not as one dimensional as Ekseption was. The bass and the drums is also sharing the limelight with the synths on this album. Which is pretty rare for an album in this category. This album is therefore pretty rhythm orientated and catchy. There is even some half-decent vocals here.

So far, so good.

The problem is the lack of any good songs here. Even their version of Fur Elise falls a bit flat on it's face. There is nothing I will remember this album for. It is ticking over nicely in the background while the kettle is boiling and my butler is serving boiled eggs with prawns. That's all it does. I like the sound though so it is a weak three stars from me. But others more into this genre than me may found a good companion in this album.

3 stars

Report this review (#279674)
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Amos Key is a typical classically influenced symphonic prog rock band from Germany. Their line-up and the leading role of keyboards puts them in a group of 70's bands, such as ELP, Ekseption or Deep Purple, while Triumvirat and Tyburn Tall are the closest german bands to Amos Key in that era.

"First Key" was their first and sadly their last album. Their musical identity is evident from the moment the first notes of the album come out of the speakers. Heavy keyboard-orientated prog reminding of Keith Emerson's style. However, Amos Key were not an ELP (or Nice) clone, especially due to the comparativelly more "catchy" character of their songs. Appart from the wonderful melodies and solos of Thomas Molin, the bass lines of Andreas Gross are pounding throughout the album.

I have to admit that if the songs were better, this would be a forgotten gem. The truth is that originality was not the band's forte, and besides that the sound is very poor. However, if there was a second album we might have a different opinion on the maturity of this trio.

Report this review (#300299)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars The only one album released by this German trio has been often compared to ELP or also to the Nice, mainly because of the omnipresence of Emerson-like keyboards and the absence of guitar. There's some guitar in the album but it has more or less the same role that it has in Lake's hands. To me, this reminds more to Marian Varga and Collegium Musicum. The parts clearly inspired to classical music are more mittle-European respect to Emerson who usually looked after Russian composers. Respect to ELP they lack on vocals. Molin and Gross together can't compete with a singer like Greg Lake. (Neither Lee Jackson could, effectively).

There are rock parts. Knecht Ruperts can be compared to ELP's Living Sin for being hard. Got the Feelin is even harder. Other parts are clearly inspired by J.S. Bach, and this is when they get closer to Collegium Musicum. Unfortunately, they don't have the same originality of the Czech band so while I had the pleasure to rate Konvergencie with 5 stars, I can't do the same with Amos Key. This band was in possess of all the musical skill needed to release masterpieces, but they stopped after the first try. It's a pity, but this also means that if you like Emerson or Varga, you can enjoy this album but it won't add anything to what you already have. The typical 3-stars situation.

Report this review (#320091)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars Despite the changing of the times there are always those bands that refuse to move on when the rest of the world does and in the case of the German band AMOS KEY, this band cranked out a form of playing the classics symphonic prog that was best represented by the English band The Nice which was quite the rage in the late 60s. Despite the fact that AMOS KEY delivered a similar sound as late as 1974 on the band's first and only album titled FIRST KEY, the band did a pretty good job at nailing down the symphonically infused classical elements and adapted them nicely to heavier rock. Although this band wasn't the typical Krautrock band of the era, the band often appears on lists given the time and place from where it emerged.

This is one of those mysterious bands lost in the annals of history and buried beneath the mammoth pile of bands that were either more talented or successful but despite existing as a mere footnote in history, FIRST KEY is actually a very pleasant experience. This band consisted of Thomas Molin (keyboards, vocals), Andreas Gross (bass, guitar, vocals), and Lutz Ludwig (drums) and formed in the Bavarian city of Emmering. This power trio existed from 1970 to 1976 but only was able to release FIRST KEY therefore no second key would emerge until the year 2010. Just for a reference drummer Lutz Ludwig was a member of the psychedelic Kraut band Sub which is probably why this band is included on Krautrock lists despite not really sounding German at all.

FIRST KEY features nine short but sweet rocking the classics with only a couple tracks passing the five minute mark. This is very much a Bach, Beethoven and Schumann worshipping session as the band basically followed the rock aspects of the classical crossover Dutch band Ekseption which was a contemporary of The Nice, the better known. While mostly instrumental with the focus on classical organ runs over hefty guitar, bass and drums, the band crafted some interesting Deep Purple mimicry as the organ tones often emulate the great Jon Lord. This organ prog is feisty beast since despite the rather derivative nature of the music at hand which was about five years too late to the game, still exhibited a fiery passion from the members who were hell bent for leather to release an album as they swam upstream against the very different music scene of 1974.

While i would hardly deem FIRST KEY an essential prog pick by any means, the performances are indeed excellent as the musicianship is top notch and even the sparsely distributed vocals aren't that bad either. Somehow the band forged ahead through most of the 1970s but failed to release a second album. This is highly recommended for those who can't get enough of those rockin' the classics with Keith Emerson inspired keyboard flash in full display however unlike some of the cheesy examples of The Nice, AMOS KEY integrated the rock aspects into their sound perfectly. If this album HAD emerged five years earlier, AMOS KEY surely would've stood out as one of the most exciting early prog bands of the day because i personally actually like this album better than anything The Nice had done mostly because this one is totally consistent. A relic of history but one that is worthwhile for those digging deeper.

3.5 rounded down

Report this review (#2545854)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | Review Permalink

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