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Alrune Rod - Alrune Rod CD (album) cover

ALRUNE ROD

Alrune Rod

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Eponymous debut album from this quintessential Danish group Alrune Rod (Mandrake Root), which was highly touted in the underground scene for their disregard to commercial aspects of the music business. Indeed their heavy psych-prog, sung in Danish (apparently a first), sounds like a darker Vanilla Fudge or Floyd (between Saucerful and Atom Heart) was full of lengthy tracks with elongated solos, dark brooding vocals and multi-movement tracks. Graced with a very sexy psychedelic gatefold artwork, the album has gained a cult status in its homeland and the vinyl is fetching considerable price.

From the very first notes of the opening eponymous track (10-mins long), it is clear that this album is not wedding dancing party music, and should you find a woman willing to make out to it, get a grip on her and marry her! ;o)p) And if the AR track was not enough, wait till you get a load of the following 10-min Natskyggevej (yeah, bless you too! ;o), which is definitely even deeper and sombre with the ever-present organ. Even if sombre, the ambiances are actually often beautiful and sometimes solemn, but also menacing and spellbinding. Closing the A-side is the short and unusual Hvor Skalwhatchymacallit with some acoustic guitars and congas. Bassist Roden's voice can be an acquired taste, especially on tracks were vocals take a more upfront role.

The flipside only contains two more epics, starting with the 12-min 3-phase Bjergsangen which sounds much like its cousins, searing guitar lines, good base work and enthralling drum playing, but the middle section is a bit awkward and add to the feeling that the music also has an anaemic side to it. Ziegler's organ sounds like a cross of Banton meeting Jon Lord through Kaye or Wright, but fails to take the lead from Giese's fuzzed-out guitar lines. Closing the album is the 13-min+ Rejsen Hejm (Pardon my Danish) is the most dramatic of the album, and its dynamics are adding a bit of a third dimension to the album.

AR's debut album is not a really easy listen, especially given that the album is rather long, (approaching the 50 minutes), but should ravish organ-driven hard rock with a psych edge! Although likely to please most progheads, I'd warn those liking very complex symphonic rock (ala Yes or ELP), that they might not find what they're looking usually for in this group. Very close to being essential hippie icon, and to file next to Vanillage Fudge.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#133335)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow! That's what I thought when I finally heard Alrune Rod. Hailing from the same country as them, and having close ties to people who were members of the rock same music community/culture as Alrune Rod (and because of their status as psych rock pioneers in Denmark), I was aware of them, but being too young perhaps, I'd never listened to their music. When I finally got a hold on their debut album, I was struck by its dark athmosphere and intensity, which makes this album an interesting, but not an easy, listen. The vocals are primarily theatrical and not extremely melodi (this doesn't mean that the singing in atonal at all), and the vocals are very intense and dark, dealing with what seems to the psychological analogies partially inspired by Romanticist poetry and literature - but, honestly, I don't know if listeners who do not understand Danish are really missing out on anything here - my guess is that this albums is probably a tad easier to get one's head around if one does not have to worry about the lyrics too. This is an interesting album - nay, a good album - but it may take time to get one's head around.

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Send comments to Time Signature (BETA) | Report this review (#204760)
Posted Sunday, March 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars ALRUNE ROD were one of the pioneers of Psychedelic music in Denmark, they even sing in their native language. I really like some of the early spacey / psychedelic albums from the late sixties but to be honest this one seemed to lack something. The one song "Natskyggevej" is the exception as we get some dynamic playing and good guitar. Not a fan of the vocals either although I don't mind them most of the time.

"Alrune Rod" has an energetic intro with organ before settling right down with vocals a minute in. Contrasts continue right into the next track "Natskyggevej". Not a fan of the vocals 5 minutes in but the guitar that follows more than makes up for it. Organ follows the guitar. Heavy 10 1/2 minutes in followed by a calm with almost spoken vocals. It's heavy again before 13 1/2 minutes and I like the tasteful guitar solo before 15 minutes. Vocals sound poor late.

"Hvor Skal Jeg Se Solen Sta Op" is a short tune with strummed guitar, percussion and reserved vocals. "Bjergsangen" is divided into 3 parts and is a good example of "not much going on". Some good contrasts and I like the floating organ sections. At one point we get a sample of birds and water sounds. "Rejsen Hjem" is mellow to start but it builds before settling again. Some passionate vocals here.

Overall a good album but I had trouble getting into it.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#231198)
Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I think this record could have/should have been much better than it is. I find most of the LP to be disjointed and inconsistent. Some segments of it are truly awesome, but they are heavily punctuated with slow, heavy, and dragging passages that degrade the better sections and deform their music as a whole. Yes, I am sure this approach was deliberate, and that they were going for something that I am just plain missing. Perhaps repeated listenings would enlighten me. But for now, I've got to call it as I hear it. Grades - 1 B, 3 B-'s, and a C. Great psychedelic cover! For those who don't have a gatefold, what you see in the image of the front cover above is exactly 1 half of the complete picture, with the mirror image of the front on the back. Use your imagination!

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Send comments to fant0mas (BETA) | Report this review (#348575)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2010 | Review Permalink

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