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Lied Des Teufels / ex Hanuman - Lied Des Teufels CD (album) cover


Lied Des Teufels / ex Hanuman


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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
3 stars After Hanuman released their one and only unique Krautrock album in 1971, the crowded world of the burgeoning progressive rock scene in Germany didn't exactly open up for them and with the lackluster response of their very good album came the first hemorrhaging of band members. The main instrumental leader and organist Wolf-Rüdiger Uhlig jumped ship and instead of replacing him with another keyboardist, the band carried on by not only replacing him with a guitarist (which the first album lacked) but also decided to go for broke and change the band name to LIED DES TEUFELS (Song Of The Devil). The change is profound as it totally changed the symphonic prog Krautrock aspects of the band into a more heavy blues rock style that still incorporated progressive rock elements but clearly put them on simmer as the songs on the second eponymous album under a different band name were more melodic and focused on catchy riffs rather than the kaleidoscope of Kraut that Hanuman utilized.

The results of this change are mixed. There are clear weaknesses and there are clear sophomoric improvements. The positive aspects are tighter instrumental performances that offer more memorable hooks and would certainly appeal to anyone who puts melodic developments first and foremost above progressive elements that display complexity for complexity's sake. The downside comes due to the fact that these guys weren't quite capable of pulling off the melodic hard rock with progressive overtone music that they were striving for. While the musical chops are all in order, my main complaint is that the vocals of Peter Barth aren't quite ready for prime time and the proof is in the pudding if you compare the vocal segments to the instrumental ones on this album. Personally i feel this album is strongest on the first three tracks and then loses steam and becomes a tad redundant. 'Wenn Du Fragst' (When You Ask) is a nice little bass hopper that has a groovy rhythm and nice break with sustained backing vocals and tasty songwriting strategies and although at a less than four minute timing displaying a less progressive leaning, the band is quite effective in retaining a Krautish heavy rock atmosphere.

The real progressive treat is on track number two 'Nichts' (Nothing) which at 9:43 is the powerhouse of the album despite 'Ich Bin Nur Ein Kind' (I'm only a child) clocking it at 10:17 because 'Nichts' is actually interesting. It begins with a nice bass line followed by cymbals and then has some beautiful vibraphones join in. It brings a nice lounge lizard jazz cat's vibe into fruition as the guitars back the groovy ever strengthening rhythmic section and then at 1:43 the jam gives way to a heavy guitar riff that plays off an alto sax run with cool drum rolls. It all stops again and turns into a psychedelic slow atmospheric build up with Peter Barth reciting a spoken word litany in the German language. These different sections trade off and sometimes run together. This is my favorite track on the album as it weaves a jazzy vibe in a rock context but instead of creating a normal type of fusion makes it feel like the two styles are merely dancing with each other instead of getting married. The guitar sections are strong as are the sax solos.

'Steht Nicht Abseits' (Don't stand aloof or alone) is probably the catchiest track on the album, one where the ear worms are so strong i can't get this one out of my head the rest of day after i hear it. This is due to the ÜBER-catchy chorus. It's all catchy actually as it begins with a nice guitar riff and slow build up to the chorus. This is the point where you realize that LIED DES TEUFELS is going for a more mainstream heavy rock sound which when sung in German is often referred to as Deutschrock. The song is fairly straight forward rock in style with flute incorporated but it is stretched out and parts repeated to get 7:08 out of it. I'm loving the song for its cheerful upbeat feel but it is apparent that this type of rock requires a more versatile vocalist than Peter Barth is capable of delivering.

The second half of the album is decently done but is a tad less captivating than the first half as it sounds like the band are going through the motions and becomes even more cringe worthy in the vocal department which is my main complaint for this album although there are some outstanding instrumental sections that are excellent in their execution. The songwriting definitely holds up well but unlike the Hanuman album where the vocals weren't the main focus and the instrumental prowess was, this album is made to focus around a strong vocalist that unfortunately isn't on board. The goofy underwhelming lyrical delivery becomes more clear on tracks like 'Gott, Geld Und Freiheit' (God, Money and Freedom). My imagine runs wild when i listen to this and can hear a much more dynamic vocalist breathing untold life into the many of these tracks. Unfortunately LIED DES TEUFELS didn't catch on even within Germany and released one more ridiculously obscure album and then disappeared never to be heard from again. Too bad. The band had a knack for really brilliant songwriting and with a more gifted vocalist on board could have been as popular as the Scorpions, well talentwise, with all the usual luck and breaks that create such success.

3.5 but rounded down for PA because this just doesn't hold up in the progressive arena as did the debut

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Posted Sunday, May 1, 2016 | Review Permalink

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