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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
5 stars One of Germany's longer lasting bands had first started as Blitzkrieg (until they found out a British band used the name as well) and changed their name to Wallenstein and kept their former name for the album, gracing it with a war-themed gatefold cover. Produced by the unavoidable Dieter Dierks and released on the ultra collectible Pilz label in early 72, this debut album is stunning effort that transformed the 200 MPH speed notion into music. Keyboardist Jurgen Dollasse's very international group comprised of a Dutch bassist Berkers, an American guitarist Barone and fellow German drummer Grosskopf (big head), but clearly jurgen is the star of the show with his battery of keys, mainly piano, but harpsichord and mellotron, but surprisingly no organ.

Just four tracks on this corking red-hot album, all well above the 7-minutes, and not one weaker than the others. The 12-min instrumental Lunetic starts on harpsichord arpeggios, before the group is adopting a binary rhythm, until they break free of it and stroll on through constantly shifting patterns, with Barone pulling one or two solos over Dollasse's harpsichord. Less than halfway through the track, the track dies down, letting Dollasse (sole songwriter) slowly rebuild it back, but the man is taking his sweet time for our pure enchantment. What a performance, even if the track overstays its welcome by roughly one minute!! The 10-mins Theme is a no-less impressive slow starter, with Dollasse singing (3 minutes into the song) from behind his piano (but plays synth and mellotron as well), almost a one man show, but so well supported by Grosskopf's excellent drumming and Barone's discreet but efficient guitars. The track is a succession of seesaw moods that takes from exaltation to sadness to reflection inside the half-minute.

On the flipside, the 14-mins instrumental Manhattan Project is obviously the "pièce de resistance" (main course) in the Wallenstein menu; whatever they managed so wall on the A-side is here multiplied by four, the group shrewdly tearing spine chills and tears of joy from you, as it moves through the constantly evolving web of moods they spin around your dizzied brains. Closing the album is the almost 8-mins Audiences, Dollasse's singing (lacking the perfection of The Theme's vocals) giving way to a mellotron and the band picking their usual tricks and twists.

A stunning debut symphonic prog album, one of Germany's very best, Blitzkrieg is a must-belong in every proghead's collection, for fear that it wouldn't be worth a penny without it. What a corker this album is!!

Report this review (#19278)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars So you are looking for one of those little treasures from the underground 70's German prog scene and don't know where to spend your hard earned money... look no further my friends "Blitzkreig" is your answer. This was WALLENSTEIN's debut album and ranks for me as one of their brigest and defining moments. Truely a wonderful album which surprisengly takes on a much more symphonic feel than a true krautrock. The line up was Jurgen Dollase - piano, electric piano, Mellotron, keyboard, Bill Barone - guitar, Jerry Berkers - bass, vocals Harald Groskopf - drums (who would later play with Klaus SCHULZE and ASHRA. "Blitzkrieg" is composed of 4 long tracks which are all given lots of space to develop and just brush on the side of space rock with lots of great guitar, keyboards and drumming. I have the Spalax CD transfer and the sound repro is very good and offers great clarity in the instrumentation. Not sure why this recording has been slagged by so many people and all I can say is that this music lover loves it.
Report this review (#19279)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars This is the debut-album ('71) from WALLENSTEIN, a kind of international formation. From the very first second WALLENSTEIN will carry you away with their mind blowing sound on the four dynamic compositions (running time between 7 and 14 minutes): beautiful mellow moments but in general lots of propulsive rhythms and sumptuous outbursts with biting and blistering guitar work (from USA man Bill Barone), supported by sparkling piano, majestic Mellotron waves (by Jurgen Dollase) and a very dynamic rhythm-section, featuring the known Harold Grosskopf (Klaus Schulze) on drums and the Dutch Jerry Berkers on bass. An album with a unique sound, a bit raw but very exciting.
Report this review (#19282)
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first and arguably best album (although not my personal favorite) by this fondly remembered German band is one of the overlooked treasures of the early 1970s, and as close to a legitimate five star masterpiece as any near-miss can get.

The group began here as a quartet, led by keyboard maestro Jürgen Dollase on concert hall grand piano and mellotron (this was in late 1971, before Keith Emerson's ground-breaking Moog innovations had penetrated very deep into Continental Europe). The lack of any trendy synthesizers lends the album an air of primitive refinement, but make no mistake: the live-in-the-studio audio verité sound is louder and more aggressive than most keyboard-based Classical Rock, and unlike any of their more carefully produced later albums this one boasts a mildly lysergic edge, bringing it closer at times to the twisted spirit of Krautrock.

It's not a gentle trip either, despite the occasional detour into more traditional Prog lyricism. There's a crude orchestral splendor to some of the arrangements, and Dollase himself applies his weedy mock tenor to the pair of vocal tracks here. But it's on the two long instrumentals where the group really shines, in particular American guitarist Bill Barone, who throws himself into a couple of jams that make me want to reach for my blood pressure pills.

The aptly titled (and deliberately misspelled) "Lunetic" is suitably frenetic, with Barone soloing furiously over Dollase's spiky electric piano arpeggios, played at finger-breaking speed for twelve straight minutes. Elsewhere the more stately and episodic "Manhattan Project" builds to moments of near-epic grandeur over the course of its fourteen invigorating minutes, balancing the delicacy of a mellotron flute and grand piano with the raucous noise of Barone's over-amped electric guitar.

The band at this point had yet to style itself as "The Symphonic Rock Orchestra", but let's face it: who needs a numbskull label like that? Subsequent albums would trade some of the raw youthful energy here for a more sophisticated sound design, and suffer a little in the bargain. But for the time being this was as strong a debut as any group could brag of, and even today still shames a lot of what passes for original music.

Report this review (#19283)
Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Actually the best album made by Wallenstein next to « Cosmic centaury ». You can easily take this album as an other original and space rock product made in Germany. There are of course similarities with other bands as Eloy.but it's not at all krautrock. Less experimental, psychedelic and more orientated to structured songs sung in English with powerful and furious heavy rock sections, mixing a rock rhythm structure openly sustained by neo-classic keyboards. The opening track is epic, raw and hard.with spacey ingredients, just mind- blowing. "The theme" is a rather gentle, atmospheric composition introduced by piano parts and carry on by an intense & melodic heavy guitar solo. The two last titles show the capacity of the band to create both symphonic and powerful compositions, sometimes turning to a mellow ballad ("Audiences").
Report this review (#19284)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
4 stars Lunatic alone pushes this album into 4.5 star territory. It is an amazing song. Probably one of most under rated in the space/symphonic category. It just blows my mind!! And when you think you reach the climax a few minutes into the song you are hit with another burst of energy at the end! And don't get me wrong because the rest of the album is almost on par in the 4 star area but Lunatic gets the most plays.
Report this review (#54898)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There are 4 tracks on this album and only the 2nd and 4th contain vocals and even then, these are not full blown songs. The first track begins with keyboards playing a bit furiously and giving the basis for the guitar to join and accompany it. They, then play with each other, each time the other instrument playing the lead part. The music is frantic and a bit loony as the title suggests it. Then at about 4:40 it relaxes a bit and the show continues in the same vain only slower. At about 7:00 min it returns to the initial speed. The keyboards are played very fast and it is admirable. This is a very good track; relentless, ongoing energy flowing from it and it goes on for almost 12 minutes. Just don't expect the instruments to sound clear - The blurry sound if them is very fitting and gives this the mysterious touch that makes it even more compelling. Theme opens in a more majestic way with a piano sounding keyboard and a slower tempo. Then the supporting guitars and mellotron bring in more of the magic, and then the music halts a bit and in come for the first time the vocals. IMO, the vocals are the downside of this album, cause more powerful and enthusiastic vocals could have given this much more of an impressionable effect. Towards the end of the 5th minute the music starts speeding up and the interplay between the different instruments begins again - this is where the blues and rock side of this band shows. They do a fantastic job at this. At 7 min's the music stops and the piano resumes its role as leader of this song with the original tune, which sounds, as I said, majestic. And again the rest of the band joins and accompanies the piano. This is a basic structure: initial tune performed by one instrument, the band joins in s and amplifies the sound, improvisations on the tune, back to the roots of the tune, and overall ending. Manhattan Project, the longest track at almost 14 min's, is perhaps the best. The music itself is beautiful and the musicianship is very good and there are variations in this song to the basic format I mentioned in order to keep things interesting. This track is more emotional in nature, slower overall, and the piano/keys play the major part. It is too bad the guitar is kept behind, sound wise. It should have been brought forth during the mixing, (or whatever procedure is done when producing an album) in order to be fully appreciated. Another thing is the song's ending, which should have been shortened a bit, as it sort of, drags on a bit. Audiences begins with the piano again and immediately the vocals by Berkers. It starts as an old rock song and goes on like this until ~2:10 when the piano and the percussions decide to change the atmosphere to something more proggy and with more interesting tempo until about 4 min where it relaxes and at ~6:30 the song resumes its origins. To me this the weakest track, but still very good. It could have sounded better, had it been for the feeble sound of the mellotron in the back. Why was it done like this? Maybe production obstacles.

Overall this album is very pleasing and enjoyable. There is excellent musicianship and beautiful music. I love to listen to it and enjoy it always. What I think should be here, are maybe more than just guitar and keyboard shows of ability and more compositional demonstration. Manhattan Project is thus the best track cause it does aspire to this, but does not quite make it. Some instruments are too weak sounding to be fully appreciated (Mellotron, Guitars) and that is a shame. In spite of these, I think this is a necessary album in every prog fan CD library. Therefore, I give it 4 stars.

Report this review (#76639)
Posted Saturday, April 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars German band Wallenstein's debut had been a perfect hybrid between dynamic, energetic space rock and classically inspired Prog and most probably the best album they did ever. This band revealed a very nice self-contained style never sounding like a rip-off of the big seminal bands, at least on their first three releases which are the only ones I listened to so far. Though being mostly on the hard edge the four compositions presented here are highly melodic with delicate piano play contrasted nicely by heavy guitar played by US-American Bill Barone in a kind of "Krautrock"-fashion. If there are any weak points to be mentioned at all then it might be the lacklustre vocal presentation but the instrumental sections are prevailing here anyway. Finally I just can say that this record has passed the test of time well with me and I can highly recommend it to anyone looking for some Prog between bombastic Symphonic and raw Krautrock.
Report this review (#102571)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I got this cd in late 2004 through mail order for US$20,and I can say I got my money's worth.Here is my review.."Lunetic'',which is about 12 minutes long,is a heavy rock song with guitar work and swirling keyboard's that just rocks out and almost never lets up.In fact,this song is one of my favorite's in a list of many song's.Early '70's DEEP PURPLE comes to mind when I hear this.Next up is ''Theme''(9'47),which is a melodic rocker,with mellow and rocking moments,along with piano,flute,and guitar work.''Manhatten Project''(13'47)starts out at a somewhat quick pace during the first 2 minutes,then slows down some for the next 5 minutes,and has some great piano and guitar work.The tempo picks up again at 7 minutes into the song,and sounds almost jam-like for pretty much the rest of the song.''Audiences'',which is just over 7.5 minutes long,sounds more like a rock ballad,in most cases.In all,a great cd.
Report this review (#113888)
Posted Wednesday, February 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars What an excellent debut album from WALLENSTEIN. Classically trained pianist Jurgen Dollase takes a prominant role in this record, not only with his amazing playing but he composed all four songs as well. And the drumming courtesy of Harald Groskopf is very well done.These two guys would play together again with THE COSMIC JOKERS, and Harald would play drums on some of the later ASHRA albums. Another THE COSMIC JOKERS connection would be the guest appearance of Deiter Dierks doing some phasing on the first track "Lunetic". Dierks would go on to become a famous record producer in Germany. I can't leave out American Bill Barone on lead guitar who is outstanding !

"Lunetic" is an uptempo song with energetic guitar and light keys leading the way. Harald is very busy on the drums 4 minutes in. Some scorching guitar melodies 8 minutes in.This would be the only song without mellotron. "The Theme" is my favourite track on this album. Piano and cymbals to open as drums and some aggressive guitar comes in. Mellotron after 2 minutes as we get some English vocals that remind me of Peter Hammill. Great sound 3 minutes in. We then are treated to some blistering guitar solos followed by relentless drumming. As the song plays out the guitar comes flying in out of nowhere. Nice.

"Manhatten Project" opens with a piano, drum and guitar melody that mellows out a little after 2 minutes. Enter some great lazy guitar melodies as drums and piano play with more subtlety. Some wondrous tempo changes follow. Great tune ! "Audiences" features some piano and light drums as mellotron rolls in. Some brief vocals followed by drums and piano again leading the way. Mellotron is back and it sounds heavenly ! Vocals are back too.

This is an album I can highly recommend, and would go as far as saying that it is a must for fans of Krautrock.

Report this review (#125629)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Wallenstein's debut "Britzkrieg" is a frenetically paced affair, replete with Kraut rock styled organ, guitar, and frenzied drumming workouts. Mellow passages are strewn throughout, with "The Theme" resting in that realm the longest, featuring some sumptuous piano in the mix, but this is a high energy, mostly instrumental album for those who like their prog served with extended jams. The opening cut pretty much demonstrates it all. Ultimately, it's really only for fans of this style, for whom more is more. I really cannot enter its molten core the way I can with, say, Grobschnitt's "Solar Music Live" which appeared later in the decade, or Eloy's "Inside" that came out a couple of years after. It nonetheless delivers on the promise of its title.
Report this review (#156566)
Posted Tuesday, December 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Quite a frenzied album, Blitzkrieg largely delivers energy at the expense of an interesting direction. In terms of instrumentation, the album relies heavily on various keyboards, lengthy guitar solos, and occasional intergalactic synthesizer tones, creating a blend of symphonic and space rock. Occasional individual parts may stand out, but all in all, I find Wallensteins take on this fusion greatly lacking in ideas. It is difficult to follow at best and downright irritating at worst.

"Lunatic" Expect a lot going on here. Lead guitar, harpsichord, and a semi-classical ELP-like series of energetic chord structures get filtered through some spacey flange effect. The one coherent major theme is repeated to an annoying degree.

"The Theme" Gentle piano ushers in an okay rock sound with a decent guitar solo. Soft Mellotron and piano serves as a basis for aged-sounding vocals. In this respect, it reminds me somewhat of early King Crimson. The jaunty, clichéd chord progression returns for a lengthy guitar jam in the vein of Eric Clapton.

"Manhatten Project" Pounding percussion and gritty lead guitar create an incoherent introduction. As the piece slows down, ethereal piano and further guitar assume control. Midway through, it gains tempo and a sputtering excuse for a guitar solo.

"Audiences" The final track is the shortest one, and it's essentially soft 1970s classic rock (think Elton John or Billy Joel). It starts to get interesting just before the halfway point, as the tempo rises and the music builds, but sadly the band does absolutely nothing with the tension. It fizzles out into a pleasant piano solo.

Report this review (#291233)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Born in October 1971,WALLENSTEIN started their career as ''Blitzkrieg'',before finding out about the English rock band with the same name,under the forces of keyboardist Jürgen Dollase,drummer Harald Grosskopf,Dutch bassist Jerry Berkers and American guitarist Bill Barone.In just two months time the quartet managed to compose four long pieces in Studio Dierks in Stommeln, near Cologne ,which meant to be the band's first full length album.This came out soon after (early 1972) on the Pilz label.

STYLE: This is somewhat complex keyboard-driven Progressive Rock with numerous tempo changes and a frenetic jammy atmosphere in the air.''Lunetic'' is an unbelievably schizophenic all-instrumental opening piece of Classic keyboard-based Progressive Rock with tons of harpsichord battling with a fast and furious rhytm section for no less 11 minutes.''The theme'' is a complete song in all its aspects.While starting with some sort of psychedelic guitars,grandiose mellotron and calm vocals by Jerry Berkers,it later turns into a massive Classic Rock piece supported by fast piano and close again in the opening way with cymbals,flutes and piano on the front.The long ''Manhatten Project'' follows a slow tempo with psych overtones,a dark atmosphere and a heavy amount of piano and mellotron,before things lighten up with the band showing again its jamming side until the mellow ending.''Audiences'' will start in a ballad way,soon to become an ELP/TRIUMVIRAT number with nice bass work and a growing tempo.The track will end the way it started.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: ELP had to have been a great influence for the band along with KING CRIMSON.Add some doses of NOVALIS in the quieter parts,but definitely WALLENSTEIN had their own identity as a band.

PLUS: Excellent individual performances and a good dose of interplays to satisfy the demanding prog listener.Very good news comes from the varied and consistent keyboard work.A very rich album in sounds and styles,ranging from Psych and Classic Rock to Symphonic Rock with Classical leanings.

MINUS: The longer pieces are too jammy for my tastes,especially the first one,without overcoming the band's nice performance.Pianos are somewhat over-used at moments,from the most bombastic to the softer parts.Vocals are rather mediocre.

WILL APPEAL TO:...certainly the Symphonic/Classic Prog audience,but the sight and sounds in ''Blitzkrieg'' are changing so fast,that even a Fusion fan will find something to like in here.

CONCLUSION: The album has so plenty to offer,that musically it's a bit of a mess with something constantly going on.A more focused style would possibly make me like it more...but again this is a very strong release...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#295998)
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I had never heard of this obscure german band until recently. I was curious about it and got their debut album called Blitzkrieg (in fact, their former moniker before they changed it when they realized there was already a british band with that name). They had a kind of international line up, something quite unsual for the early 70´s: Jürgen Dollase (keyboards) and Harald Großkopf (drums) were germans, but guitarrist Bill Barone was american and bassist Jerry Berkers, dutch. However, the leader of the show is Dollase, for he wrote all the music and lyrics. So if you like keyboard-dominated prog, this is a goo pick.

At first I didn´t like this CD a lot. And I still think that the opener, Lunatic, is not of my liking. It has too many early 70´s cliches for my taste. For that time I guess it was new and bold, but nowadays it just sounds repoetitive, chaotic and pointless. However, things go pretty much ok from then on. Nothing too groundbreaking mor original, but good anyway. Dollase is the main man here, but Barone has the chance to shine several times with some fiery guitar lines (quite psychedelic and bluesy), while the remaining members do also quite well. The music is a mix of symphonic prog and krautrock, with some more accessible stuff thrown in for good mesure (there are only four tracks and the two with vocals are quite melodic and simple).

If you´re looking for that typical prog sounds of the early 70´s you´ll probably like this CD very much. There are lots of piano and mellotron. Strangely there is no Hammond organ, something quite strange concerning prog bands in general and german bands in particular which seemed to have elected the organ as the main keyboard instrument, sometimes the only keyboard in the band (listen to early Jane and Eloy, just to mention two). I don´t know if the original production was that good or if this is a remastered version, but my Ohr CD has a very clean sound.

Rating: 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#296013)
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wallenstein's supposingly best album (and the only one I own) is weird thing. Charmed me with its cover - yes, I sometimes decide with opinion backed only by my impression of beauty of cover art, this time metallic madness of warfare, which kindly accompanies this music - some kind of steel plates with few of them being bend.

Beautiful, that's probably what will you think about when listening this. Melodic, truly symphonic album (keyboards / piano reigns here mostly, through most of the track's length), but without being non-original, without being cheap and stealing here or there, simply fine sound that a lot of bands would envy.

Lunetic starts, as Wallenstein guys likes with keyoards & guitars duet (both being equal in resulting sound). The song is basically one wild ride without rest. But The Theme is more subtle. Mellow piece reminding me Troya's Point of Eruption a little bit.

Tracks are divided here into wilder-calmer-wild-calmest simply.

Manhatten Project is probably the weakest piece here (but it's hard to find weak one anyway), with big part of it being taken by solos on various instruments (holy three - guitar, keyboard, drums). Audiences starts as ballad, but soon turns into good old keyboards heaven (piano actually) with gentle mellotron sealing the track.

4(+), well recommended. It's weird that at first, people were rating this album with 4-5 stars, then after some time, ratings suddenly dropped to 2-3, where they stayed. So who's right ? Probably all of us.

Enjoy this, it's what 70s Prog is about.

Report this review (#297532)
Posted Sunday, September 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The least that I can say about this WORK is that when you listen to the first notes of the opening number you instantly know that you are in front of quite a special album!

"Lunetic" is by no means a lunatic affair. The entire contrary. It is an extraordinary psyche rock song with a fantastic beat all the way through. The attacking guitar is from another world and the whole rhythmic section plays outstanding. This long track (just over the 12 minutes mark limit) is truly amazing. A jewel of psyche-rock music. A highlight of course.

The guitar ?oriented side of this album is underlined again with "The Theme". But the theme of music is completely different. This time, we are brought back to the full symph style: melodic, sweet, soft? with some tranquil mellotron in the background. Again, this is a solid piece of music: should I say a second highlight? The second half of the song though is completely crazy again.

Needless to say that if you are expecting some quietness; you'd better be prepared. The few peaceful moments here are mixed with the most incredible and powerful ones! What a great mix indeed!

My passion for this work declines somewhat with the third and longest song. "Manhattan Project" sounds too much self indulgent to my taste. Lush keyboards, bombastic atmosphere but some sort of pompous feel are dominant. Still, when all these defects disappear, the flute and tranquil piano are an enchantment. This track holds several different parts though; and I guess that each one can "feed" your prog heart. Just grab what your mood tells you to do?

This album is almost all instrumental and demonstrates quite a high technical skill. Quite an achieved work that deserves four stars with no ambiguity.

Report this review (#306917)
Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I had to develop into appreciating Blitzkrieg by Wallenstein as i do now, it's complexity and musical sincerity taking a while to fully comprehend. Now that i do understand things, i have one main word for this music-brilliant! Complex Symphonic Prog is like that, and this album is so delightful in so many ways.

The music on Blitzkrieg is mainly instrumental, and so be it, though the album has a hard edge to it, with some aggressive guitar work in the mix, it is tempered by the always eloquent keyboard work of Jurgen Dollase. Yes, Wallenstein blast you and move you in the same breath, and that is not something to be taken for granted with a rock group. This music is so intelligently crafted, and you can tell that Dollase has had classical music training, with the way he plays, and the way everything is connected.

There is no filler in Blitzkrieg, and the lengthy instrumental passages where there is a lot of interplay between guitar and keys always have a point to them, and a mind-blowing technique is displayed that never betrays a great emotional feel that keeps the listener thrilled from start to finish, on every number.

This debut was a hard act to beat, it being so well done, but the band would end up putting out some more incredible records before things changed for the worse years later, with a creeping pop drivel that ended up totally abandoning the brilliance evident in this debut masterpiece. It was unfortunate that things did change, but it was unavoidable, and happened to the best of the seventies progressive acts, no matter how great.

There is so much going in Blitzkrieg, technically, emotionally, that it keeps you coming back for more and thus stands the test of time very well, the result being a five star masterpiece.

Report this review (#630479)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wallenstein was a German symphonic rock band which produced nine studio records between 1971 and 1981. Blitzkrieg from 1971 is their debut album and it has a hard and steel filled cover which give the record a heavy and war-like look. Before I listened to this album, I also heard Mother Universe, but I use to begin from the beginning so Blitzkrieg was a better beginning. The musicians here present, are Bill Barone who plays guirar and sings, Jerry Berkers who plays bass and sings, Jürgen Dollase who plays keyboards and mellotron and sings and Harald Grosskopf who drums.

I think they do a praiseworthy job on the whole album. They hammer on their music in a heavy and forward looking mode with musical esctasy. On the first track "Lunatic" it directly became obvious for me that this music seemed vital and living. They do rocked with keys, guitarr, bass and drums. "The theme" then includes vocals just as "Audiences" even if that is just a parathesis, the vocals on the last track though sounds almost like the voice of Peter Gabriel. "Manhatten Project" is perhaps the best track on the album. Here all the bands fantasies are being shown and they whirl through a wonderous trance.

Over all I find this music healthy and very vivid. It wasn't at all the most creative prog album I have heard but at least a true honest one. I mean this album should have four stars!

Report this review (#1155829)
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars Wow oh wow. If you ever wondered when shredding began then you can go back as far as 1971. That's right, 50 years ago may not bring such things to mind but all it takes is a listen to this debut album BLITZKRIEG by the German band WALLENSTEIN to realize that many things had already developed so very long ago. This was a band from Viersen, Germany that sort of latched onto the early world of Krautrock but quickly transcended it due to the virtuoso classical training of keyboardist Jürgen Dollase who took this band into an entire new level of technical prowess. While the other musicians were extremely talented, it's clear that Dolasse was the star of the show with some of the most outrageous keyboard playing that knock Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson down the totem pole.

Formed in 1971 as BLITZKRIEG, the quartet of Dolase (keys, mellotron, lead vocals, sole composer), Dutch bassist Jerry Berkers, American guitarist Bill Barone and fellow German drummer Harald Großkopf discovered that the moniker had already been taken by an English band and opted for something of a similar nature by naming itself after the Thirty Years' War commander Albrecht von Wallenstein. This band was also one of the longest survivors of the early Kraut scene lasting from 1971-82. It is also notable for Kraut fans that it was produced by Dieter Dierks and released on the Pilz label.

Since the band name was taken, WALLENSTEIN used BLITZKRIEG as the first album title but also is appropriate in that it perfectly embodies the frenzied assault of the senses that must've taken everyone by storm in the year 1971. This sort of fast tempo musical barrage was unheard of that far back. The opening misspelled "Lunetic" is completely unhinged with the most frenzied rockin' the classics keyboard, guitar, bass and drum attacks that i've ever heard from this era! Perhaps one of the best integrations of classical music, psychedelic rock and early heavy metal i've ever experienced. The album features four tracks with the opening "Lunetic" and "Manhattan Project" featuring all instrumental virtuosic performances and "The Theme" and "Audiences" adding some vocals. While the instrumental parts are 5 stars across the board, the vocal performances while scarce drop the overall wow factor down a bit.

What's beautiful about this album is that Dollase was about as skilled of a classically trained pianist as it gets yet nothing on this album sounds like it was hijacked from classical masters of the past. All of the music sounds totally original and presented in full enthusiasm. The opening "Lunetic" is probably one of the most adventurous and satisfying tracks in all of 1971 with an energetic overdrive that far exceeds anything that was considered heavy metal or hard rock during the same era. The intricate changes in style throughout the album are enthralling with attention paid to every instrumental detail. It's just too bad that Dollase didn't try to find a highly competent vocalist to fill in the last remaining slot. While Dollase may have been a modern day Bach or Mozart, his vocal abilities while competent did not match the intensity of the music. If only Inga Rumpf would've joined forces, this could've been the German version of Yes!

Oh the would've's could've's! Any way you slice it, this is by far WALLENSTEIN's best album because the next album would focus more on vocal tracks and as heard on this debut BLITZKRIEG, it's clearly the instrumental aspects of this band that made them stand out amongst the legions of Kraut acts out there. While some bands like Amon Duul II and Can were going for the lysergic jugular, WALLENSTEIN had the perfect answer to The Nice by cranking things up several notches. This is a highly recommended album for anyone into all things rockin' the classics from the late 60s / early 70s timeline and it doesn't get any better than the insanely quickened and competent key gymnastics displayed on BLITZKRIEG form Dollase and his team of competent musical friends. While Dollase is the star of the show, the bass, guitars and drumming are WAAAAY above average for the era as well.

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Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2021 | Review Permalink

WALLENSTEIN Blitzkrieg ratings only

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