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Grobschnitt - Rockpommel's Land CD (album) cover



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5 stars For me this is the album of all albums.......This is certainly one of the most brilliant prog recordings ever. Based on a very captivating child-like concept, GROBSCHNITT take you clearly into their (Ernie's) own world via a winged like loyal creature named Maraboo. This recording shows GROBSCHNITT's amazing musicianship and song writing skills... The music is lush and runs nicely along as each song builds on each another. This is an essential recording and needs to be listened to without any distractions loud! In many ways I get a strong YES-like feel to it, but of course never sounding to close to YES.
Report this review (#19523)
Posted Friday, March 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now i know that Grobschnitts´s : "Solar music" are supposed to be their best album!! But my opinion their absolute best moment..that being:"Rockpommel´s land" Despite the english(with a german accent)Vocals...i stilll find this, their absolute best!! Llisten to this extremely sound and expertly executed album!! Yes i know....."Solar music" a wonderfull piece...and i love it!! BUT !!! This is by far the most complete/superb piece of kraut/prog music ive ever heard!! The keyboards and the vocals (Yes, like)the arrangements....whooaaa!! This is a GEM by any standard!! Track 2 actually reminds me of Nektar!! Back on track, these guys really are their own!! Grobschnitt are the real thing..... Stars? I dont know??? How would you rate them?? OK.OK...4 stars..i suppose!? Track 3 ...absolutely baffled me...the vocal (sounded originally English) It only goes to never can tell...the difference...of a prog friend and a progfriend!! friends.....4 stars!!! Never heard of Grobschnitt???´s the the chance!! their name actually spells: Rough cuts!! If anything they´re NOT !!!
Report this review (#19524)
Posted Friday, April 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Masterpiece is exactly what this album has to be called forever!!! Perhaps, its the best prog album produced in Earth on 20th Century and only masterpieces of Classical Music by Mozart, Bach or other great master could receive a equal avaliation... A few albuns on prog rock may deserve a equivalent note, but none a better. Some beautiful lyrics, a guitar solo fabulous, a singer and rhythm guitar in a great moment, a perfect drummer, a magical keyboard player and a great bass player, and more, one of the most beautiful cover ever... Grobschnitt has to be considered one of the best prog band in all time!!!
Report this review (#19526)
Posted Sunday, June 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is the only progrecord I know you can relax to. The acousticguitar intro leads you right into the world of "Ernie's Reise" and even the street noise (with the car crash and a man shouting) in "Severity Town" does not bother the listeners mind. "Anywhere" is one of the most beautiful ballads I know (even though the whistling is a bit out of tune). Finally you get lost in "Rockpommel's Land". The bonus-track "Tontillion" just carries the spirit of "Rockpommel's Land" on and allows you to fly even longer.
Report this review (#19527)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3,5 stars maximum!

IMHO, this is one of the most over-rated albums on the Archives. It is still good and will please the majority of progheads but everything about this album spells lack of personality! Even down to the false Roger Dean cover (although a good drawings, it borrows everything to the master), the relatively hollow concept (a boy Ernie escaping to a dream world with some kind of huge bird piloting him around ) , and very borrowed sounds from some of the English super-prog bands of the time.

The songwriting is impeccable and the musicianship never flashy staying very subdued to serve well the music , excellent high-strung vocals are the main positive points to this album! On the downside, I can point out a lack of energy and real inspiration, but I personally always found late 70's German symphonic rock (with the notable exception of Epidaurus's debut album) the same flaws. Novalis, Holderlin (except for their fabulous debut), Anyone's Daughter, and many more are there to prove my point. If you want the real essence of Grobschnitt, get the live album; the best proof that they could be full of energy.

Actually the best track on this album is IMHO the bonus track that grew out of a jam. Tontillon starts with some beautiful bells and other percussion to slowly build up to a heavenly end wishing that this tune would last for twice the length it did! Rarely has a bonus track bettered a rating of an album in my book, but it is the case here.

Report this review (#19530)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.75 really for the solid effort, a definite improvement on anything these guys did previously - the vocals sounding like Roine Stolt of the Flower Kings!) are the biggest improvement - it almost sounds like a different band. Very accomplished, smooth, well produced, good melodies and arrangements, although perhaps not very original, and the lyrics are rather lame. The illustration on the cover is a rather cheesy knock-off of Roger Dean's art. This album falls into the shadow of Yes and Genesis, so that's why I would not call it a masterpiece. I like especially the eponymous 20 minute epic - it's a fine, well written and executed piece of work. The only album worth considering from this band.
Report this review (#19532)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best symphonic albums! The band is at their peak and they really made a maximum effort. It perfect! GROBSCHNITT are often unfairly accused of lacking originality. There is a slight similarity to YES and GENESIS but there is no derivativeness or imitation in music. Don't let the deanesque cover art fool you. It's like comparing a Mozart sonata with a Beethoven sonata. Both are unique on it's own way.

The cocnept is a fairy tale for children. The lyrics may sound too childish in a view of an adult but it's not hard to enjoy it if you accustom yourself in the fantasy world of children. The lush symphonic music is often very charming and beautiful. The title track has all the wit and inventiveness that makes a prog epic interesting. The bonus track is also excellent. It has a more space rock feel compared to other tracks.

I can't find a weak spot on this album. Defenitely a masterpiece of the highest rank. Only a few German bands made a masterpiece of symphonic prog like this e.g. SFF - "Symphonic Pictures", STERN COMBO MEISSEN - "Weisses Gold"... Conclusion: GROBSHNITT didn't make so many strong albums as YES for example but "Rockpommel's Land" is absolutely essential!

Report this review (#19533)
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rockpommel's Land is a must have. Great concept album with a nice playful story, that is expressively told in music and lyrics. Some reviews I have read kind of knock the story line. I actually like it the way it is, the music more that fills in what is not expressed in words. Get the re-mastered version of the CD from the Repertoire lable. The quality shines on that release, plus there is an extra track. One thing that I miss on this particular record is the enthusiasm other Grobschnitt albums have and what makes this band so unique, you can tell they love what they do. On this album things are more controlled. EROC I consider the best drummer ever, he blows me away. Here you have a band where musicians knew how to play with great skill and have fund fun with it. Even on this album some of the enthusiasm is not fully expressed, I still consider this a progressive rock masterpiece.
Report this review (#19534)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album signals the apex of Grobschnitt's symphonic prog side, a trend the band set up to explore consciously after their multi-faceted "Ballerman" album. It is a concept- album revolving around a clever boy's journey through a magic land and ultimately finding some sort of wisdom about human nature as well as piece of mind. The storyline is so deliberately naive - and let's consider that this album was recorded in the latter half of the 70s - that all you can do about it is keep in mind that Grobschnitt was always keen on humor (remember the intro speech for the "Ballerman" opener?). And look at the cover... it all reeks of parody. But the music doesn't: it is ostensibly the result of a serious work at writing, arranging and performing. The overall repertoire feels closely related to Nektar's "Remember the Future" - the storyline developed by the guys of Grobschnitt is quite similar, in fact - with hints to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" and a less fusion-esque Yes's "Tales", as well as some additional hints to the symphonic prog with a notable spacey edge that their fellow country band Eloy was creating by that time ("Dawn", "Ocean"). The result is a richly ornamented sequence of well outlined melodic lines performed with ease and refinement by the interaction of lead guitar and synth layers/orchestrations/solos, smoothly sustained by the rhythm section: the long songs (3 out of 4) go flowing on through the listener's ears in a most fluid manner, never getting oppressive nor exhausting. The complexity is mostly derived to the level of subtlety, although there's also a healthy dose of pyrotechnics in some places, which, by the way, don't interrupt the general spirit but provide some interesting variations. 'Ernie's Reise' pretty much serves as an accurate taster for the album's main musical focus, while the follower 'Severity Town' conveys a more complex sonic spectrum - its harder passages feel a bit somber, although not getting really sinister. The acoustic ballad 'Anywhere' brings the most relaxing moments of the album, which is a proper relief before the emergence of the namesake sidelong suite. The 21- minute 'Rockpommel's Land' is mostly an extended recapitulation of the ambiences portrayed in tracks 1 & 2, albeit elaborated in a more pompous way: the interplaying between guitar and synth for the soloing sections is well accomplished, while the keyboard layers stage the path for the other instruments almost all the time. The languid climatic ending is one of the most beautiful musical ideas in Grobschnitt history.
Report this review (#37215)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars After the a bit polished LP "Jumbo", Grobschnitt released this concept-album, an obvious more adventurous one! The brainchild behind "Rockpommel's land" is keyboard player Mist delivering the wonderful cover paintings (in the vein of Roger Dean), theme and conception.

Analysing the music in the four compositions (between 4 and 21 minutes), the focus on is the inspired vocal performance, the strong and varied guitarplay and the inventive drum work along tasteful colouring from the keyboards (strings, Mellotron, synthesizers, piano, clavinet, organ). On side one the music is dreamy (sometimes a bit tame) with only some eruptions and accellarations. But gradually it carries you more and more away to progheaven, culminating in the amazing titletrack on side two with halfway moving choir-Mellotron waves and then lots of flowing changing climates featuring mellow parts with wonderful twanging acoustic guitar and compelling eruptions with fiery electric guitar and bombastic keyboards. The final part contains a wonderful build-up, first soaring keyboards and fine electric guitar and then sparkling piano and sensitive, howling electric guitar runs, bombastic organ and adventurous drums, WONDERFUL AND MOVING, what a 'grand finale'!

Report this review (#43096)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ordinarily, I don't care for concept albums, and this one still strikes me as a bit corny. But Grobschnitt's self-effacing humour makes sure you know that they're taking it about as seriously as you are (i.e.: not at all), and that seems to make everything okay. Somehow, this makes the touching ballad "Anywhere" that much stronger.

Musically, this is pretty much on a par with the great "Jumbo". It takes a while for it to grow on you (probably because it's hard to get past the silly, childish concept), but once it does, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. Mist's layered keys and Lupo's emotional guitarwork highlight the band's instrumental attack, while Wildschwein's quirky yet affable singing voice sells the songs with just the right amount of conviction.

Report this review (#45536)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I first discovered grobschnitt with "solar music live" wich is exellent , and I recently got this rockpommel's land because I wanted to know more about this great band.. Altough this album sounds a lot like Yes or even Genesis, and the album cover is roger- dean-like, it still has its own style and originality, and .... It's Perfect! It mixes a great concept story, humour, nice ballads and a "unique" voice ( though the voice is a bit hard to get, it fits quite well with the music).. The best part of this album is the end bonus track ( Best Bonus track I ever heard) : Tontillon, wich is a very beautiful instrumental song that closes this album magically.. Yes or Genesis fans will love this at first hearing, others might hear it fews time to get in.. :A Must-Have , Thanks Grobschnitt.

Report this review (#46094)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars The truth is that I was a bit disapointed after listening to this record for several times. I think it's a clear example of an overated album. I don't mean to say that it hasn't its good moments (I'm thinking about the closing section of "Rockpommel's Land" and the marvellous song "Tontillon"- which is a bonus track!). The rest of the album bores me. There are some echoes of Yes and Camel all around but nothing is really special. Furthermore, I think that the vocalist is the weakest point of the band. The drummer, however, is brilliant. I can't really say much more about it. Talking about German bands my favourite one is Rousseau, followed by Anyone's Daughter (speacially because of their second album). I could never understand what's so special about Eloy or Grobschnitt... Anyway, this should be 2.5 stars.
Report this review (#46158)
Posted Saturday, September 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 'Rockpommel's Land' released in 1977, was Grobschnitt's Prog-swan song before they moved into main stream Rock. The record has a perfect production, good ideas and arrangements, but is missing the humour and down-to-earth side of 'Grobschnitt'. It's a concept record with a Tolkien inspired Fantasy story line about a little boy, a big bird with magic power and then some... ( BTW on stage the bird was hilarious and brought back some of the fun missing on the record)

Side one opens with 'Ernie's Reise' a dynamic track, starting with guitar and organ, then the main theme, followed by a first break, a trademark 'Grobschnitt' double lead run. The track evolves into a slow groove, supporting Danielak's bluesy vocals. After an echoed guitar solo by Kühn and a reprise of the main theme starts a longer passage for piano, supporting a narration part of the story, interwoven again with double lead lines over waving synth chords. Interesting ideas, but slightly too long.

'Severity town' is the masterpiece of the record, a beautiful theme introduced first by glockenspiel and then by piano, followed by a second theme (sung) that is supported by a chord progression that reminds 'Carpert Crawlers'. The track becomes then heavier and evolves into a heavy funk, with great bass and double lead work, ending with another narration part over a 'Genesis' like passage, the introduction of the 'Anywhere ' theme, and the advice to either turn around the record or to eat a hot dog....

I decided to turn the record around and got instead of a hot dog, 'Anywhere ', a FM acoustic guitar ballad ( pull out your lighter and wave it from left to right with watery eyes) saved only by the guitar of Kühn.

Side two ends with the 20minute showdown 'Rockpommel's Land', a track with good ideas, but being too long.The track opens with an athmospheric intro, the 'march of the stonefaces', with genuine troll vocals, evolving first into a slow groove, followed by a shuffle with great double acoustic guitar work. A 'funny' (pitched up voices) Goblin choir, leads into a longer passage, based on double leads, followed by a slow passgae that prepares and mounts to the climax,a theme played by Kühn on Electric.

On the 'Repertoire' CD,is a great bonus 'Tontillon' : an instrumental, build around the main theme of 'Severity town', played with a great funky e-piano sound over a slow groove with brillant soloing by Kahrs.

The last important studio record of 'Grobschnitt'.

Report this review (#87586)
Posted Friday, August 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A suprising album if you were following Grobshnitt back in the seventies album by album. They really pull a rabbit out of a hat on this one. One of the most beautiful prog albums of all time as Grobshnitt abanons it`sillines and presents their most ambitious work.

Fantasy abounds on Rockpommel`s Land. A mystical bird takes an orphaned boy under it`s wing and brings him to a magical land, Rockpommel`s Land. The lyrics coud have even been reworked into a children`s book, so don`t expect a Solar Music Live here! ( although the band invites the listener to play RL loud on the liner notes!).

The music which appropriately complements the story is the most delicate to be heard from this legendary German musical troupe. It might take a few listens to gain an appreciation for Rockpommel`s Land, especially for those who are familiar with previous 70`s Grobshnitt offerings. The record is just so magical and dreamy. Anywhere is probably the most beautiful prog song this reviewer has ever heard and can also be heard played live by the final Grobshnitt incarnation on The Last Party Live album. The CD remastered version features a bonus track which wouldn`t fit on the original vinyl cut.

The cover art appropriately compliments the story and as this reviewer is from the stone age an original German pressing is recommended if you can find one. 5½ stars for this masterwork.

Report this review (#98124)
Posted Friday, November 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2.5 stars

What a deception! "Rockpommel's Land" is one of the most overrated albums of the progressive rock world. GROBSCHNITT goes truly symphonic and takes notes on YES for this one. For sure, the disc has good passages on it, like the catchy "Ernie's Reise" and the final section of the twenty minutes title suites, but these are not sufficient to make a good record. Most of the music here is difficult to enter into and unfortunately lacks direction.

In fact, "Tontillon" is the best song here. It is nearly the first time that a bonus track is actually better than the songs from the album! From its magic opening with smooth bells, the tune evolves and grows in intensity more and more to a beautiful melancholic melody. An important but uneven release from GROBSCHNITT.

Report this review (#109255)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is almost like minimalist symphonic rock. The ideas are so straightforward, yet it does sound like the band really spent a lot of time planning things out- the arrangements are good, but I just don't like the material. Vocals are a little odd and sometimes downright bad. Still this album has a kind of cool vibe to it.
Report this review (#144024)
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

ROCKPOMMELS ISLAND is viewed by a lot of prog fans and Grobschnitt lovers as their main achievement and even by some as one of the best prog album ever recorded.I wouldn't go that far as ROCKPOMMEL ISLAND follows the symphonic formula of JUMBO which i think doesn't really suit the members of this band.But once again, that's just me!.

GROBSCHNITT was definitely a very serious band by 1977 having forgotten about all their craziness and sheerful playing from their beginning. With ROCKPOMMEL ISLAND, even pomposity was on its way. The band decided to record a concept album ( like every good serious prog band). So we have the ''pleasure'' to be introduced to littlle ERNIE, a young boy running from home looking for a fantasy world he will reach by going to the ROCKPOMMEL ISLAND.Of course, he wouldn't have been able to do it alone if it hadn't been helped by the big bird MARABOO. Thanks, Maraboo!! After that, the young boy will meet Good and Evil. Do i really still keep telling more? No ? Thanks.

To make it more ''reall'', the band even went for a ROGER DEAN-cover, no less. Now we are in serious symphonic territory. Not all the band members were crazy about this new GROBSCHNITT formula as EROC the drummer and POP0 the bassist wanted to go back to the earlier sound and ''rock''. ROCKPOMMEL ISLAND is once again the brainchild of keyboardist MIST with LUPO the guitarist helping a lot.So do we have another CLOSE TO THE EDGE here?

Definitely not! this album has a lot of similarities with JUMBO.This is well recorded, well played, every second of the music has been well thought making sure every detail has been perfected.Meaning that the music has no spontaneity at all, all freshness of the past is a distant memory.Once again this is a German band trying to produce YES , better GENESIS music but not able to perform it with their own personality.

There are 4 tracks, 3 ''epics'' and the short 4mns ANYWHERE. I don't know if there is a better track than others as they all sound similar. They all have beautiful guitar breaks and magnificent keyboard arrangements and lush arrangements. There is a lot of hard work on ROCKPOMMEL ISLAND, you can feel it. GROBSCHNITT tried hard to record the ultimate prog masterpiece; i guess they succeed as this album did well commercially and it is considered as a prog treasure by a lot of prog aficionados.

Is it because i am not a great GENESIS fan, but i can't really take off when listening to this album. I remember how i couldn't wait to get this album a long time ago after reading all those glorious recommendations by friends and reviewers and the look at the cover design sure made me think i would be there for a real treat. I am listening now to the last part the 20mns title track, that's beautiful music for sure with grandiose organ, dreamy guitar and all but something is not working, but once again that's just me.

You know what is my biggest pleasure on this CD i have? the bonus track! TONTILLON is a beautiful instrumental with a fantastic theme played on electric piano powered by a great EROC on drums. Now, i am finally taking off on my way to heaven!!!


Report this review (#144278)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Grobschnitt" is investigating deeper into the symphonic genre, and left aside their irresistible sense of humour. Maybe to add some more seriousness to this "concept" album.

Unlike many reviewers, I found that "Jumbo" (their previous release) was really good and I can't consider this one as some sort of a good follow-up.

There are some very nice melodies featured on this album and lots of lush keyboards but something is missing though. Maybe this little extra craziness that could be found in their earlier releases. This feeling is fully represented in "Severity Town".

Not a bad track in essence but at no moment does it take off. Somewhat "Yes" oriented at times, it features weak "vocals" during the first half of it. It gets better though as it goes along thanks to some good guitar work while the rhythm is picking up. As if the band wants to show that they rock alright.but not enough.

I can' t really be thrilled with a song as "Anywhere". A mellow, acoustic and pastoral ballad. You can easily press next.

The epic and closing number from the original album needs some time to really start. At times this track vaguely resembles to "Supper's Ready" but it is not really evident. Actually, the long vocals part is not really interesting (but it lasts for about ten minutes).

During the instrumental second half, some elegant keyboards will shine for a while but the mood is very tranquil and uniform. This piece stands shy when compared to "The Excursion of Father" or "Sunny Sunday's Sunset" from "Jumbo" (I 'm even not talking about "Solar Music" of course). Only the last two minutes of this song reminds me of their bombastic and grandiose style.

A bit short, isn't it ?

This album doesn't work very well for me. And to mention than one of the best moment of the remastered version is the bonus track says sufficient about this. Don't get me wrong of course, this is not a bad album but the weakest "Grobschnitt" one so far IMHHO.

Five out of ten, upgraded to three stars.

Report this review (#157053)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I remember a buddy of mine finding this album in the import rack back in 1977. The cover was WAY cool...we hadn't seen a good Roger Dean cover in a while (Yesterdays by Yes was the most recent one...)...

I remember liking it a a somewhat altered state...lenghty, spacey songs with a weird sense of humor...

I never owned any Grobschnitt LPs until I picked this re-mastered disc up a few days ago.

The music is more original than I remembered...there are moments that are reminiscent of Yes, but it's a unique sound...

Lyrically, the band was clearly having fun with the whole concept album genre...

Towards the end of Severity Town, the narrator mumbles the following:

Totally exhausted Ernie went off this severe place and followed a way leading to the mountains. Half an hour later he rested in the shade of a HOWARD JOHNSON's where he began to consider whether he should turn around the record or have another hot dog - HILARIOUS!

Clearly, this disc needs to be measured by the quality of the music.

It is traditional 70s symphonic prog of a high standard. Swirling melodies interspersed with moments of guitar, keyboard and percussive virtuosity sprinkled in. The songs hold your attentio, that's always the test of 10+ minute songs, if you ask me...

The bonus track is a November, 1979 recording of an 18-minute concert collage of moments from the entire album.

An excellent package overall...what the heck, 4 stars...

Report this review (#159649)
Posted Thursday, January 24, 2008 | Review Permalink

ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND is a surprising piece of work in more ways than one. I got interested in it because I'd known for a long time that 1970s German bands were quite good at symphonic prog (I've got a soft spot for Novalis) and because I read that ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND was Grobschnitt's answer to classic Yes. The cover art looks suspiciously like Roger Dean, and the original album contained two pieces of around ten minutes as well as a longer piece of nearly twenty minutes - it all looked very promising.

Perhaps the most curious fact of all is that the album was recorded by the legendary producer Conny Planck (famous for his work with Kraftwerk, Neu, Guru Guru, Cluster and a whole load of New Wave bands, both English and German), in Planck's own studio, during 1976/1977 (the halcyon days of David Bowie's so-called Berlin Trilogy and Iggy Pop's THE IDIOT), although it has nothing in common with New Wave or the progressive avant-garde. Rather, it looks back to (and is clearly influenced by) the symphonic prog of Yes, Genesis and Camel circa 1973-1974.

The first time I played ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND I'm afraid I listened to the lead vocals somewhat too carefully. The plot (of course it's a CONCEPT album) is based on a terribly naive fairy-tale, somewhat similar in structure and mood to Zappa's 'Gregory Peccary' and Utopia's 'Singring and the Glass Guitar'. Grobschnitt even try to liven the whole thing up with comedy voices in the style of Genesis' LAMB: not an entirely convincing stunt if you're not native speakers of the language you're trying to be funny in (English, in this case).

But upon later hearings, when I just enjoyed the music for what it was, I got carried away by the bright, airy playing, the soaring lead guitar lines, and even the singing which (if you disregard the words) seems to be full of romantic yearning. I was a prog fan in the mid-seventies but didn't know Grobschnitt back then. All through the wilderness years of the 1980s and 1990s I longed to discover bands who adhered to the standards of my favourite (British) symphonic bands. It's only recently that I've started to discover their Italian contemporaries. ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND may not be quite on the same level as PFM or Le Orme at their best, but I strongly recommend it to anyone who longs to hear refreshing sounds from the 1970s. Three and a half stars!

Report this review (#183649)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars really.

This album musically sometimes sounds like Yes, but not as strong. The band obviously admires Yes and tried to produce something similar. There is enough originality here so it does not feel like a copycat band. The singing is in slightly German accented English. Not as badly accented as Eloy but it still reminds of me Eloy a little. I find the best tracks to be the opener 'Ernie's Reise' and the bonus track 'Tontillon'. The long title track doesn't do that much for me. There are some definite good points to this album, but I just don't find it has enough excellence to warrant 4 stars.

Report this review (#184789)
Posted Sunday, October 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars A new and exciting band for me, GROBSCHNITT. A KrautRock band and I am not so sure if I understand this form of prog rock or German humor.

The music is pretty epic and spaced out with not much happening during the fifty two minutes. They tried to copy YES on this album ? Really ? Well, I cannot claim they made a success out of that task. Must try harder next time........ I prefer GROBSCHNITT trying to be GROBSCHNITT, to be honest. My reference is Solar Lover. This album is more an experiment into something GROBSCHNITT does not grasp. Yes, there are some good music here. This album is by no means a failure. But it is at times mind-numbing boring. You have some piano, keys, guitars and a mad vocalist. The music is somewhere between Krautrock and Symphonic Prog. The result is not good at all and I have no tunes I can recall has made an impression. Just some OK pieces of music in between mediocrity. Maybe I should give this album some more time. But just after a couple of days of listening, I simply does not get it.

2.5 stars and moving onto their others albums.

Report this review (#187810)
Posted Monday, November 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars On "Rockpommel's Land", Grobschnitt produced their most unabashedly symphonic effort, with plenty of sweet sounding guitars and synthesizers, and an overarching concept tying together the songs. But Grobschnitt are not Yes or Genesis, so they still interject some of their characteristic silliness into the proceedings. These forays make one wonder if the album is a mere spoof of the genre or as serious as Grobschnitt can bring themselves to be, and I do find this detracting from the general beauty of the material.

Nonetheless "Ernie's Reise" and "Anywhere" are simply too gorgeous to dismiss, while both "Severity Town" and the side long title cut have many lovely moments, children's choir and goofy vocals notwithstanding. Wildschwein's voice is at its best for the most part and some of the harmonies work especially well. The buildup in the last few minutes is truly majestic.

So, while this album may only match "Jumbo" in quality, it has a more transcendent aspect thanks to the concept such as it is, and just feels more cohesive than anything the group had done up to that point, like a symphonic fairy tale. "Rockpommel's Land" is a good place to meet the sound of Grobschnitt. 3.5 stars, rounded up.

Report this review (#190257)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars The Roger Dean-like cover tells it all: as soon as you put the record on you´ll know Grobschnitt´s greater influence (at least for this album): Yes. Fortunatly those germans don´t try to emulate Jon Anderson´s angelic vocals, neither that group´s harmonies. So while the music isn´t all that original, it is very good and symphonic in a good way. The vocals are quite different, sometimes bordering the whimisical side of it (as I always heard Grobschinitt was).

This is a concept album, but you can live without understanding the storyline (a bit too silly for my taste). The music is very good and while it might takes some spins to really sink in, it is quite addictive. Excellent guitar and keybaords work (much in the vein of Yes, of course), while the drum patterns are very creative, different and give a special colouring to the music (and fits the concept very well). Like I said before vocals are the most original and intriguing aspects of this band´s sound landscape: half sung, half spoken, you don´t know if those guys are acting out or just being funny. Actually they are ok for this record in its own way. Certainly the singer knows how to interpretate the characters convincily.

In all there are only 4 tracks, the ost interesting being the title track with its almost 20 minute duration. It is on this track that we are able to appreciate all the fine nuances this group is cappable of. The ending part is quite poignant. Nothing to write home about it, but very good nevertheless. Productin is ok. My CD came with an extra track, the instrumental Tontillon, a very strong tune as good as (or even better) than the original other four.

All in all a fine CD. Not really essential nor very original, but very interesting and enjoyable. 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#192723)
Posted Friday, December 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars With whimsical story telling and a delightful floating symphonic sound Grobschnitt takes you on a prog rock fairytale! Following the storyline that unfolds during the course of this album is recommended, although not necissary for overall enjoyment, as it is indeed unique and light hearted without the seriousness of many other epic prog albums. Most will consider the sound of this album similar to YES but without the seriousness and on this I would agree, where some people then make a mistake is that they feel that the lack of a more serious YES edge leaves Rockpommel's Land lacking. To the contrary, we should be celebrating GROBSCHNITT's achievement in delivering such a whimsical and light hearted tale to go along with the equally light and whimsical symphonic sound. GROBSCHNITT has given us an album in perfect balance, the lyrics go absolutely hand in hand with the music itself, the vocals providing the Stickum. It is hard to discribe Danielak's voice itself so lets just say that it has every bit the character and originality to lift an album from just good to essential. His ability to shift slightly his sound to bend around that of the music is outstanding, the narrative parts are delivered with exceptional finesse, and how can you not love the mock air traffic chatter that opens the tale. Should you have this album in your collection? Yes, and while I don't believe Rockpommel's Land a complete 100% masterpiece I also feel it better than an Excellent addition to any prog music collection. 4.75 stars out of 5, so hit me the warning box cause I've gotta round up.
Report this review (#194623)
Posted Monday, December 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars To the Grobschnitt's fairy land with your mind relaxed...

Pardon me but I wanna say this album's atmosphere can taste my old days...why? Where did I hear the sound ??? Always mysterious feeling wraps me up...

This is a fairy tale of Ernie the boy hero written by EROC. GROBSCHNITT could play the album, with their relaxed and laid back sound and melody. Typical fairy tale songs or albums have a bit difficult lyrics & contents or mysterious sound & melody...I suggest. However, their music style is so easy to understand in spite of their progressiveness. This 'EASE' can let us listeners be happier and more flexible, and it's GROBSCHNITT's identity in the Rockpommel's period.

With the first track Ernie's Reise Eroc presented the story Ernie could fly on his hand made paperplane and on the back of a big bird named Maraboo. This part can teach us GROBSCHNITT's flexibility and eccentricity (of course, good meaning!). In Severity Town there's very hard-to-enjoy atmosphere...with sad noises (e.g. beep-beep, crush), no, their playstyle is laidback too, I'm surprised. Anywhere is such a beautiful song with full of their gentle heart. Without my intention I always croon in a low voice. The last track Rockpommel's Land is a long highlight of this story, with pleasant sound effects and naughty kids' voice...what a pleasure, I wanna say.

There's no difficult theory or reason. You can enjoy this work, NATURALLY. This is a fairytale.

Report this review (#203111)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Grobschnitt's best studio album = classical Grobschnitt + Yes!

Grobschnitt have always been a dificult band to classify because they have always been, at least until Rockpommel's Land, a borderline symphonic / space rock band. However, in Rockpommel's Land the band incorporated many symphonic prog influences, mainly from Yes, in their music, resulting in a full symphonic masterpiece. Many say that, when they did it, they lost some of their characteristics, like their humorous lyrics and outgoing music, meaning that they have become way too serious about their music and, also, that they lost their space rock mood by becoming a full symphonic band.

Personally, i could not care less about those complains. First because their music is pretty original, so they made a real effort not to sound like Yes, and they really don't sound like them, they are just influenced by Yes. Second because i want to listen to good music and not to humorous music, since the joke gradually loses its ability to amuse as time passes. Third because i really don't care what style of music or genre the band plays, i just want it to sound good. So, if you are really able to keep that in mind and just sit back and enjoy great music, you will see (or more likely hear) great music here.

One interesting thing about this album is that it has the same album structure as Eloy's Ocean, also from 1977.

Despite the obvious change of pace that Rockpommel's Land have from the other Grobschnitt albums, the band's main playing pattern continued. I mean, the guitars were still the main instrument, the bass was still laying the base melodic line of the overall harmony and the keyboards are still, mostly, the same moody harmonic instrument as before, though in some parts, also like in previous albums, the keys played a question - answer duet with the main guitar or they played as a third voice, along with both guitars.

The highlights go to all songs. The album is just great!

Grade and Final Thoughts

Although we should talk about progressive rock in ProgArchives, lots of people just don't like changes, but guess what? Prog IS about changing all the time. Just sit back and enjoy the great songs inside this great album with a great (Roger Dean) cover. So, 5 stars to the Rockpommel's Land and to Grobschnitt.

Report this review (#208564)
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Grobschnitt is symphonic prog band from Germany that also released some mighty space influenced symphonic prog (the 'Solar Music' suite). On Rockpommel's land the band delivers its second concept album, which is quite an improvement over 1975's 'Jumbo'. Grobschnitt combines (often light and gentle) melodic symphonic prog (almost like Camel's 'Snow Goose') with a children's story-line in order to create that happy-sad melancholy childhood feel. The enthusiasm of the band and the stream of great melodies is endless supply here and the album just never slows down. The band does occasionally rock out, but the guitars remain surprisingly gentle compared to the heavy metal guitars of 'Solar Music Live'. The story is about the young boy 'Ernie' who escapes his home to head for Rockpommel's land with the help of the bird Maribu in the hope to release the children's friends Mr Glee. Silly as it may seem, the story does ad a lot to the melancholy and legitimacy of the music. If you're not allergic to its humorist vibe and the expressive vocals of 'Wildschwein' this surely will end up among your favorite symphonic prog albums of the seventies.
Report this review (#245613)
Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars GROBSCHNITT's keyboardist was a huge GENESIS and YES fan, and he would be the one to come up with the concept here and Symphonic style of music. GENESIS came to my mind quite often actually. The concept is really a children's fairy tale so it may not appeal to everyone. I'm not a fan of concept albums anyway but I do really enjoy parts of this album musically. The vocals are hard to digest at times as well. There is mellotron on every track though.

"Ernie's Reise" is laid back with reserved vocals. This is very GENESIS-like here and I like it. A fuller sound before 3 minutes. Vocals are back but more passionate this time. Some narration after 7 minutes and I like the intricate guitar before 9 minutes. "Severity Town" has this child- like intro. Vocals a minute in. I don't like them around 3 1/2 minutes at all. Or later at 6 1/2 minutes. More narration after 8 minutes. "Anywhere" is mostly acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. I like when the mellotron comes in later.

"Rockpommel's Land" is the side long closing track. It opens with marching sounds as the music kicks in quickly. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. Synths follow. Marching styled drums after 6 minutes. Great sound before 8 minutes. Some samples a minute later. Organ and a heavier sound 10 1/2 minutes in before it settles after 14 minutes. That same mellow sound from the start of the album is back then comes the emotional guitar that sounds so good.

Many rate this 5 stars and I can see why, but overall this doesn't suit my musical taste to warrant even 4 stars.

Report this review (#267797)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Back in 1977, being just a very young kid (an Ernie ?), I had only just discovered the beauty of progressive rock and I felt myself painfully aware of myself perhaps having been born just a little bit too late to fully enjoy the genre at its genuine heighdays. There was word about 'punk music' all over in the magazines, the Greats-of-Old were dubbed as being 'boring old dinosaurs', and the first cracks were already beginning to show with Mr. Collins steering Genesis into the Cul-de-Sac better known as 'pop music'...

But hey there, wait a minute... I remember picking up a rather Roger Dean-esque album sleeve from the local record store's (you still had those, back in 1977...) collection and without even having listened to the album, I took it home - that sleeve just had to be some kind of an omen...

Turned out that I wasn't all too wrong about that. Even though the charmingly naive fairy-tale on which the album is based - read: The Pied Piper-meets-The Lord of The Rings, starring Giant Saviour Bird Maraboo as Gandalf, little Ernie as Frodo, The Magic Feather as a rather good-natured 'Ring', Mr. Glee as a well-willing Pied Piper, and the Blackshirts as the Orcs (or whatever - hope you understand I'm just joking here!)... this fairy-tale might well be just a bit too saccharine for many to fully enjoy, but who cares, when the music entirely makes up for this minor 'problem'?

Because it just happens to be the loveliest, soaring, naturally 'flowing', and even easily accessible - yes, that IS possible! - symphonic progrock imaginable. Ernie's Reise starts off dreamingly and even meekly, beautiful acoustic guitars giving a perfect intro to what's to follow beyond, getting heavier and heavier - "captivated by a moonbeam", indeed - subtely building up to more expressive outbursts. One can't help but notice the strong Chris Squire-influences from Popo, and what a surprise, he plays a classical Rickenbacker 4001... Another stronghold are Wildschwein's vocals - powerful and expressive. Never mind that heavy German accent of his, not at all. It just works. The band pulls out the entire collection of pure-prog keyboards, including the classical mellotron and organ sounds, as well as very Genesis- like airy guitars. Severity Town's mood is darker and heavier, after the initial light-footed intro on keys and piano. Apparently Frodo - sorry, Ernie - enters Mordor, here. Soon the rhythm section sets in full ablaze, the vocals get even more emotional, and both the keyboard intersections as well as the backline join in in the heaviest pure-prog imaginable. Notwithunderstandingly, the music remains easily accessible and naturally flowing, and like is the case with all of Grobschnitt's work, a welcome touch of humour remains part of this epic, despite its darker mood. Anywhere, the only song on the album clocking in at less than ten minutes, is a graceful, enchanting, heartfelt ballad with a melody so beautiful that it can easily stand up against the best attempts of both Yes and Genesis for this matter. Rockpommel's Land, clocking in at near to 20 minutes, forms the perfect, bombastic conclusion to all of the earlier emitted musical emotions on this album, I truly wonder if I ever heard such a true epic evolving like this one does - heavy, emotional, all instruments - layers of guitars, keyboards, fantastic drumming and immaculate Rickenbacker bass - jumping up-and-over each other - well let's just call it an ultimate attempt at true Symphonic Prog. You might have noticed, words fall short to describe this one for me. And let's not rule out Wildschwein's fantastic singing, here. "Was this the way to Rockpommel's Land, little Ernie began to fear?" Just *perfection*.

And now, in 2010, never having lost sight of contemporary prog, and as such, rather a fan of Porcupine Tree and Anathema nowadays than of the old-so-called-'dinosaurs', this is one of the very few 'classic' symphonic progrock-albums that I still regularly pull out to listen to, again-and-again, 33 years after its release. Even more than Yes' Close To The Edge and/or Genesis' The Lamb, which might well be telling something. Even more, I've just secured my tickets to Grobschnitt's upcoming live perfomance of this fantastic, legendary album in Dortmund coming October - I can't wait!

Hope this is enough reason for me to honour Grobschnitt's brilliant - and moreover, just lovely - Rockpommel's Land with a well-deserved five star-rating. And this is coming from a old-geezer-post-prog fan, no less, hey! *wink*

Report this review (#292159)
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Released in 1977, well after the prog bubble had been well and truly burst by punk's onslaught, Grobschnitt's fourth album would prove to be the band's glittering farewell to the genre. But what a way to say goodbye. After the relatively disappointing and curiously short 1975 album 'Jumbo', 'Rockpommel's Land' would see the German group not only hit the gorgeous symphonic heights of 1974's 'Ballermann', but also surpass them. 'Rockpommel's Land' would prove to be an extravagant, fairy-tale themed double concept album featuring the band's trademark lush keyboards and soaring guitars, telling the somewhat surreal tale of a young boy who is whisked away from boring reality by a giant bird and taken to a far away land dominated by the nefarious black-shirts and inhabited by wizards, giant stone trolls and many other strange and mythical characters. The story is spread over four tracks, three of which break the ten minute mark, and the band manage to capture the magical essence of their fictional world with bravura gusto, spinning their magical yarn with an almost Spielbergian confidence that embellishes the music with genuine pathos. To put it simply, 'Rockpommel's Land' is pure prog. Grobschnitt have taken the fantasy-themed landscapes of Yes' Roger Dean-designed artwork and taken them to the next logical level, adding their own narratives and characters to Dean's iconic drawings and creating a world very much of their own making, filling it with sumptuous symphonic prog. Despite the album being released during progressive rock's downfall it would, somehow, become Grobschnitt's most commercially successful release, rewarding the band for almost a decade of highly creative hard work and capping off the group's phase of progressive studio albums nicely. 1977 and 1978 would see Grobschnitt release their two greatest albums, with 'Rockpommel's Land' quickly followed up just under a year later by the scintillating live effort 'Solar Music Live', which saw the group stretch their epic, 30- minute long track from 'Ballermann' into an album-length piece, showcasing the band's phenomenal live playing. Both albums would find the band at their very peak and their success found them writing shorter, more commercially-orientated pieces once the 1980's began and, sadly, the classic-era Grobschnitt was no more. A wonderful album filled with beautiful moments, 'Rockpommel's Land' really does whisk the listener away to an enchanting world far, far away. It may, for some at least, sum up everything that is pompous and indulgent about the genre of progressive rock but it also shows just what an exciting and creative genre it is, combining dazzling music with sumptuous visuals and pulling off that very difficult trick of creating a truly conceptual piece of music. Not only is 'Rockpommel's Land' one of the finest progressive rock albums to come out of Germany, it is one of the finest to come out of Europe. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Report this review (#293016)
Posted Sunday, August 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ah, I'm finally getting closer contact with vintage prog from continental Europe, namely Germany, France and Italy (after visiting Helsinki and its music library last week). My knowledge of German prog has been narrow (Tangerine Dream, krautrock, some fusion...), and GROBSCHNITT's classic fairy tale album is actually my first Symphonic Prog from Germany. Wow, it was a delight. A quick look at the previous reviews reveals very warm response while some more critical minds think this is *very* overrated. I can understand the latter opinion too. Right from the Roger Dean -style cover art one confronts strong influence from British prog greats, especially YES. The liner notes tell that the keyboard player was a big fan of Yes, and like Rick Wakeman, he had a fortress of various keyboards. And then there is the fact that it was 1977, which means that the majority of all great Symphonic Prog had been already made. But these things are not that relevant when judging an album personally, I think. They shouldn't prevent one from enjoying the music with an open heart.

This album is so loved because in a way it's a school example of Symphonic Prog work. All the hallmarks are there: theatrical feel, grandness of epic structure, lush keyboards, other-worldly concept - the story, which is quite naive but in a charming way, is about a little boy taken into a fantasy world; a helpful gigantic marabou, a magic feather, a dystopic city where everything is forbidden, a rescue quest, etc. - , even the English lyrics. Usually I like to see bands using their mother tongue, but on the other hand, German is not so beautiful language to my ears. Since this music isn't typically German to start with, English suits better.

The atmosphere is close to one of a fairy tale; quite accessible, melodic, mostly very mellow and pastoral. Only occasionally the overwhelming narrative level eats the music with silliness. But these faults are very minor in a very enjoyable entity. Rockpommel's Land is an excellent addition to anyone enjoying Symphonic Prog, despite the obvious lack of originality.

Report this review (#294241)
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I didn't notized for a long time that the band "Grobschnitt" exists and never geard of an album called "Rockpommel's Land". Than, one day, I saw a review here of this album and I reminded seeing this cover on a wallpaper with famous prog-albums like "Dark Side of the Moon", "Fragile" or "Selling England by the Pound". So I wondered why this album was on this wallpaper but not on the Top-250-list on PA.

I thought to myself this album can't be bad when it is on this wallpaper with famous albums so I listened to it.

Thanks god!

This album is one of this which let you smile while listening. It is a wonderful symphonic-prog-album with typical spheric and atmospheric symphonic moments. "Rockpommels Land" is not very complex and ideal for prog-newcomer ("What? You don't know what prog-rock is? Listen to this album"). Maybe it's not perfect and has some dull moments, especially in the last track ("Rockpommels land"). But it's all in all a wonderful album which you should listen to.

Report this review (#295468)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I had a short-lived fling with Grobschnitt around 2008 when I was generally trying to expand my horizons towards French and German prog music. My first experience of the band was through their magnificent live album called Solar Music - Live and then decided to follow it up with an album that featured a Roger Dean-inspired album cover.

What I got out of this release was not exactly what I originally anticipated since Solar Music - Live was much more inspired by the Space Rock movement while Rockpommel's Land can be described like a Symphonic Prog concept album. This sudden change of direction didn't discourage me from giving the album it's proper share of listening time but eventually I it was placed on a storage shelf. It's not that Rockpommel's Land is a bad album, in fact it's pretty decent, but I just can't see anything special about it. Yes, the instrumental arrangements are great, the vocals are sugary but without making me feel uncomfortable and the concept itself is just plain weird. It's not like this is the first time an album just didn't click with me but usually I have something more substantial to say about my reasons behind the final rating. This is really not the case with this Grobschnitt release. I can't even dismiss as a clone of the UK Symphonic Prog movement since it only vaguely follows that formula while still maintaining a clear sense of originality with its music.

My final verdict is very mixed one since I do generally recommend experiencing this album although I can't exactly pinpoint any clear target audience for Rockpommel's Land. The album is very highly devoted to maintaining the narrative in focus and is therefore a definite departure from the other Grobschnitt releases while the fans of Symphonic Prog probably won't lay their money down for this rather unusual release.

**** star songs: Ernie's Reise (11:04) Severity Town (10:00) Rockpommel's Land (19:58)

*** star songs: Anywhere (4:20)

Report this review (#311716)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After the disappointing Jumbo, Grobschnitt continued their Yes-gone-quirky-in-German-bunker approach and delivered a good album with theatrical vocals and fluently rocking Sympho. The vocals remain an acquired taste but the melodies are better developed then on Jumbo and the German crooner influences are toned down luckily.

The music sticks to the path laid out by Yes and Genesis in the preceding years and will fit most sympho fans like a glove, but I can't relate to the vocals which are too forced for me. Wildschwein deems it necessary to emphasize every syllable with an equal dose of artsy theatricality and makes things sound rather contrived to my ears. The crooner influences haven't disappeared neither, as testified by Anywhere.

If you can stomach the vocal histrionics, this album will add a nice slab of symphonic prog to your collection. Not entirely original but competent and willful enough to pass for more then just a Yes and Genesis clone. This sure is a remarkable band, but I can do with the debut and Solar Music.

Report this review (#320650)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is really hard for me to do this review for two reasons: the first one...for the first time in my (long) life I listened to a CD that actually does sound better than the vinyl version of it, and I would have never thought it would be possible. Second reason...this is an almost impossible CD to find! I was lucky to find it and I only bought it to avoid getting out my old LP copy to listen to. So why this review? Well, just to tell every prog fan around how happy I am to have this one in my collection, because it's a real joy to listen to this music. I mean, you can actually spur the joy the musicians had playing this music. And that's the goal of music, to pass on to the listener the feelings you experience when you play it. And having well over 10'000 records in my collection I can tell you this: don't believe a word about this band being a copy of anyone else! Grobschnitt has its identity, for sure. First of all, the voice: you tell me who should be this singer be compared to? Then, in 1977 one should have been totally out of mind trying to keep a record deal imitating bands like Yes or Genesis! An I think that even dogs waves their tails for a reason. No, this one simply admits influences. It is in small parts looking at previous bands' sound, but this only sound wise, not steeling compositions or arrangements. The german (and this bank I think has little to do with the Krautrock) root from the previous album "Jumbo" where dropped for a more international english version. The nice cover reflecting of course the desire to be part of "the bigs" of the era, but still be different somehow. Take the final song, ending with a long electric piano solo, not overdoing it, in a nice relaxed arrangement. Or the drumming, smooth and precise, at the service of the song. Not trying to show the abilities of the drummer. Instruments equilibrium seems to be the driving force behind all compositions. Less a show of skills, more being behind the music. About this one being a concept album, well I don't have a big opinion about it. I simply love the songs. This is what prog should still sound like today. It still sound fresh and spontaneous after 35 years. You name how many other albums can do this...What a pity it's not available so easy. You're lucky today you can download it from some databank. Do it, you'll never regret it.
Report this review (#522275)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rockpommel's Land is probably the album which, above all their other work, justifies Grobschnitt's presence in the Symphonic prog section. Turning their backs almost entirely on the space rock (and lapses into contrived comedy) that was a feature of their previous albums, Grobschnitt plunge into a style influenced by Yes and Genesis and tell the magical tale of a special bird that takes a small child to a mysterious fantasy land.

Whilst the music retains enough of Grobschnitt's personality to save the album from being a cloning exercise, at the same time it seems rather uninspired - the album seems designed in a calculating way to check all the boxes on the symphonic prog checklist, right down to the cover art, and consequently comes across as pandering to mainstream prog fans as opposed to being a genuine and honest expression of the band's desired creative direction - and the fact that they would never again make an album in this style only goes to prove the point. Three stars.

Report this review (#553280)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Grobschnitt - Rockpommel's land from 1977 is considered by many their peak, I'm agree with that, keeping in mind that this album is the most symphonic release they ever done. Better in any aspect then previous Jumbo this album keeps the flag high in prog music. With this offer Grobschnitt turns from a krautrock band with edhy passages from early years into some symphonic band very similar in aproch, musicaly and visualy in the end with Yes same period. Complex arrangements with one big pieces the title track clocking around 20 min is a true testament left by the band in the golden era of prog. Very discred musicianship but well performed , they never burst in some fascinating parts but manage to keep the listner intrested on whole album. Another highlight of the album, is to me Severity town , with great druming, good harsh vocals and pleasent keyboards passages. I do not consider this one amomg my fav album from that period or in general but I like what I've heared here, is more then usual stuff for sure. The music is grandious, not to flashy but aswell not monotonous with plenty of memorable passages. I think one of the better album coming from Germany from that period in prog music. 4 stars, the similarity with Yes album Dean era are more then obvious here.
Report this review (#762990)
Posted Sunday, June 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I realize a lot of Grobschnitt fans prefer the band's earlier albums, and argue that exposure to YES cost the group a large measure of individuality. It's a valid criticism, but my knee-jerk counter-argument is two-fold.

Firstly, most of that early individuality never really existed. The debut Grobschnitt albums may have been less derivative, but also had far less character, with no distinct style (original or otherwise) to grab hold of. And secondly, while the band's Prog Rock period may have been (check that: was) influenced by established English role models, they were certainly no Yes clone, even with the second-rate Roger Dean gatefold artwork for this LP.

What the two groups had in common was a musical optimism flying in the face of current events (the late '70s erosion of hippie idealism, so forth), expressed here in a somewhat awkward fantasy narrative about a lonely young boy and the giant pipe-smoking bird who becomes his companion. The escapism of the storyline sounds a little contrived today, but the music survives as a quintessential sampling of Symphonic Prog Rock from the absolute apex of its Golden Age.

The band's newfound melodic flair, originally hatched during the sessions for their 1974 album "Jumbo", reached its full maturity on this project. It's true some of Gerd-Otto Kühn's guitar runs were unmistakably Steve Howe inspired. But there's real magic here, from the uplifting chime of the 12-string album intro to the gorgeous orchestral finale closing the side-long title track. And the CD bonus "Tontillon" adds a fitting epilogue to the saga, with a lovely, loose improvisation of a theme from the song "Ernie's Reise".

That track title is, by the way, the one exception to the convenient Anglicizing of the entire album: a common practice among Continental Proggers at the time. In this case I suspect it was rendered in German because a direct translation ("Ernie's Journey") might have suggested an episode of Sesame Street.

Okay, I guess there's a third point to make after all. Grobschnitt needed to pass through this symphonic portal before they could revisit their epic "Solar Music" jam and nail it in vinyl on stage the following year. The earlier, heavier (and to my ears more ponderous) Grobschnitt showed only one face of a two-sided musical coin, and by exploring another, more delicate aspect of their personality the band was finally able to establish its own holistic identity, and better late (almost too late, by 1977) than never.

Report this review (#873728)
Posted Saturday, December 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 Stars. Inspired is how I'd sum up this recording in one word. Eroc and his mates were in the midst of their most creative period here.

In true Grobschnitt fashion the concept and lyrics hit silly and absurd territory. For some unknown reason I always thought this was a symphonic album Frank Zappa would like. The instrumentation seems simple yet flows gracefully from movement to movement and the excitement is generally very high.

For me, the closer is one of the greatest epics in progressive rock. Sublime transitions. Awesome mellotron.

For the average proghead, I'd speculate this would hit the spot after you've played out all your Genesis records. A great cover and a lovely sense of German pothead whimsy provide indelible charm and turn this into a late golden age period symphonic prog classic. I look at it as a children's tale set to incredible progressive music, not too far removed from Lancaster and Lumley's star studded one-off prog take on Peter and the Wolf. Not coincidentally, that's one of my favourites too.

Report this review (#1937542)
Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2018 | Review Permalink
2 stars Here is one of the most brutally overrated albums to be ever featured on Progarchives. Tell you what, if you've ever heard an album by, say, Druid, Starcastle, Albatross, Yezda Urfa, Atmosphera or England, you pretty much heard this one too - except it's much more boring.

On "Rockpommel's Land", Grobschnitt proudly wears its influences on its sleeves, but unfortunetely fails to bring ANYTHING new to the table. The middle-late 70's where the time when progressive rock was being heavily developed and explored. Many new progressive paths were (and still are) yet to be discovered, but some bands simply decided to follow the same old, safe style taken directly from bands like Yes and Genesis. The end result is a record that's not all that bad, not all that good neither - just mediocre to the point of being boring. To add insult to injury, it's not even close to the level of the best masterpieces by the "classic" prog bands. There is literally nothing surprising, new or innovative about this album - it was all done before, and better.

For the hardcore fans of 70's symphonic prog only.

Report this review (#2202147)
Posted Sunday, May 12, 2019 | Review Permalink

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