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QUATERMASS

Quatermass

Heavy Prog


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5 stars It is without doubt, one of the most quintesential albums to belong in every progressive and classic rock vinyl collector. Strongly urge those who collect vinyl to find the beautiful hipgnosis cover artwork in its fullness and to blend in with the dark and powerful tones of this trio that would influence such bands as ELP.

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Send comments to Quatermass76 (BETA) | Report this review (#25781)
Posted Wednesday, January 07, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The maniac keyboard playing and singing/bassplaying of John Gustafsson are worthwile of your attention. Hammond sound is smashing, pretty soloing and melodies. This album rocks! and deserves much more attention than it recieved. A must have for any Prog rock fan!

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Send comments to fredfontes (BETA) | Report this review (#25782)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Sometimes people are out to build mountains when just a dune is needed and this one is only a hill .Still a minor gem though, but as I said somewhere else , I was never a big fan of those KB trios , always finding that something was lacking and not necessarily a guitarist .

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#25783)
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
gmorittu@infi
5 stars Listening again after 34 years, it's as exciting as yesterday. It could have been recorded today. In modern music it's quite impossible to find such a refinement of arrangements. The pleasing listening forces us to go to the end without any pause. A real milestone!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#25789)
Posted Wednesday, October 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Destined to remain a cult classic Quatermass's debut has much to offer. A trio based around organ, bass, drums, this behemoth of an LP from 1970 is a quintessential English prog LP, and a varied one at that. Starting with the otherwordly effects of "Entropy" - all moogs and hammond nuances, it crashes into a stomping "Black Sheep of the Family" kind of Deep Purple driving a VDGG riff around Birmingham!! There is some mainstream moments on this Lp but they are delivered with a quality musicianship - Johhny Gustafson was a well journeyed sessionier, emanating first from the Big three I think - a Liverpool Beat Group.Side One continues with "Post War Saturday Echo" - a great ELP-out of the finest order - a game of musical chairs that merges into a bluesy Uriah Heep wailer - its epic n length with some nice proggy interludes. Its on Side Two were Quatermass really get the "PROG" out - "Gemini," "Laughin Tackle" - prog brilliance all the way - lovely hammond work - Pete Robinson is an unsung maestro of the instrument and he tease soem very subtle nuances out of it. But its the 10 minute "Laughin Tackle" that is the centerpiece - great bounding bass, hammond stabs and jams and deep penetrating cellos that grow and grow until exploding all over the mix before regrouping again before "Entropy" reprise lead us out. the British prog scene is littered with these minor classics: Titus Groan, Spring, Gracious, Fantasy but Quatermass has always been heading up the B-Teams!!!!

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Send comments to mandrake2 (BETA) | Report this review (#25791)
Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
daniel@bigwal
2 stars I bought this cd because it was recommended, and reviews mentioned ELP and KING CRIMSON. Well, I have to say I am very disappointed. This is nothing like the grandiose prog rock of ELP or the darkly beautiful symphonic music of early CRIMSON. QUATERMASS has some psych/prog tendencies, but the couple of tracks that show potential are merely deviations from the straight blues rock that is the main component of their music. The album is ultimately a dissatisfying experience.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#25794)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have mixed feelings about this album. FIRST: I love Quatermass's music; brilliantly played, good compositions, nice arrangements, this all make this album a great listen. SECOND: I also love Deep Purple, and Rithcie Blackmore left Purple because he wanted to re-record "Black Sheep of the Family" - Coverdale, Hughes, Lord & Paice didn't want to do it. So he said "I'll do it on my own", and recorded it with Ronnie James Dio for a solo single. He and Dio wrote a song for inclusion as a B-side, and having liked what they did together, Blackmore left Purple and formed Rainbow with Dio; I will never forgive Quatermass!!!! But, listening to this great album, I have nothing but good words about it; it's an "excellent addition to any prog music collection". And I agree with Symphonic Age: this is one of the first albuns in the vein of Prog Metal. Final word: Johnny Gustafsson is one of rock's greatest singers and once was listed as one of his favorite singers by Ian Gillan, who enlisted him to play bass with his Ian Gillan Band - a band that all prog fans should listen to someday.

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Send comments to M. B. Zapelini (BETA) | Report this review (#38827)
Posted Friday, July 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The very promising trio Quatermass was founded in '69 and included Mick Underwood on drums, Peter Robinson on keyboards and Johnny Gustafson on bass and vocals. At that moment they were all experienced musicians. Gustafson played in the Liverpool-era in local bands named Cass & The Casanovas, The Big Three and The Merseybeats before forming his own band Johnny Gus Set. Mick Underwood played with the very young Ritchie Blackmore in The Dominators and The Outlaws and in The Herd before Peter Frampton's arrival. Mick joined Peter Robinson in The James Royal Set. But finally all three met each other in a band called Episode Six. When their singer Ian Gillan and bass player Roger Clover joined Deep Purple their struggle to survive with Episode Six was in vain. They decided to form their own band to make progressive rock with the same heavy foundation as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Quatermass toured through the whole UK and released their legendary album in May 1970 (backed by the single Black Sheep Of The Family). The band gained good reviews and set off on a tour through the USA, hoping to crack the lucrative American market. But lack of business support undermined their efforts and Quatermass broke up in April 1971. Mick Underwood joined Paul Rodgers in Peace and Pete Robinson became a member of Brand X, the jazzrock adventure of Phil Collins. But Johnny Gustafson turned out to be the most succesfull musician: he backed Chi Coltrane, Kevin Ayers, Ian Hunter, Bryan Ferry and Steve Hackett on their albums. He also joined Roxy Music on the 1976 world tour. The music on their eponymous debut album (originally nine tracks) is dynamic and inspired a blend of blues, rock, classic and symphonic (with hints from ELP and Deep Purple) delivering splendid, often very sumptuous Hammond organplay and lots of other nice keyboards. Don't expect very elaborate or complex progrock, just enjoy the enthousiastic music! In 1996 Repertoire Records re-released Quatermass and added two nice bonustracks (One Blind Mice and Punting).

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#39119)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album reminds me on the good memories of the seventies when I was learning about rock music with bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Mahogany Rush, SNAFU, Ursa Major, Tea (Germany classic rock band), ELP, Trapeze, Golden Earring, Osibisa, El Chicano (hey, where is this band now? Any of you know it?), Greenslade. And, looking at the line-up, I though this band would sound like ELP but it's not. The music is basically a kind of hard rock with some proggy touch here and there.

Song like "Black sheep in the family" (3:36) is a hard rock stuff combined with pop music. While "Post war Saturday echo" (9:42) is a blues-based music combined with the soul of seventies classic rock style, using piano and organ as main rhythm section. "Good Lord knows" (2:54) is a mellow track with melodic style. "Up on the ground" (7:08) is a nice organ-drenched music with good singing style. "Gemini" (5:54) is a rocker with straight forward structure featuring good singing in the vein of Trapeze or Lucifer's Friend with nice breaks and excellent piano / organ work. "Make up your mind" (8:44) is like Deep Purple music especially the singing style of John Gustafson which is a resemblance of Ian Gillan. Peter Robinson's keyboards is similar with those used by Jon Lord. In the middle of the track the band explores their music into a more aggressive use of keyboards that makes the arrangement is more explorative in nature. It's a great prog touch here. I really enjoy it. "Laughing tackle" (10:35) is another great composition with soaring organ work that would satisfy those of you who love Hammond organ, like me. It's a great concluding track.

Overall, it's a very good album to add into your prog collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#42149)
Posted Monday, August 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Quartermass is a keyboard-dominated trio of almost mythical proportions, and its sole studio album has many moments of great excitement without being consistent enough to be the long lost progressive rock masterpiece that I'd been led to believe it was. While I'm usually all for diversity, the eclecticism that informs this album comes off as truly haphazard instead of being a result of carefully thought out composition, and as such, is a weakness. Still, Peter Robinson is a player that all fans of organ-based hard rock need to hear ...

If every song was as powerful as the two longest tracks Make Up Your Mind and the instrumental Laughin' Tackle, then this would be a sure-fire winner. Make Up Your Mind is a swirling piece with some decent vocals, great energetic bass work, and after a dramatic break, some outstanding dynamic passages in which solo organ rambles are punctuated by rapid fire runs from the rhythm section before a neat occasionally discordant solo takes the piece clear away. Laughin' Tackle is another real highlight, propelled by some bubbly bass and topped off with a nice jazzy electric piano solo, potent, almost overbearing strings, and then great double tracking by Robinson on electric piano and Hammond organ (a real treat for someone like me). At some point during the song, a Mick Underwood drum solo ensues (this was 1971 after all!) and it's highlighted by some outstanding rolling.

Unfortunately those two tracks are tucked away on the latter half of the record, and it's very likely that some impatient listeners will be turned off by the uneven offerings that come before. Black Sheep Of The Family, for example, (yes, it's the same track was popularised on Rainbow's first album) is basically a pop-tinged hard rock tune, while Gemini is an incongrous mix of poppy verses and great organ playing (first a strange Gothic Procol Harum-influenced slow passage, then a lengthy high octane jam).

Another culprit is Post War, Saturday Echo which is bookended by some really enticing organ work (especially during the second stretch), but is generally a soul-sapping 9-minute blues crawl, with a nice lyrical jazzy piano solo providing respite from the tedium. I'm also not sold on Entropy (which appears twice) first as a minute-long churchy organ piece, and then an even more concise jazzy run. I don't really like the harpsichord with strings ballad Good Lord Knows either.

The Deep Purple (and Jon Lord in particular) influences are very strong on some of the organ songs and Up On The Ground is an agressive exciting piece with lots of superb organ-led excursions from Robinson (and a nice lil' bit of funk thrown in the middle) but sadly Gustafson's vocals have a rather strangled quality that prevents this from being Quartermass' definitive track.

As for the bonus tracks, One Blind Mice is a wicked rock song, with a scorching bassline, and bold organ (with a solo right out of the Lord handbook). Unfortunately, it's another cut on which Gustafson has that strangled bluesy voice and which simply doesn't work for the song. Thankfully Robinson sets things right with a solo straight out of the Lord handbook. Punting is a playful, funky jam that overstays its welcome (it's a 7 minute cut with just two segments that repeat ad nauseum!). It still manages to show that these boys had a great thing going, and could probably have done anything they wanted.

If like me, you're a sucker for hard rock dominated by organ (and bear in mind that Uriah Heep's Ken Hensley and Lord are two of my biggest heroes) then you will still definitely want to listen to this album. If you're not into the hallowed organ, you will not find this essential. ... 68% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#45341)
Posted Saturday, September 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
gunv-k@online
4 stars There are no need of having a guitarplayer with a distorted instrument in a rock and roll group! Quatermass is a proof of this,the line up works very well and the music is a delight for at least us who where youngsters back in the early 70`s.It sounds like a mix of beggars opera,deep purple,titanic,atomic rooster and procol harum.The organ is pushed in front and most of the tunes are drenched with it,fat floating chords and jazzy solos,the bass has a wide sound like it use to have on old recordings and drum solos was discussed in the schoolyard. After many years i played this record the other day and the same thing came into my head as it did back then..the album starts off with impressive songs that are well played ,but as the record spins it almost seems to me that they are running a little bit out of ideas and creativities on some songs.In my ears this is a weak four star!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#50184)
Posted Wednesday, October 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Quatermass is, IMHO, one of the most well rounded albums ever. It's technical, but swings. It's catchy without being commercial. I love the way it flows from mid-tempo rockers to avant-garde instrumentals to bluesy soundscapes. At times reminding me of Arzachel, The Nice, the '71-'73 Proto-Kaw, "Lonesome Crow" era Scorpions, Atomic Rooster, of course Mark II Deep Purple, & even Slade. I don't believe in breaking albums down to individual song descriptions to link my comparisons to. This album as a whole; is an ever evolving sonic gem.

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Send comments to Clark Ashton (BETA) | Report this review (#76192)
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here one of the better album of progressive rock of the '70s!! Between the heroes of the classic pop period the organ Hammond occupies a place of relief. Its sound, majestic and malleable to the same time, in a position of to give back a lot the solemn atmosphere of the liturgies in cathedral how much the quick liveliness of the resonant columns of the film of action, became synonymous of the overwhelming to end of the '60s, mentally associated to such period with common immediacy to little other its symbols. As much peculiar to those years had been the bands formed alone from a bassist, a drummer and a keyboardist, you suffice to remember the gothic ATOMIC ROOSTER or the baroque EL&P.

In 1970 a trio of sessionmen between the more requests was formed actual with this type of formation putting the sound of the hammond what angular stone on that build the structure of the actual melodies. The three musicians were John Gustafson (bass guitar and vocals), Pete Robinson (keyboards) and Mick Underwood (drums); the group and their sole album took the evocative name of QUATERMASS, from the homonym series of films and science fiction made-for-tv movie producted by Hammer.

Since the short prologue "Entropy" the programmatical intention of the trio are obvious: agreement of organ expanded, almost slowed down, from the ritually monumental effect. The alternate disk songs elaborated, in a position of to introduce pleasant variations inside structures strophe-refrain from the immediate impact, to spacious mainly instrumental elucubrations where melodic elements confuse themselves inside to experimental equipment and to impromptu openings. Between the pieces with more orthodox structure, two hit since the first listening for the rhythmic structures pounding and the unanimous refrain, "Black Sheep Of The Family", that the continuous svisate of organ confer a characteristic impression of fleetingness and "Gemini", irresistible swing surrounded with unheard of manner from moments of arrhythmy stagnation worthy of a requiem in cathedral. To note also the short seventeenth-century ballad "Good Lord Knows", sole moment in which the organ leaves space to the harpsichord and to a forest of arcs, instruments that trace a precious neoclassical tapestry. "Post War Saturday Echo" sails from hospitable environments, solar chords, persuasive and padded singings, near the South savage of Gregg Allman to deviate suddenly on crazy diparture, uneven times, dispels exponential of the keyboards, lines of lower part to routes of neck. "Good Lord Knows" part curling since immediately varied pyrothechnical subjects , in which everyone of three acrobat seeks to change an original R&B line in something of absurd and ever heard, while a song forced it is superimposed to strokes, without a true back logic. Dulcis in fundo, if already in the central section of "Make Up Your Mind" astounding hastes to the Bach meet themselves with discordant series, in "Laughin' Tackle", distilled elementary trial of alchemic merger, to such factors go to add itself acid soliloquys sublimating in alterations of the structure "free" and blues reminiscences whose asymptotic expansion tacks towards the infinite, giving back this instrumental exterminator of 10:35 one of the most brilliant gems from the rich English mine of the '70s.

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Send comments to ANDREW (BETA) | Report this review (#76757)
Posted Sunday, April 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quatermass has been often compared with Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but this comparison is not precise. Yes, it had three members (bass, drums, keyboards) and yes, the band produced some heavy sound, but...

This album is more heavy rock with some prog elements (improvisations, a litlle bit of psychedelic). The first song, Black sheep of the family, is a great rocking cover (better than Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow's version). Unlike ELP, Quatermass played no classical tunes. I would compared them to Atomic Rooster - first albumin English version with no guitar.

Although it may seem that this is an average album not to be praised by prog fans, it is highly recommended. Very good hard music, almost essential.

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Send comments to Hejkal (BETA) | Report this review (#115787)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have slightly surprised by modest description in QUATERMASS biography, and whereas this is most impressive group of the genre, although they managed to release just a one album. This is 100% progressive (symphonic) rock - very powerful and complex one, it's featuring virtuoso keyboard wizard Peter Robinson (Hammond organ, piano) who later well know for his magnificent work in SUNTREADER with drummer Morris Pert and BRANDX. In terms of comparison just think on the level of THE NICE, REFUGEE (P.Moraz) and ELP, but QUATERMASS has a lot of its own uniqueness. This is real masterpiece, a must for all prig fans, especially keyboards oriented.

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Send comments to alekra (BETA) | Report this review (#117814)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The music on this peculiar album is quite unique, but not the most interesting in my opinion, standing the test of time when competing for listening possibilities during the decades. The line-up is the challenging keyboard-bass-drums trio with vocals, and though the Hammond sounds are quite cool, still the sound texture is quite minimal and easy to get bored with after the first charms. Also the compositions are based on quite simple blues rock elements, so this stuff can't be compared to Emerson, Lake and Palmer in richness of details nor ranges of stylistic elements. This isn't really bad album either, so I would recommend it for fans of both early 1970's hard rock music and keyboard trios.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#119221)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Both then and now, QUATERMASS stands as one of the great and truly progressive rock albums. When this album came out in 1970 and for a good long while after, there would be parties where our local prog lovers and musicians us would get together just to listen to this album; it was an event. And still is sometimes. Why? Because this record is a classic. It is oozing with everything: Great songwriting, excellent musicianship, soulful and passionate vocals, and Attitude with a capital A. It's got authority, maturity, beauty, sensitivity, a truly 'progressive' and forward thinking aesthetic...and yet in spite of all that it's got DICK. BIG dick. And by that I mean it rages with menacing testosterone during its hardest moments. And yet it also has some hauntingly beautiful and poetic moments, including some of the best orchestration I've ever heard on a rock album, courtesy of the brilliant Paul Buckmaster. All said, 'Quatermass' is powerful musical statement; a strongly diverse and singular record that really has no peers. In multi- keyboardist Peter Robinson and bassist/vocalist John Gustafson you have two absolute monsters who turned in their best work ever on this one spectacular album.

This record came out in May of 1970, two months before ELP began recording their debut album. And though this is all a parade and not a race, one thing can be said with certainty: prior to his work with ELP Keith Emerson had not used a synthesizer, while on the Quatermass album Peter Robinson plays it like a seasoned electronics master. Alongside this, Robinson repeatedly turns in burning Hammond work throughout the album with some of the best organ registration (tone) committed to vinyl; his sound is fat, edgy, overdriven and big, with gobs of color. And for a dramatic exercise in contrasts, in the midst of some lush and cinematic orchestration from Paul Buckmaster, Robinson leaves us with in an organ solo on Laughing Tackle, the album's closing epic, that could pass for Jimmy Smith or any other jazz organ great at their very best.

John Gustafson's voice is, at times, so good as to almost be jaw dropping. His range, melodic sense and phrasing are nothing short of stunning, and he's got as much soul in his singing as any black man you can name. On 'Post War Saturday Echo', a 9- minute track filled with dramatic peaks and valleys, Gustafson turns in a vocal performance that is literally chilling. Even now decades later I get goosebumps hearing it. His soulful phrasing and high-range set against Robinson's multi-keyboard wall-of- sound create a striking contrast, and refreshing departure from the typically 'white' vocal style that was already emerging at that time as a hallmark of the progressive template with singers like Jon Anderson and Greg Lake. As a singer, Gustafson is simply in a league by himself. His bass playing is hardly less impressive; a seasoned vet of the British rock scene by that point, he plays with a skilled confidence and lyricism (similar to that of John Paul Jones) that serve as the perfect compliment for Robinson's diverse keyboard explorations. Drummer Mick Underwood holds it all together not unlike John Weathers of Gentle Giant, driving a deep plow through the soil and keeping everything on course while Robinson and Gustafson dazzle us up on top. Like Bonham with Zeppelin, Underwood's earthy and understated playing makes for just the right chemistry.

Every song on this album is a winner, each with its own unique charm. Production is top notch, and the cover is an unforgettable classic. This is just one of those perfect albums that has it all. It rocks hard. It has pretty and touching moments. Foreboding and suspenseful moments. Sunday mornin' sittin in a black church moments. Suspended in outerspace sci-fi drama moments. Moments of cinematic grandeur. Smokey jazz club moments. Its got leather AND velvet. It is ass kicking AND mind blowing.

Yin and yang? This record defines it. Progressive? One of the first, one of the best. And remember: This landmark album was released before ELP even began recording their first record. Get this album and listen to it with THAT in mind.

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Send comments to jonsilence (BETA) | Report this review (#156914)
Posted Friday, December 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The first time that I saw the cover of this album was in the mid-seventies. It was included with others in a promotional inner-sleeve included in the old L.P. format of ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA`s "ELO2" album. These and other albums were released by EMI in my country as part of the "Convivencia Sagrada" series, a series of very good Rock albums released by the label in those years. The cover design is very interesting. I think that it is one of the best that HIPGNOSIS designed then.

Apart from the cover design, another thing kept me interested in this album: it has the original version of the song called T"he Black Sheep of the Family" which the band RAINBOW recorded for their first album called "Ritchie Blackmore`s Rainbow" (1975).

Talking about this QUATERMASS`sole album as a whole, I think that it has some interesting compositions, some of them being very Progressive and others having a mix of several styles: Hard Rock, Blues, and sometimes some Jazz influences. The inclusion of some orchestral arrangements done by keyboard player Pete Robinson are also interesting. The album still has some good experimental moments, somewhat dark, and sometimes some things sound repetitive and boring. But it is a good album anyway. The original version of "The Black Sheep of the Family" included in this album (composed by S. Hammond. Who is him? He also appears as the songwriter of other songs!) is very good, but somewhat different to RAINBOW`S version, because it is based in the Hammond organ, not on guitars like in RAINBOW`s version. It has funny lyirics too! I don`t know if this song was released then as a single by QUATERMASS, but it is a very good song, better as a single than "One blind mice" (released as a Bonus Track in the CD version with its B- side, "Punting"), which was released as a single, and it was a strange choice in my opinion, because the song is not very melodical and accessible for a single release.

The general sound of this album is dominated by the keyboards, particularly by the Hammond organ, which is played with added distorted effects. The band didn`t use the syntesizers very much. As previous reviewers wrote, the members of this band were by that time veterans of the English Rock scene, with in the case of John Gustafson, who was playing in bands since the late fifties, and Mick Underwood, who also played in the band called OUTLAWS with Ritchie Blackmore in the mid sixties. Gustafson, Robinson and Underwood also played together in the band EPISODE SIX for a short time after Ian Gillan and Roger Glover left that band in mid 1969 to join DEEP PURPLE. In fact, Underwood recommended Ian Gillan to Blackmore to replace Rod Evans as lead singer in DEEP PURPLE. Gustafson also played in the mid seventies with IAN GILLAN`s BAND (as Peter Frame wrote in his book called "The Complete Rock Family Trees", published in the U.K. in 1993).

QUATERMASS`sound had the influence of several styles, so sometimes, in my opinion, they didn`t sound purely as a Prog band. I can hear some similiarities with URIAH HEEP, EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER and DEEP PURPLE`s music and style (but keeping in mind that URIAH HEEPand ELP had not yet released their first albums when this QUATEMASS`album was released in 1970!), but they were a good band anyway. Gustafson had a very good voice. Unfortunately, the band split due to financial reasons. Years later I was surprised to learn that Peter Robinson is the same musician who recorded and played with PHIL COLLINS in some of his solo albums and tours during the eighties!

I also know that in the nineties there was another band called QUATERMASS II with Mick Underwood as their only original member. I have not listened to their album yet.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#161077)
Posted Wednesday, February 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quatermass is one of the myth of the seventies subterrean scene, even because at the time they sold very little and so they couldn't bring out another albums after their self-titled debut. It was a pity, because they certainly had talent and not receiving a prize for their efforts must have been degreeding. Later, this created quite a hype among prog fans, who eventually recovered it from the mould and gave it the attention it deserved. Many have then hailed this record as a masterpiece, sometimes claiming the band's outstanting superiority on Emerson Lake & Palmer, who gained an extremely wider success in the same era with an analog line up (bass and vocals- keyboards- drums) and playing ideas. I'd just say that Quatermass is surely a good album, but I would not exactly agree with its milestone fame. There are certainly good ideas and undeniable technical skills, especially for the keyboard player- Peter Robinson- and the drummer- Mick Underwood. There are good songs such as Post war Saturnday Post- which seems a traditional blues number, but it's torn apart by Robinson's weird and alienaiting solos, from the majestic introduction to the robotic, synthetized sounds in the ending. Gustafson seems overall quite attached to blues canons in singing- just check out Up on the ground and Gemini, he fills the verses with high pitched, rough shoutings- but the compositions are made precious by the band's jams, and again- Robinson and Underwood are the protagonists in this domain. The record even contains a couple of short numbers: the catchy and nice Black Sheep of the family and the relaxing, string-wrapped Good Lord knows, and even Entropy, which opens and closes the album in an unearthly atmosphere. Sadly enough the instrumental jam of Laughin' Tackle seems quite too untidy and messy to endure the challange of time, revolving on itself without finding any clear idea to work on. A good debut, but the group was still trying to find its own style, and it's sad they were not given the possibilities to do it, because they would probably had come out with some more surprising and homogeneous records. However they proved their worth working as session men for many other artists, and their talent became widely recognized. Quatermass remains a very good record to listen to, particularly if you can appreciate a good and original keyboard style.

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Send comments to Charterhouser (BETA) | Report this review (#161343)
Posted Saturday, February 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars 3.5 stars actually...QUATERMASS is one of the finest examples of the early 70's UK progressive rock scene.Their debut album is very well balanced and moves from keyboard driven classic rock to keyboard dominated hard prog...The album beginns and ends with the two ''Entropies'',intro and outro,nothing important to be written about them,just two good short piano/keyboard pieces...In ''Black Sheep...'' we meet the classic rock side of the band,just an average rock track with DEEP PURPLE/URIAH HEEP hints...''Post war...'' is another heavy rock track byt with strong progressive tendencies.It sounds dark and bluesy with a great keyboard driven last section...''Good lord...'' is a nice short mellow track,almost symphonic,where BEGGAR'S OPERA come to mind...''Up to the ground'' is one more hard prog example by the band,nothing special not bad either,a sample of which is the favorite sound of the band...''Gemini'' is the weakest track of all,very DEEP PURPLE influenced,almost a copy,but that's not what I expect to hear from a band with strong prog leanings...

And we are heading for the two masterpieces of the disc...''Make up your mind'' starts off with another DEEP PURPLE influenced melody but very soon the track transforms into a prog rock epic...Great keyboard work with dark bass lines and a symphonic/jazz sound that brings early KING CRIMSON or even VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR to mind...As for the last track, ''Laughing tackle'', well, this is a 24-carat instrumental piece of music,believe me...The most symphonic track of the album with ELP and KING CRIMSON tendencies and some intricate,haunting string lines that make it one of the most dark and progressive tracks of the early 70's scene...

Conclusion: This album is very close to a must have,if you don't mind the intense DEEP PURPLE influence and looking for some early really progressive music...

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#180384)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This a very biased review from someone who is a Deep Purple fan. Now that that's out of the way, it means that I'm a sucker for heavy keyboards a la Jon Lord. Look no further, but QUATERMASS delivers - big time. As mentioned from other reviewers, this is primarily a heavy rock album with some prog. rock flourishes. You won't hear ELP here, but you might get a cross between FIELDS and LE ORME's _Collage_ LP. Of note is the gut-wrenching vocal delivery of one John Gustafson of Roxy Music-fame. The vocal delivery on the track _Post War Saturday Echo_ rivals that of Deep Purple's Ian Gillan on CHILD IN TIME. Not so much in the high decibel range, just the delivery in relation to the build up of the song and the emotion. The emotional despair must have left this man exhausted after it was recorded. _Black Sheep Of The Family_ was later covered by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Peter Robinson's keyboard sounds nothing like his work as a member of Brand X. His sound is strictly in the Atomic Rooster, Graham Field, Jon Lord and Ken Hensley school of prog. rock. Bottom-end heavy duty organ. In the heavy organ category, QUATERMASS is an undeniable masterpiece which has few rivals.

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#194447)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
1 stars I picked up a the Harvest Collectors edition of the LP decades ago for the exorbitant price of $20, probably partly because I was already on a binge and not thinking rationally, but also this group, whom I had never heard of, was on the Harvest label. The cover even gave the look of a BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST compilation, and I thought it was cool that the group utilized string arrangements.

I was quite unprepared for the aural onslaught from this power trio, a bluesy, organ dominated, jammy, crunching attack. I can't even imagine how they would fit a guitar into this wall of sound. This group has little to do with other KB trios, and more in keeping with DEEP PURPLE, but utterly amateurish in almost every aspect, from the vocals that wait atonally to the intractible instrumentation. It's like a live recording in the studio by a band getting together for, oh, maybe the 3rd time. Even the production is sadly muffled and static.

Quatermass would appear to have been a pretty early signing on the label, and at the forefront of this type of rock configuration, which nets them half a star, which I dock for the lack of actual songs here. Instead we find massed quarter songs desperately calling out to be cobbled together, smoothed out, and ultimately still dispensed with. Old vinyl copy in good condition, anyone?

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#195612)
Posted Sunday, December 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars We prog fans are so exacting. If it's too much this or not enough that, doesn't have the things we like or not in the right places, the lyrics wanting or the production doesn't meet our standards, it's usually goodbye Charlie. We don't have the time to further explore a record or artist deemed by us not good enough, we've got other things to obsessively seek out and lay waste to our lives, loved ones and bank accounts over.

Understandable, sacrifices must be made. But if you're one of the few who still have a taste for that old time keyboard prog, don't be too scared off by the grumblings and useless comparisons this trio tends to attract. The smoky goodness of Pete Robinson's keys, John Gustafson's soulful bass/vocal support, and Mick Underwood's seasoned drumming made for a completely hot and heavy art band whose spectacular 1970 debut inexplicably tanked. Okay, alright, sometimes they sound like any number of other English bands of the period - you've read the comparisons - but these guys were good. Really good. A group borne of the fabulously incestuous art scene in Britain, more inline with the progressive rave-up acts like Touch, Shuttah, or Cressida than ELP or Deep Purple. A fine production didn't hurt either and the 2007 Repertoire issue sounds just great.

An almost perfect infusion of blues rhythm, neoclassical power rock, and touches of electronicism, in certain ways the Quatermass album out-shone ELP's own brilliant debut the same year by taking greater risks. 'Tarkus' would trump everyone a year later but in '70, this was one strong leap in a very cool direction, science fiction thematics and all. Soft and contemplative 'Entropy' floats into 'Black Sheep of the Family', a Winwood-like soul/blues stomper. The full regalia of Robinson's Hammond organ opens 'Postwar Saturday Echo', slipping into a slowblues that initially drags but deepens into a composition that is utterly prog for the last half of this 10-minute opus. Dripping romance of 'Good Lord Knows' is revived by grinder 'Up on the Ground' where the Jon Lord associations are fair, Gustafson's yelling distracting but no more than a young Paul Williams or Rob Halford, sweetened by a nifty low-riding jam. Pop excursion 'Gemini' seems geared toward the charts, tailored and partly sabotaged but pulls together for a simmering vamp and showcases the unit's talent for merging the appealing with the intellectual. 'Make Up Your Mind' follows a similar path; starts innocently but soon becomes a prog demon full of surprises and beasties around every corner. Terrific piece at eight minutes and completely missed by those unluckies who dismissed this LP out of hand after just a few cuts. And it just gets better and better; 'Laughin Tackle' is jaw-droppingly good with Robinson's mix of quiet synths, piano and ice-rink organ, Underwood's jazz traps, Gustafson's steady bass and a perfectly recorded orchestra on heavy backup. When was this made? 1970? Absolutely marvelous and worth the price alone. It builds to a spine-tingling crescendo, the whole thing not unlike Herbie Hancock's avant garde adventures. Really, you don't know what you're missing. Two good extras from the 'One Blind Mice' single are included.

If patience is yours and you don't mind some black gospel fire in with your blue-eyed prog, I can't recommend this release enough. A revelation.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#204923)
Posted Monday, March 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
Raff
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Another of the many one-shot bands that seem to be found all over the 'golden years' of prog, Quatermass can be called a heavier version of ELP (which were no lightweights themselves) - a Hammond-based 'power trio' without a guitarist, and with a bassist who doubled up as a lead vocalist. Their music is the kind that usually elicits either love or hate, with long, keyboard-driven tracks and often over-the-top vocals, still recognisably influenced by the blues, but complex enough to garner the approval of a sizable number of prog fans. Less melodic than Uriah Heep, less dark than Atomic Rooster, noticeably influenced by the mother of all heavy prog bands, the mighty Deep Purple and their keyboard master, Jon Lord, Quatermass nevertheless managed to produce a single, self-titled album with enough individuality and ideas to make it a minor classic of its times.

Quite surprisingly for a band that is not a household name, the album cover (depicting a flock of pterodactyls in flight over a claustrophobic, futuristic background) is the work of Storm Thorgerson, the creator of so many Pink Floyd covers, a true rock icon. As interesting as the artwork is, I think it is somewhat at odds with the music inside, which, while undoubtedly excellent, is not particularly innovative or futuristic. However, this last statement should not be taken as a form of criticism: 'traditional' heavy prog is rarely about innovation, but rather more about the reinterpretation of sources such as blues, classic rock'n'roll, or even classical music. In Quatermass' single effort there is enough individuality, as well as enough excellent musicianship, to make us regret their early demise.

The album starts low-key with the brief instrumental Entropia, which introduces their best-known song, Black Sheep of the Family (covered by Rainbow on their debut album), a catchy number with a definite black soul influence. Bassist John Gustafson's vocals come right from the Ian Gillan/Glenn Hughes school of singing (incidentally, he would join the Ian Gillan Band in the mid-Seventies), though I must say he is not as effective as either of those greats, though always adequate. The following track, the almost 10-minute Postwar Saturday Echo, is one of the highlights of the album, with a stellar performance by keyboardist Peter Robinson (later with Brand X) on Hammond and piano. It is basically a slow-burning blues soulfully interpreted by Gustafson, but those keys do lift it out of the ordinary.

As often happens with prog albums, the longer tracks offer the most interest. While the poppy Gemini and the rather nondescript Good Lord Knows somewhat smack of filler, Up on the Ground, but especially Make Up Your Mind and the instrumental Laughing Tackle hold a whole lot of interest even for the more discerning prog fans. The latter track, slow and atmospheric, is richly enhanced by the presence of a string section, and quite indicative of what the band would have been capable, had they stayed together to record at least another album. Make Up Your Mind , bookended by some energetic, catchy singing parts, is made up (pun unintended) of several sections in which the three band members show off their respective chops - a powerful, swirling, dramatic piece and music. On the other hand, the two bonus tracks (the hard rocker One Blind Mice and the instrumental Punting) present on the 1990 Repertoire Records remaster, while perfectly decent, are not what I would call essential.

When the album flopped, and Quatermass consequently disbanded, the three members went on with their respective careers - drummer Mick Underwood would join the second incarnation of the Ian Gillan Band (simply called Gillan), Gustafson ended up in Roxy Music, and Peter Robinson became a member of Brand X. Even though Rainbow's cover of Black Sheep of the Family kept the band's name from sinking into complete obscurity, nowadays Quatermass are little more than a cult item, however highly regarded by some.

Anyway, this album is definitely worthy of exploration, especially if you are a fan of the mighty roar of the Hammond organ. As regards the rating, even if Quatermass cannot certainly be called a masterpiece, it is undeniably one of the most representative examples of early heavy prog, and as such, in my opinion, deserves more than a paltry three stars. Unless you are really averse to blues-tinged, hard-edged prog, you could do worse than add this album to your collection.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#205803)
Posted Sunday, March 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I just love the sound this trio produces but it wasn't always like this. Originally I found this album very average and generally sounding like a mix of ELP and Deep Purple but eventually I realized the charm of this early progressive rock record!

Each composition brings something new and exciting to the mix starting with the rocker Black Sheep In The Family, which later will be covered by Rainbow on their debut album, and all the way to the avant-garde sounding symphonic prog of Laughing Tackle. The only real down-side that I can think of is the length of some of these compositions, but considering that this is a 1970-album the band did a phenomenal job!

This music is progressive and don't let anyone tell you any different. Besides if you require any proof of that then, by all means, listen to the wonderful sample of Laughin' Tackle available here on Prog Archives!

Although Quatermass is nowhere near one of my favorite albums it's still dear to me because of personal reasons and I love to revisit this album on regular basis.

***** star songs: Black Sheep In The Family (3:36) Laughing Tackle (10:35)

**** star songs: Entropy (1:10) Post War Saturday Echo (9:42) Good Lord Knows (2:54) Up On The Ground (7:08) Gemini (5:54) Make Up Your Mind (8:44) Entropy (0:40)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#261916)
Posted Thursday, January 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Along with my other reviews of obscure, under-rated gems, i could not leave out Quatermass.

I never even knew of this group until 1987, when i bought their self-titled debut. Even though i was not much acquainted with progressive music at the time i discovered it, i knew that this had to be one of the very best. There is an astonishing depth and emotion in this music, and it is complex enough that it takes awhile to understand and appreciate it.

Keyboardist Peter Robinson does an incredible job, and is obviously a natural at organ and piano,meshing both classical music and at times a jazz feel with a rock intensity that pretty well floors most of the competition, and leaves the listener shaking his head and wondering, how wrongly overlooked. John Gustafson's bass playing and singing are the wedding of great technique and real, sincere emotion, there not being many quite like him. You have a great drummer in Mick Underwood, and whether things have vocals, or extend themselves in long instrumental passages, Quatermass leave you breathless, and wanting to hear more.

This album is not an okay record that was overlooked, but a GREAT album that was astonishingly overlooked. I have turned to it many times since i first heard it, and i will continue to do so, when i want to hear a keyboard based power trio do great progressive rock-it will always achieve what it always has for me, for this i am sure. The two additional tracks on the remastered CD-a couple of singles tracks, also bear long term listening, as well. Awesome! Five stars.

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Send comments to presdoug (BETA) | Report this review (#263466)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I like this more than I thought I would. I've always had trouble with Proto-Prog albums and while this is listed under Heavy-Prog it is one of the early ones as it was released in 1970. QUATERMASS were a trio with the focus on the Hammond organ. No guitar here but bass and drums round out the sound. These three guys were previously in a band called EPISODE SIX with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover who would of course go on to join DEEP PURPLE. It was actually right after these two guys left that they changed their name to QUATERMASS.

"Entropy" is an organ filled intro track. "Black Sheep In The Family" is a catchy tune with the organ and vocals standing out. Not a fan of this one. "Post War Saturday Echo" opens with drums and organ before these Blues styled vocals take over with bass after a minute. It kicks in before 3 1/2 minutes. Piano a minute later as it settles. It kicks back in after 5 1/2 minutes as the tempo continues to change. "Good Lord Knows" builds and then settles when the vocals come in. Lots of strings in this one. Very majestic, I like it.

"Up On The Ground" features some nasty organ early. Best part of the album. Vocals a minute in. It settles after 3 minutes with more killer organ. A top three track for me. "Gemni" is catchy with piano, vocals and drums standing out. Not a fan. It settles with organ then it kicks in again as contrasts continue. Lots of organ after 3 1/2 minutes. Not a fan when the vocals return. "Make Up Your Mind" is better. Just a great sounding tune really. Even the vocals sound much better. A top three for sure. "Laughing Tackle" features a string orchestra and is one of the highlights as well. It blends into the short final piece called "Entropy".

3.5 stars. It's very much a mixed bag for me, but this is at times quite impressive. Good album.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#267262)
Posted Saturday, February 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Robinson, Lake & Purple.

If we wanted to find the sources from which this work is inspired we need to think of two groups well known to the fans of classic 70's rock: Deep Purple and ELP. In fact' the style of Quatermass is the middle ground between these two giants of rock music. The group formed from the ashes of a previous band in which militated none other than Roger Glover and Ian Gillian, the celebrated bassist and voice of Deep Purple. After the release of Gillian the trio is made up: a classic prog trio with a bassist, a keyboardist and a drummer.

Deep Purple's influence is felt immediately in Black Sheep Of The Family (the first song Entropy is a short introduction), one of the best songs of the album: it's a convincing hard rock with a very catchy riff and the powerful voice of the bassist John Gustafson.

The first section of the following song Post War, Saturday Echo, is very similar to ELP style: it is an organ intro that soon, however, fades into a long, slow and painful progressive blues with filtered voice and long organ solos. This is one of the highlight of the entire album.

Good Lord Knows is a song most delicate and intimate, at times marred, I think, by too bombastic symphonic arrangement that has nothing to do with the general style of the album.

The rest of the album is what best represents the band's style. Up On the Ground has a very distorted organ riff' and very good instrumental part, occasionally played in jazz style in the middle. Gemini is another excellent heavy song, always very close to the style of Deep Purple, with great piano and organ solos by Robinson. Not always, however, the quality of the music satisfies me: Make Up Your Mind has beautiful vocal parts but is not always effective in the instrumental long section in the middle of the song; Laughin Tackle is a long instrumental piece with a bass riff that ends, however, to annoy.

In conclusion, Quatermass is a very good album, very well played, with a excellent rhythm section and good technical performance by Robinson, who compensates for the lack of a guitarist with deliberately distorted organ sounds; But I think it is precisely the lack of guitar that makes Quatermass a little too cold for my taste.

A must for heavy prog fans. Good but maybe not essential for the others.

Rating: 6/10.

Best song: Black Sheep Of The Family

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Send comments to Dark Nazgul (BETA) | Report this review (#369617)
Posted Saturday, January 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars This is why I come to the archives. Discovering bands and albums that passed me by growing up that I'm now discovering via this website. Yeah, some of the performers I've heard were best left forgotten, but more often I'm hearing some killer groups from back in the day for the first time and they impress the hell out of me. Quatermass, the band, the album, and the remnants of a group that had previously lost Ian Gillian and Roger Glover to Deep Purple, is one of those cool discoveries.

This is another of those bands that earns its prog-cred by being hard rockers without guitars. Hammond led, Peter has to go ape on his keyboards to compensate, and the results musically are something not dissimilar to Atomic Rooster's first album, although I find this effort more adventurous and generally better. The vocals, in particular, are noteworthy due to John Gustafson's impassioned delivery. He's not at Ian Gillian's range or at Steve Winwood's "soul" level, but he has elements of both singers and throws in a raw emotional performance that can be captivating at times.

The 9:42 minute "Post war Saturday echo" starts off like some lost track from ELP's first album before settling into this slow blues jam that's almost reminiscent of Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Lovin' You" but even dirgier. Then a little after the three minute mark, this song soars like pterodactyls through a futuristic grid into the sky with an absolute bomb of a chorus. John puts his heart, soul, and groin on the table here, singing like he's ready to explode. It's awesome, and makes the previous couple of minutes more than worthwhile. Later in the song there's even a full on prog rock break that keeps things unpredictable. I dig this song tremendously and owe the Archives for finding it.

There are plenty of other goodies as well. "Black sheep in the family" is catchy and has a "Deep Purple without guitars" vibe (this song was later covered by Rainbow, Ritchie deduced that tune deserved some six-string wailing), and "Gemini" has a driving rhythm and fun lyrics. Proginess is ensured by the last two long tunes, especially the jazzy instrumental "Laughing tackle" that even boasts a drum solo that's thankfully not too long. I'm discovering that a lot of bands felt the need to have a drum solo in their studio efforts in 1970 releases. The orchestra in a couple of tunes is a nice touch, adding some atmosphere to the trippy "Good Lord knows".

Too bad that this band didn't quite make it and folded soon after, as they had something good going on here. Quatermass fits perfectly in the 1970 realm of exploring some variations of progressive rock to find a signature sound. As that strange year in rock music sandwiched between two iconic years, 1970 has its fair share of gems, as this album proves.

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Send comments to Prog Sothoth (BETA) | Report this review (#572315)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars When some say something is missing (or lacking) here, I find it difficult to find out what it may be unless it is time or luck -to have had a longer career and musical evolution and growth.

The musicianship is here. The inspiration for writing or for covering is, too. The ability to rock and to solo is not absent, either... so, what, appart of a personal taste for this or that instrument combination?

Frankly, to discard The Alhambra in Granada (Spain) because it is not made with stone as The Pyramids are, or because it was made by muslims... does not seem to be a strong argument.

Anyway, this astonishing, incredibly unknown - I must admit they are a recent discovery for me, and thanks to the ProgArchives.com- trio made very good prog rock and deserved a second chance or a better management that never came. However, thanks to devoted publishing labels and rescuers, we can still enjoy their music and maybe a few royalties can pay back for the bitter disappointment of failure.

Do not hesitate to try this excellent record. It may be not an "Absolute Masterpiece" but one cannot help thinking that giving it less than four stars (I'd give them four and half - or 9 out of 10- if that could be) sounds a bit ungenerous.

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Send comments to ibnacio (BETA) | Report this review (#620043)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Briefly hailed as the next Led Zeppelin-sized thing, British power-prog trio Quatermass would unfortunately stall at the first attempt with this ambitious self-titled effort from 1970. Featuring striking cover art in the form of three pterodactyls gliding between two futuristic, glass-and-metal skyscraper-style structures(courtesy of Hipgnosis' Storm Thorgerson) and a bruising, proto-metallic sound undercut with jagged hammond organs and grazing bass riffs, for whatever reason it just wasn't meant to be for the trio, despite producing a memorable album whose reputation lives on right to this day. Featuring the same lead guitar-free set-up as Charisma acts Rare Bird and Van Der Graaf Generator, Quatermass' sound was all about the dynamic keyboards of Peter Robinson and the gruff vocals and throbbing bass-lines of future Roxy Music member John Gustafson, the duo all the while backed by the driving percussion skills of Mick Underwood. The group's sound falls somewhere between the bouncy noodling of ELP and the bluesy rock of the aforementioned Led Zeppelin, though with an experimental and highly progressive edge that sometimes fudges the more rock-orientated moments, the threesome instead content to furrow complex sonic passages that showcase a much more eclectic sound that one might initially expect. Highlights include the album's best-known piece 'Black Sheep Of The Family', a thumping, aggressive rocker that would be covered later on by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, whilst the elegiac 'Good Lord Knows' exhibits Quatermass's softer, more classically-orientated side. However, the group seem to perform best when thrashing out meaty rockers such as the excellent, deep-grooved seven- minute mini-epic 'Up On The Ground', a jazz-tinged piece which finds Robinson dealing out swirls of lightning- fast hammond breaks over Gustafson's rolling bass. The duo also combine effortlessly on the lengthy 'Laughin' Tackle', whilst album finisher 'Punting' adds more jagged blues riffs and strange sound effects to the mix. We might never know the exact reasons for the commercial failure of Quatermass, yet fail they did despite producing an energetic slice of hard-edged progressive rock that should have been ripe for the age. Those who like the more eclectic side of hard early-seventies rock are urged to immediately investigate. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#731830)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the best progressive rock albums of the seventies. There are moments of intricate keyboard work, a solid rhythm section which is never boring, as well as great vocals. Some may wonder at that last contention. Gustafson is not an excellent singer, but he was motivated here. He sings with the kind of conviction needed to put a song over the top. This is not to say that all of his singing is loud. Indeed "Good Lord Knows" has a simple almost gentle vocal approach which is perfect for the sentiment expressed: sad acquiescence.

When I first heard this album, it took me a few songs before I realized there was no guitar player. This is due not to my lack of attention, but to the interesting keyboard flourishes (quite a nice tone and similar to John Lord of Deep Purple). I had to ask myself whether I needed guitar in progressive rock to enjoy it. The answer in this case is no.

Entropy begins the album with a pleasant molasses atmosphere which then segues into Black Sheep of the Family which features some enjoyable yelping from Gustafson. I won't review each song, but will say all are good, some more than others. The two bonus tracks hold up well, and the string accompaniment is better than found on most rock records.

Despite fitting fairly comfortably in the Prog category, this album mixes a working-class feel with the fancier aspects. Call it an earthbound element, if you will, to balance the soaring musical themes. Listeners with the ability to enjoy a wide range of music should be able to appreciate this piece which is of a period, but transcends being a period piece. (4.5 Stars)

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Send comments to Tableau (BETA) | Report this review (#758780)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This debut album by Quatermass epitomises the raw, dirty roots of progressive rock, where the linkages to the underground psychedelic scene were still visible. Emerging before symphonic prog became the dominant mode in progressive rock, the band may have an ELP like drums- bass-keyboards power trio lineup but Peter Robinson is interested less in classical showboating and more in dirty, heavy organ lines which threaten to invade Atomic Rooster territory. Not the most technically flashy of early prog albums, it's still a highly enjoyable album which will give fans of the heavier end of prog - especially the heavy prog practised in the dawn of the genre - plenty to smile about.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#930345)
Posted Friday, March 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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