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PATERNOSTER

Paternoster

Krautrock


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

One of those early (and rare Austrian groups, this standard prog quartet released their sole album on a small label , and it became one of the most expensive and sought-after items until its reissue in Cd on the small Ohrwalsch label in the early 90's. Behind the cool drawn artwork hides a slice of heavy and depressive organ-driven hard-prog. In some ways, the doom and gloom of the music (mostly the lyrics and vocals) reminds me of Sabbath's debut album with an early Floyd spacey feel (Saucerful) and the second rate The Nice (the organ work), even if the music is fairly different to those albums.

The vocals are the first (but not only) depressive thing, with Wippel's voice sounding like a cross of depressive Brooker (Procol Harum) delivery and Moran Neuműller (Out Of Focus) timbre, carrying on about life's spiritual sense, even insulting organized religion. Next depressive thing is Wippel's organ, often sounding church-like (offering an intentional liturgical feel to the album, look at their name for confirmation of this) and contrasting heavily (but not shockingly) with Walter's fuzzed-out guitar parts.

From the gloomy a-capella chants of the opening eponymous track to the Mammoth Opus closing track, the album is fairly monotonous (musically speaking as well), quite even, but manages to remain interestingly apt, complex and even a bit inventive. If I must name a better track, it would be The Pope Is Wrong (my atheist feelings not interfering here), because they clearly kept their better musical ideas for the strong message of the lyrics. Also worthy of note is the opening two minutes of the closing tracks.

If you have suicidal or depressive tendencies, you'd better stay away from this album, otherwise the album is a curiosity and is original enough to be a must hear at least once. But most likely, once the novelty is worn off, you'll not be spinning this very often even if you are a fan of early 70's organ-driven prog.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#30247)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars PATERNOSTERr was one of the few prog rock bands to emerge out of Austria, aside from EELA CRAIG and KYRIE ELEISON. They released their one and only album in 1972 on the CBS label, but despite the label it was released on, has became one of the rarest albums on the label (up there with the British folk rock band TREES). In 1991, a small German label called Ohrwaschl (no relation to Ohr Records at all) had reissued this on CD, but because the master tapes were lost, it was a direct from LP to CD recording. Don't let that scare you off, because the sound quality is great, and there only the occasional cracking.

PATERNOSTER was lead by organist/vocalist Franz Wippel. His singing is really peculiar, think of a depressed version of PROCOL HARUM's Gary Brooker with a Germanic accent and you get the picture how he sounds like. The rest of the band consisted of Gerhart Walenta on drums, Gerhard Walter on guitar and vocals, and Heimo Wisser on bass.

Musically they're an early '70s prog band with psychedelic leanings. Hammond organ is the only keyboard used, and the guitarist uses that late '60s psychedelic fuzz lead. I have always heard this album described as being "very depressing". Well, I hadn't noticed that. Actually the only thing depressing sounding is the vocals from Franz Wippel himself, and of the lyrics. Take away the lyrics and the vocals, there is really nothing depressing about the recording. What you really get is early '70s organ-driven prog, with vocal passages that bring to mind PROCOL HARUM, and the more energetic passages that bring to mind The NICE. Some of the songs have lots of electronic effects that resemble such Krautrock acts as ASH RA TEMPEL or early TANGERINE DREAM, injected with the early '70s prog sound you expect from these guys.

The album opens up with "Paternoster". It starts off rather slowly, with organ and vocals. The first part is sung in Latin (the only part of the album not sung in English), the second part is sung in English, and then it kicks in to a very cool psychedelic jam that I wished was longer. "Stop These Lines" and "The Pope is Wrong" are example of the early prog sound combined with the spacy Krautrock sound of ASH RA TEMPEL or early TANGERINE DREAM (or early PINK FLOYD, for that matter). Some of the lyrics tend to be religious, especially "Paternoster" itself, but "The Pope is Wrong" has lyrics highly critical of the Pope, but still in defense of religion. "Blind Children" features lyrics on the theme of suicide.

The album isn't perfect. For one thing, the vocalist is quite peculiar sounding and needs getting used to. Some of the vocal passages seem to bog the music down a bit (because they keep the same pace without much variation during those passages), and it's without a doubt a lot of the instrumental passages demonstates that this band can really soar. I'd actually call this a totally essential album if it was all instrumental. But as it stands, it's still worth having, but the vocals need getting used to.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#30246)
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
twylyghtzun@h
5 stars Where do I start ? Context, maybe. As it is, I'm more into heavy-metal than prog rock, specifically an obscure branch of the metal tree called 'doom', started a while ago by a band you've all heard of, Black Sabbath. Doom metal deals with the darker elements of life : pain, loss, and solitude, musically translated into a slow and lyrical dirge. Where does Paternoster fit into this picture ? Let me tell you that I've listened to countless doom bands over the year, and few can compare to this Austrian bunch in terms of sorrow and hopelessness. Paternoster IS pain, Paternoster IS grief. Mainly because Franz Wippel's weeping vocals bring an uncanny depth to the dark musical arrangements on display here. Wippel mourns more than he sings, something I had never heard before (forget about crybaby type doom like My Dying Bride). And the music is as haunting as the vocals : "Stop These Lines", "Blind Children", true classics that anyone with a penchant for dark atmospheres should listen to. Now that I have your attention, let me tell you that I've seen some copies of the Ohrwaschl release available at a decent price on eBay. By all means, buy this album !

Max

** twylyghtzun@hotmail.com ** www.horrorsoftheblackmuseum.com

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Posted Thursday, July 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
phan_tastica@
4 stars when I first listened to this record I got really sad, it has somethign that moves you, perhaps the church organ and its irony, though, you won't laugh. It's more like a nihilistic life the one they tried to reflect. Now, if you try not to pay attention to the lyrics and focus only on music, I'm positive you'll enjoy it better. Glad they didn't record anyhting else, I want to remember them just like this.

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Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
dresovi@yahoo
3 stars Other than listening to this pathetic and ridiculous vocal we have a chance to listen to fairly decent and by no means essential album. There some great instrumental passages especially on songs 2, 5 and 7.

I do not know what was wrong with this guys when they went with vocalist like this? Realy do not know if it is collectors only or good but not essential stuff.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#30250)
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
4 stars Rather unknown from a large audience, Paternoster is in the leading line of the strangest krautrock bands which appeared during the 70's. This Austrian quartet released only one album in its whole career, supporting an effective, brilliant depressive heavy "psych" rock sound. The "church" like organ sequences are beautifully ethereal, the guitar parts are totally freak out and the singer is near to commit suicide. The opening composition offers a "garage" bluesy rock improvisation with "vintage" organ interludes. "Stop this line" is a claustrophobic, intoxicated track supported by plaintive organ / guitar duets and a tortured voice.my favourite despite that the voice is sometime difficult to support. "Blind Children" is an other desperate composition closed to the previous one. The "pope is wrong" is really near to the psych / weird experiences of early krautrock. A negative mood prevails all along this album, it remains an avenue of agonised expressions.those who have a "melancholic" temper should avoid this one. It's not a standard of progressive rock music because of the general "primitive" aspect of the music. However it remains a distinctive & unforgotten musical experience.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#59282)
Posted Tuesday, December 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars PATERNOSTER's debut album is a peculiarly interesting album with some pretty dark progressive moments. Musically this album is not far from what PINK FLOYD were doing at the same time and verges on the psychedelic. The lead vocalist might take some getting used to before it all sinks in as his vocals sound a tad strained. Having said this, after a few listens the vocals merge into the music and you can get easily into the instrumentation. Musically this band blend lovely organ work with underground sounding guitar, bass and percussion. When the band break into their progressions it can simply take you away and I love their sound... very cool album !

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#72087)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This extremely rare collector's item from Austria is pushing me in a kind of catch-22 situation.On the one hand it's probably quite unique be it in a positive or negative sense. Having said that it's as well not really anything special let alone great. Undoubtedly the constantly droning and depressing vocals are something hard to be ignored but speaking about the music alone it isn't anyhing worldshaking either. Organ-dominated early 70's blues rock blent with bits of psychedelic electronic krautrock. The former I use to like quite a lot, not the case with the latter one. Fitting well with the whole concept of the album lyrics are of course highly stamped by religious topics, partly as well in a critical manner. Especially the first track being an a-capella liturgical chant appeared very alienating and unbearable to me. So after all hardly anything on here providing some enjoyment for me. I would say definitely not an essential one, rather solely interesting for collectors of electronic Krautrock or possibly for maniacs of insane doom metal stuff. I was looking for it out of curiosity and luckily found a copy by download. For me not really worth to hunt for!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#81045)
Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Upon throwing this record on, I was immediately drawn into a dark, vivid opera clad with churchesque organs(creating a nice and almost ironic accompaniment to the album's recurrent theme of religious skepticism), howling, throat-burning vocalizations and a hint of Krautrock influenced basslines.

The first track of Peternoster's self-titled 1972 album, 'Paternoster' begins with a Latin chant that progresses into a frustrated, poetic recitation over the consistent drones of a church organ, soon becoming a short jam that sounds like the Doors drowning underwater(trust me, this description fits it). The following tracks live up to the album's initiation with the exception of Old Danube, which seems blatantly misplaced.

The album gracefully closes with the clever 'Mammoth Opus O, who's last 25 seconds deliver one of the most memorable conclusions to an album in Progrock history in that it concludes the album with a sudden shift to a light sound that seems to literally laugh at the listener out of complete insanity.

It is almost indispensable that every Progrock collector hears this album for its beautiful themes and elements that are guaranteed to provide a moving experience.

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Send comments to MTZArts (BETA) | Report this review (#160963)
Posted Tuesday, February 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Paternoster is a one-shot band from Austria that brought a gloomy type of psychedelic kraut-organ rock that was far ahead of its time. At least so when it comes to the mood and plaintive vocal style. In a way it announces the Weltschmerz of Joy Division, or early Christian Death or other Gothic acts that managed to avoid over-excessive pathos. It's pretty much disconnected from anything from its own era, only the eerie vocals of Ozzy come close.

For the unprepared Prog fan expecting harmonious Beatle-boys harmonies, the vocals will be too close for comfort, but it's exactly the vocals that make this album so stunning and such a unique gem for me. The music is the known 60's based type of psychedelic Floyd rock with pounding drum trances, floating organ sounds, electronic experimentation and spacious guitar wails.

If the music is like an upbeat mix of the Floyd with the Nice, the mourning vocals will change the tone to something that many Prog fans will find unbearable to listen to. The guy makes me sit on the edge of my seat though. There's so much tension and pain in his delivery and he sounds so unique and refreshing. Well to me at least, to most listeners he will sound as if he's ready to give up and hang himself any time during this record.

While musically very far removed from metal, the band caught a vibe here that should be a mandatory listen for Goth and doom fans. Of course, for them, the psychedelic Kraut-like experimentation will make this a tough listen. An excellent album, but one without target audience, approach at own risk.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#339963)
Posted Wednesday, December 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I loved this album right from the very first notes.Yes this is unique and strange with these vocals that are mournful and urgent in a dark Acid Folk style similar to COMUS and JAN DUKES DE GREY but in a Krautrock style. Lots of floating organ and prominant bass with fuzzed out sounding guitar.The lyrics are meaningful and very well done. And hey these guys are from Austria ! A Krautrock band from Austria ?

"Paternoster" opens with floating organ with those vocals to open. His vocals have so much emotion connected to them and the words are so meaningful. When the vocals stop a beat comes in before 3 minutes followed by the organ and guitar as the tempo picks up. How good is this ! "Realization" opens with drums as the guitar lights it up.Vocals and prominant bass join in as well.The vocals stop and it settles back with organ and drums leading.The vocals are back for the final minute with the guitar grinding it out. "Stop These Lines" is dark with sparse sounds coming and going.The organ comes in as it starts to build. Eerie stuff. The organ comes floating to the forefront before 2 1/2 minutes and mournful vocals follow. Vocals stop after 5 minutes and the music gets more intense as the guitar solos over top.Vocals join the intensity.

"Blind Children" opens with organ and bass as sparse drums and guitar help out. Vocals after a minute and a full sound before 3 minutes. Drums only follow but not for long. A great sounding intrumental section here then it settles back.Vocals are back 5 1/2 minutes in. "Old Danube" is a rare uptempo track with drums and organ standing out. It does settle with vocals before 1 1/2 minutes then picks back up when the vocals stop. Contrasts continue. "The Pope Is Wrong" is haunting with pulsating organ that comes and goes.Bass comes to the fore.This is great ! Guitar arrives around 2 minutes when the organ stops. Drums follow. Organ is back then we get vocals for the first time around 4 1/2 minutes saying "Poor old man...who needs you to believe in God". Amen brother ! "Mammoth Opus" is the 9 minute closer. Spacey sounds and bass to start. Organ before 2 minutes followed by a beat. It settles 4 minutes in with vocals and floating organ.Vocals stop and the tempo picks up before 6 minutes.What a way to end the album.

I'm blown away by this unique album and feel that 4.5 stars is justified.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#389358)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2011 | Review Permalink

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