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Sean Trane
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.

Report this review (#30247)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#30246)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
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 !


** [email protected] **

Report this review (#30248)
Posted Thursday, July 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
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.
Report this review (#30249)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#30250)
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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 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.
Report this review (#59282)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
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 !
Report this review (#72087)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
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!
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.

Report this review (#160963)
Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#339963)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
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.

Report this review (#389358)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Paternoster's lone, obscure LP has become legend over the years among record collectors. Reading reviews of this relic made me curious to listen to it on-line, and only when I came across the limited addition CD on Now-Again Records in my local record store did I decide to actually purchase this little oddity.

I have to admit that my initial response to this album after listening to it was, "what's all the fuss about?" It is an interesting concoction of psychedelia, Gothic rock, and proto-prog, but nothing mind-blowing as some seem to suggest. It's often categorized as Krautrock, as it is here on PA, but I would say that is a stretch. The vocals are "unique" and do require getting used to and the lyrics are rather silly sometimes, mediocre at best at other times. The recording is a bit low-fi, but that actually adds to its charm. The songs have some twists and turns here and there, but the pace is fairly consistent from song-to-song.

While this album has grown on me a bit after multiple listens, it still does not live up to the hype that has surrounded it all these years, at least for me. I don't regret purchasing this one, but that's mainly because I'm a bit of a collector of obscure music that is "off the beaten path," so to speak. It's worth picking up if you're into obscure and unique psychedelic proto-prog from the 70's, but if you're looking for a lost Krautrock classic as some have claimed that this is, I would give caution. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1680160)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2017 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars While the German progressive scene was quite prolific especially during the Krautrock boom that lasted roughly from 1970-75, neighboring German speaking Austria on the contrary produced very few additions to the prog universe. While a few names like Hermann Szobel, Eela Craig, Zakarrias, Vytas Brenner, Isaiah, Klockwerk Orange, Gipsy Love and Orange Power might be recognizable to erudite proggers who have scoured the vaults, most of these remained fairly obscure and wouldn't be known even by may prog lovers of the 21st century. One other short-lived act that emerged in the early 70s was the Vienna based PATERNOSTER which released only one self-titled album in 1972 and then quickly disappeared into obscurity, but what a unique album it was! The original pressings have long been sought after collector's items that have fetched hefty price tags exceeding 10,000USD.

While lumped into the Krautrock camp for its inextricable psych leanings, the album tackles a lot of ground in its near miss of forty minute playing time. PATERNOSTER is a Latinate term used in the German language and is used in prayers and means 'Our Father.' The name of the band alone prognosticates the musical content. Lyrics are sung in English and this album has been deemed one of the saddest albums of all time with some calling it what goths would have listened to had they existed in 1972! And sad it is indeed with lyrics seemingly lamenting religion and how it has fallen from grace and become the antithesis of its original intent and therefore PATERNOSTER's sole release is somewhat of a musical eulogy to mourn the inversion of the Christian ethos and the stray lambs of God that have misled by the wolves in sheep's clothing.

The band was a quartet with Franz Wippel (organ and vocals), Gerhard Walter (guitar, vocals), Heimo Wisser (bass) and Gerhart Walenta (drums). Musically, the lugubrious nature of the album resonates big time with Floydian psychedelic guitar freakouts in mostly mid-tempo Procol Harum styled sluggishness displaying the enervating effects of grief. The effect is exponentially compounded by the sad lyrics and verge-of-breaking-into-tears vocal style. The icing on the cake comes from the church organ parts that permeate the entire album like a funeral dirge with every emotional tugging note going for the lacrimation factory. While the Procol Harum compositional styles laced with Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd guitar riffs dominate, on tracks like 'Old Danube' there are some organ outburst that sound more like The Doors whereas the atmospheres can bring the trippiest aspects of Can or Amon Duul II to mind.

Overall PATERNOSTER produced a fairly unique amalgamation of sounds of the era that bring a bit of the 60s into the following decade but stands overall clearly in the more progressive pastures just outside the clutches of the neighboring German Krautrock world even emulating the softer aspects of Genesis. While obscure and virtually forgotten, PATERNOSTER captured the essence of super sad psych rock with freaked out fuzz-guitar and nice aggregations of pastoral folk, otherworldly psychedelia and more classic prog rock that takes Gothic tinged organ frenzies to unthinkable heights that create some of the most depressing atmospheric effects of the early 70s. One that has been celebrated in the underground for decades but much in need of rediscovery. It's amazing how four guys pulled off all the mind blowing atmospheric tricks as if they were heading towards a post-rock sort of paradigm. Perhaps the bizarre vocal style may scare some away but seem to fit the surreal musical portrait that this sonicscape constructs.

Report this review (#2010610)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars What the Deuce is this!?

Okay, again when you think you heard everything...well, you haven't. I bet my left buttcheek that Paternoster is the most obscure/ depressing/ call 911 album you ever heard. I frankly challenge the progosphere, this one's hard to top.

The guy who's singing is SO down the tubes, I have to chuckle. I mean the general mood is LOW. Nothing positive is coming out, but you have to take this second degree! No one in their right mind could write such darkness and be serious. The music is not complex but trippy, with funeral organ and a lack of diversity. Some songs feel like they have no real beginning or structure but they do have some snippets of melody.

Think a massively sleep deprieved Peter Gabriel who got dumped and lost his cat on the same afternoon, who sings about how the world's a gigantic pool of crap accompanied by a bluesy-King-Crimson soundtrack.

A curiosity you have to hear before you kick the bucket. Unpredictable, laughable and 100% fascinating.

Report this review (#2204294)
Posted Monday, May 20, 2019 | Review Permalink

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