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Necronomicon - Tips Zum Selbstmord CD (album) cover

TIPS ZUM SELBSTMORD

Necronomicon

Krautrock


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Certif1ed
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5 stars It's always difficult reviewing Krautrock, simply because Krautrock, as a genre, tends not to patch directly into the generally accepted definition of Prog Rock - it's much closer to psychedelia. It also tends to be inconsistent - when it's good, it can be stunning, but when bad, falls into directionless, amateurish noodling that can be plain embarrassing.

When approaching this album, I had to rid myself of all the hype surrounding it - much of which, one might suspect, comes from people who own a copy and want to make a fortune selling it on, and take it for what it is.

What it is, is a concept album by a group of guys who had been together for little over a year, performed a few gigs and, thanks to the economic backing of a friend, managed to get into a small studio armed with basic recording equipment (a 2-track Reel-to-Reel) and release what would turn out to be one of the most expensive Prog Rock albums ever.

So it's with calm ears and a fresh pair of Sennheisers that I dive into this highly prized work which, for those who don't like long reviews, really is very, very good indeed - but probably not worth the Ģ1,000+ price tag of an original. It's definitely worth the Ģ15 or so of a repress or CD if (and it's a big IF) you are already a fan of Krautrock.

In summary, so you can skip the tech stuff, it's a Masterpiece for what it is. I hardly ever make this distinction, as I prefer to guage against the "Classic" Prog bands - the justification is in the review below, and no apologies for the length ;0). Note that it's only just made the grade, but it doesn't deserve lower than a 4.8, IMO.

A highly reverbed and slightly manic voice improvises as if testing the microphone, then vocalises the first riff in "Prolog", which is picked up with a bang by the band, and, surprisingly, dropped in a heartbeat, the guitarist appearing to start it, but then tailing off, as if in shame - or possibly disgust. It could be either, given the subject matter of the lyrics. A deeply reverbed and wah-drenched, partially Hendrix-inspired solo follows, angular and jerky, pained and edgy.

A hard series of chords punches through, and a new, tight, heavy riff follows - great headbanging stuff, but you do have to be able to cope with the rough production and knowledge that the band played this entirely live in the studio.

A keyboard joins in, and we get flavours of Iron Butterfly before the vocals come in - and these are of a great quality, with good tones on the high notes and reasonable harmony. There's nothing new or particularly interesting about the ensuing guitar solo - what is of more interest are the unfolding and very powerful riffs - there's a whole wonderland of stealable material in here for bands running out of ideas and needing a little-known source...

The dark tension and clear layers make for a very emotionally draining landscape, and the sudden ending makes you feel like you've fallen off a cliff.

"Requiem Der Natur" begins with huge, hollow and sinister keyboards, coloured with sparkly sounds, before a mellow acoustic guitar brings us to an earthy and folky flavoured section of beautiful drifting sound with flavours of Pink Floyd circa 1968- 1970, but also Necronomicon's very own, very dark style.

Around 3:30, there is some deep, chanting vocal "Ahhs", joined by mid and top- range voices in a quasi "Monks meet operatics" kind of style, building and building until the recording equipment can't cope. Just as you think the equipment will expire, around 4:45, the music drops into a sort of jazz-fusion style, with the band right at the edges of their abilities, but pushing very hard in order to express the music - you'd hardly believe the band had only been together for a year, as it operates as a very cohesive unit, each member giving each other the necessary space to grow and improvise - successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully - but that's always the case with live improv.

A "Big Bottom" style bass solo follows - although, to be fair, the bassist tries really hard to make the improv interesting and exciting - and succeeds to a fair degree, especially when he gives the cue for the keyboard and guitar re-entry - it really isn't apparent, and you have to listen hard several times to get it, it feels so natural.

The Choir section returns - and it feels perfectly natural that it should do so - framing the jazz section very nicely - giving a masterclass in how form can be made to feel spontaneous.

The title track begins with one of the most original intros I've ever heard - incredibly simple (but the best ideas often are), then kicking into an uptempo rocker with falsetto from hell that makes Matt Bellamy sound like a Contra bass... There are lots of goodies in here, including tempo changes, guitar solos, enthusiastic guitar panning, and a dark groove that would provoke many nuns into dancing around mooonlit fires sans habits... in my twisted imagination, at least. There are one or two "baddies" in here too - but easily overlooked.

"Die Stadt", apart from having tuning issues in the acoustic guitar, smacks a little of early Kraftwerk, but darker, naturally, and the intro appears to be a proclamation - Hawkwind style. When the big riff kicks in, it reminds me very much of Mountain in texture, but, true to form, Necronomicon break it all down, with a "cat on a hot tin roof" approach that demonstrates exactly how to go off at tangents and really mean it. One or two timing issues (!) do not spoil the infectious grooves that they settle into, with the now familiar dark keyboard washes and walking bass lines - I get a flavour of Hawkwind's "Master of the Universe" in places. I'm assuming that the spare acoustic was used for the outro ;0)

"In Memoriam" is so dischordant, it too appears to have tuning issues, but these are soon resolved, and it's apparent that the heavy dischords are totally intentional. Very rough at the edges to start with, this piece dives around, and a mixed bag of good and truly superb ideas are thrown out, with decorative fill/synchronised runs that pre-empt Prog metal. Once the band have got into their groove, this really is a piece that every fan of Krautrock should hear - deeply and highly emotional, yet carefully worked out, with plenty of space for improv. Almost perfect, despite occasional timing issues. The ending is particularly notable, although I have to admit the falsetto annoys me too.

Requiem Vom Ende rounds things off consistenly nicely, despite more tuning issues, which we just have to swallow and live with - after all, it's the music that's important. And what we get from the music is more cavernous sounds, thoughtfully meandering bass, then big, crashing chords of chaos, and over-reverbed voices clearly proclaiming rather than singing, carrying an authoritative tone, but dropping back to a wistful, almost mournful air, carrying a strong flavour of Floyd.

Now, around 3:00, is the most powerful moment on the album, a throbbing, pulsating orb of music that grows (and might arguably have benefitted from losing the falsetto voice), grows, drops, and recapitulates. It's at this late point in the song I realise that the main riff is a combination of "Pictures of Matchstick Men" and "Hey Joe". An inspired welding together, that results in a spacious riff with a familiar feeling groove.

I won't cover the very end - I'll leave that entirely for your discovery ;o)

Here's a clue - it's not at all disappointing!

All in all, a most excellent addition to any Prog Rock collection - which doesn't mean you're going to like it. My advice is to get familiar with Krautrock before approaching this album, as those unfamiliar with the genre are likely to be highly disturbed by it.

It just scrapes into the Masterpiece category, because I'm concentrating on the music alone, and ignoring technical and execution issues simply because of the low budget live recording.

A real mind-blower - but be careful, as in the wrong hands it could be mistaken as simply a blower...

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#58876)
Posted Friday, December 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now this is Krautrock! I'm a big fan of Grobschnitt, so Necronomicon fits me well. The only bad thing about this album - it's all in german language. But, apart from that, it's a great album. Lot's of musical styles, some heavy guitar playing and political lyrics. What can I say more about it, without rewieving it track by track? It has a great psychedelic atmosphere, it has a heavy rock felling, and it's krautrock. Combine some style of Grobschnitt, Uriah Heep and a dozen of varius krautrock bands. And there you have - Necronomicon. There are some cd release of this lp, so there's a chance you will get your own copy.

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Send comments to Deepslumber (BETA) | Report this review (#112515)
Posted Saturday, February 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
greenback
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3 stars The krautrock style is not complete without this record! Indeed, Necronomicon shows here in what consists a mix of visceral jam hard rock and krautrock, something I have rarely seen so far. Maybe the fictitious term "krhaurdrock" is appropriate to classify this record. The lyrics are sung in German. The ultra omnipresent electric guitar has a very pinched sound that remains absolutely not sissy: the guitar sound is quite gross, especially the solos, but it is loudly played very much in the foreground; there are some impressive riff sounds. Some psychedelic parts occur, and it is confirmed by the presence of a good typical electric organ. This record is good but the visceral guitars often lack structure and sound quality: the other instruments, especially the bass and drums, are interesting but the guitars should have been put more in the background. The Hendrixian "In Memoriam" contains the best riffs, reminding the "Freedom" song. As a comparison, right after the listen, I played Hendrix's Cry of love album, and his guitar solos sound just brought sunlight at the end of afternoon, after a rather dark day.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#123480)
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
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4 stars This album offers some excellent moody and manic psychedelic heavy rock for a listener, who is not driven away by the challenging start of the record. The sound texture of this music reminds slightly the tones of very first Uriah Heep albums, having a lesser keyboard presence and more stinging acid rock guitar in style of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Also the end result is not as accessible as the songs from the referred bands. Compositions are built from strong riffs and the improvisations are done within these frames, so there's no full free jamming found from the album. The melodic themes are also often ran through with a very neurotic piety, boosting the lunatic overall feeling of the album, focusing on aggressive, dark, fuzzed out and moody areas of mind. There are some more quiet acoustic movements also included, but mostly the music runs with a menacing rock drive. I don't understand the lyrics very well as they are sung in German, but they are quite political, and I later learned they are about the nuclear arms race. The singing is not maybe the strongest link in this music, but it has a quite broad scale, as there are some very low vocals, some from standard pitch, some are spoken, some high pitched "fjord vocals" like Heep's vocals were described by some witty critic, and sometimes these join together to build large voice harmonies. If you like to hear hippies to "kill a guitar" in a good style, you are into darker music like Black Widow, and are also fond of continental European 1960's/1970's psychedelic rock style, this classic record might please you certainly. There's lot of enthusiasm in the music, but also some funny moments where the intended rhythms are nearly reached, but not totally, so an ability to overlook some technical mistakes is needed also to appreciate this music. For the vinyl fans there's a LP reissue by Little Wing label released in 1990's in the markets, as the original's price might make you need some "Tips Zum Selbstmord" after the purchase.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#129277)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars NECRONOMICON named themselves after a H.P.Lovecraft book mainly because the themes they were touching upon lyrically were much the same as those in that book. The title of this album according to the liner notes means "Some practical ways on how to commit suicide" and refers to what mankind is doing to the planet by exploiting and destroying it. The vocals are sung in German, and like the music they are not pleasant. The music does have that heavy garage rock sound, very raw with those violent guitar leads.

"Prolog" opens with someone humming and laughing and carrying on. Suddenly the raw guitar comes in mimicking a line he just sang. Nice. Dirty, grungy guitar melodies follow. I'm thinking Iommi 2 1/2 minutes in as he lays down some heavy licks. At one point i'm saying to myself "So that's where Eddie(VanHalen) got that lick from". Organ joins the fray 3 1/2 minutes in. Vocals come in as the drums crash and the guitar cranks out the blistering leads. I'm in heaven man. Check out the bass 6 1/2 minutes in as organ rips it up and the guitar is on fire. "Requiem Der Natur" has a spacey, haunting intro. Gentle guitar replaces it after a minute. Reserved vocals,bass and organ join in this pastoral soundscape. Drums and electric guitar after 3 minutes start to build powerfully. Vocal melodies join in. Nice. A change before 5 minutes as bass, drums and raw guitar takes over. Organ a minute later. They seem to be just jamming here. Check out the bass as drums pound after 7 minutes. Guitar is back 8 1/2 minutes in, but it's the vocal melodies that follow that really dominate. Very cool sounding as drums and guitar fight to be heard. Guitar is ripping it up ! What an ending !

"Tips Zum Selbstmord" opens with powerful guitar leads as the drums come in. What a fantastic melody as vocals come in almost screaming. He's singing now but it's brief. Then the drums pound as the guitar tears it up. A change in tempo 3 1/2 minutes in, then it really picks up speed 4 minutes in with vocal melodies then vocals. Organ joins in. "Die Stadt" opens gently with fragile vocals and quiet guitar. Spoken words as well. The song kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes as he spits out the lyrics and SABBATH-like heaviness comes in. Great guitar 2 1/2 minutes in as bass throbs. Heavy guitar 3 minutes in changes as the tempo picks up as the guitarist then lights it up. Excellent bass. It ends as it began. "In Memoriam" opens with more in your face guitar before it becomes mellow with reserved vocals. Nice contrasts throughout. Love the organ after a minute and later, even if it's down in the mix. He screams out after 5 minutes. "Requiem Vom Ende" opens with some great sounding guitar that is replaced by vocal melodies quickly and organ. Back to the guitar as drums pound. Vocals trade off with some wicked guitar over and over. A calm 2 1/2 minutes in with vocals. This is sinister sounding as it builds in intensity. Cool vocal melodies join in. Back to those incredible heavy guitar leads that trade off with vocals over and over again. Some fat bass lines before 6 minutes. Themes are repeated until we get a few good screams after 7 minutes as song comes to a close.

This is a monster if there ever was one. Dark, heavy and aggressive.These guys take no prisoners.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#171304)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars More of a novelty item than anything else this one off from German cult band NECRONOMICON which in it`s original form features a cover that folds out into a crucifix, commands ludicrous sums of money in collector`s circles who go absolutely Ga Ga over it, even in it`s many boot-legged editions. The intricate freaked out cover artwork by the band`s drummer is even worthy of it`s own separate review! In English the title translates roughly to, how to commit suicide, although this is meant in a figurative way, dealing with the dark topic of how man has managed to screw up just about everything on the planet from the environment to stockpiling nuclear weaponry. This Black Sabbath meets Floh de Cologne rave up is something even the hippies will run away from and can even make some present day death metal bands look like a bunch of pansies with it`s straightforward black & white apocalyptic musings.

On first listen, especially for non-German speaking listeners, Tips Zum Selbsmord may come off as an acid trip gone horribly bad right from the hum drum vocals which explode into a non-stop unmitigated conflagaration. Sung entirely in the German language with interludes of occultish polyphonic monk-like incantations accompanied by scathing Tony Iommi-like guitar licks interfaced by portentous gothic church-like organ chording along with some folk elements if they can be detected amidst this sonic inferno, the likes of which hadn`t been heard since the 1945 bombing of Dresden, the album certainly hits the mark. Taking their name from a ficticious horror story which was featured in a number of H.P. Lovecraft`s novels in the 1920`s the band started out in 1970 playing Pink Floyd, Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath covers and felt that lyrics in the German language for their original compositions would better reflect their cynical messages of death, destruction and ultimate doom.

Unlike other bands who`s music announces the impending apocalypse at the hand of mankind there`s a certain atmosphere of sadness, meloncholy and despair here rather than outrage ( there`s even an acoustic interlude ) which sort of wins the listener over to their cause who dares to give it a second spin. However, for those who speak or understand the German language their plight of the world themes tend to get overblown, dated and wear thin by the time one arrives at the grand finale Requiem vom Ende. Lyrically they can be distantly compared to Slovenian avant garde industrial band Laibach as well as some material on the first Grobshnitt album.

Financed by a friend and recorded in a small studio using rudimentary recording techniques and featuring lots of effects a la Guru Guru UFO, the album holds up musically well against other kosmische bands such as early Amon Duul II, Xhol Caravan or Ash Ra Tempel. Obviously these guys didn`t care about musical virtuosity but more about using heavy music as a vehicle of their vigilance and awareness toward a world in decay. If Black Sabbath`s messages were about the coming of armaggedon then as far as these guys were concerned here all is lost and the work comes off as a soliloqy mourning the end of the world before it has even happened.

Although the original independent vinyl release of which only 500 copies were pressed, it is scarce and rarely offered for sale although it has been periodically released in various forms including a faithfully reproduced 2005 vinyl reissue, again limited to 500 units, but these even sold out like hotcakes. The Garden Of Delights CD release is the most readily available which comes with a booklet and reproductions of the psyched out artwork ( for some reason the technology no longer exists to reproduce the fold out crucifix ) and four bonus tracks.

Although definitely not agreable to everyone`s musical palette, anyone with even a passing interest in Krautrock will not want to pass over this rock liturgy which without a doubt has special status in the annals of the Krautrock movement of the early seventies.

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Send comments to Vibrationbaby (BETA) | Report this review (#188697)
Posted Monday, November 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
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2 stars Tips Zum Selbstmord is the debut and sole album from german act Necronomicon. I was drawn to this album by the the occult nature of the band name and of course the sombre title. I must say that Iīm a bit let down though as the music on this album is not very dark in nature and the german title with translates into something like Ways to Kill yourself or tips to commit suicide refers to lyrics about people destroying the planet through pollution and greed and not personal tragedy which was what I thought it would be about. On top of that the lyrics are really banale and downright embarresing at times. They are by the way sung in german which will probably push a lot of people away. Personally I donīt think it sounds very good on this album either.

Necronomicon is placed in the Krautrock catagory here on PA and they do have a few Krautrock elements in their sound but IMO their music lies somewhere between psychadelic rock and heavy prog. The music is pretty organ heavy courtesy of the brilliantly named Fistus Dickmann. There are also lots of distorted blues influenced guitar soloes and jamming parts. The vocals are really weak and out of tune ( there are some choir like vocals which are pretty good though). Nothing to get excited about IMO. I was actually having a lot of fun during In Memoriam. First of all because of the many statistic facts the band have put into their lyrics. Statements like 16 % of the worldīs population owns 80 % of the worlds recources sung in a gloomy way just cracks me up every time. And when the lyrics are delievered in such a weak and out of tune way Iīm priceless to laughing cramps. Itīs not that I donīt like socially aware lyrics but these are just too banale for me to enjoy.

The musicianship isnīt the strongest Iīve heard and besides the weak vocals the band donīt seem very tight either.

The production is below standard. Pretty amateurish. It sounds like itīs recorded in someoneīs garage.

After listening to Tips Zum Selbstmord itīs not hard to imagine why Necronimicon only released one album. This music is simply below standard. Iīm sure fans of the german heavy prog/ psychadelic scene can find something pleasurable in this album but for me it doesnīt hold much interest. Itīs not all bad though and a 2 star rating is deserved. There are even 3 star moments here and there on the album but overall itīs a 2 star rating from me.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#190615)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars In general I'm attracted by any reference to H.P. Lovecraft who is one of my favorite writers. Unfortunately I still have to find a band able to reproduce the dark evilish mood of his novel, with the exception of the Arzachel's Azatoth.

So forget HPL, I think the lyrics are about his horrors and nightmares, but the music is "just" heavy psychedelic.

So, ignoring "the book of the names of the deads" and the fool Alhazred what remains is excellent psychedelia with more than a hint of hard rock, closer to Uriah Heep or Deep Purple than to Pink Floyd.

"Prologue" starts with the singer making what seems to be a parody of "Hocus Pocus" then it's quickly transformed into a very acid jam full of guitars and organ. The sudden end is an unusual way to close a track of this kind.

"Requiem Den Natur" is opened by a dark psychedelic noise, like Tangerine Dreasm of the Pink Period, but unexpectedly when the noise stops we have a quiet acoustic guitar harping and very sweet and melodic singing, even if still very psychedelic. We are in 1972, but this song seems to come from 4 or 5 years before. The low-pitched choir in the middle should sound weird, but fails in being horrorific. Lovecraft wouldn't have been sad for the death of Mother Nature. A great track, Nobody pretends that the music fits with the band's name. The second half of the song is heavy blues with the guitar solo a bit too "jammed". Not all he notes are at the right place.

"Tips Zum Selbstmord" is even more acid. It's like the Doors have taken Amphetamines instead of the usual stuff. A heavy blues with acid guitar and percussive bass played very fast. It sounds more American than German. Then when the rhythm calms down we are back in a world made of hard rock. The only very Kraut thing is the vocalist. Another sudden stop.

The acoustic intro of "Die Stadt" with the guitar a little untuned is the most Krautrock moment. It reminds to Amon Duul II before turning into hard rock but with a strong krautrok flavor thank to the lead vocalist while the "aaahhh" accents seem typical Uriah Heep stuff. Good hard rock with the bass leading while guitar and keyboards jam. The final return to the initial theme closes the jam in a regular way.

"In Memoriam" Is bluesy. A mixture of Cream and Can. Again it's more psychedelic than horrorific. What is remarkable on this track is the keyboard's background. In the more relaxed moments is quite similar to the mentioned Arzachel's Azatoth. I'm nit German speaking but I have the impression from few words catched that the lyrics are a sort of elegy for H.P. Lovecraft (or maybe for the whole world?). Please somebody correct me from wrong (also because I don't know what the percentages mean in the spoken part).

The final "Requiem fur ende" starts with a Uriah Heep like choir but is more acid oriented. Fans of Hendirx or in general of the acid rock of the late 60s will surely enjoy it, including when they calm down and become very dark and floydian. For a while I've thought to Electric Prunes' Kyrie Eleison. It's a psychedelic crescendo that leads to the third section of the song that's again rminding of Amon Duul II. Here there's a good bass solo. If I'm not wrong there's a bit of chorus and distorsion together on the bass. When the keyboard join the bass over obsessive percussions we have finally a bit of Lovecraft's mood, then a rock final closes the track and the album.

It's good. It's krautrock and it's the only album released by this band, so 4 stars.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#521799)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2011 | Review Permalink

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