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Flaming Bess

Symphonic Prog

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Flaming Bess Tanz Der Götter album cover
3.30 | 51 ratings | 7 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bedrohung (9:43)
2. Kampf und Verteibung (8:22)
3. Oasis (5:27)
4. Arkana (4:56)
5. Tanz der Götter (10:10)

Total Time: 38:40

Bonus tracks on 2005 remaster:
6. Oasis (Leslie Mix) (3:13)
7. Start Und Vertreibung (Henry Ford Edit) (7:10)
8. Tanz Der Götter (Roh & Dreckig Mix) (8:09)

Line-up / Musicians

- Joachim Jansen / organ, electric violin, synthesizer, grand piano (2,5), clavinet (3,5)
- Hans Wende / bass, electric (3) & acoustic (1,2,4) guitars, clavinet & drums (5)
- Peter Wahle / drums, gong (1,5), bells (4), drum machine (5), guitar (3)

- Wolfgang Neumann / voice actor
- Bruno Blättler / lead (1-3,5), rhythmm (1) & acoustic (1) guitars
- Wolfgang Hoffmann / lead (4) & rhythm (1,5) guitars
- Barry Peeler / acoustic guitar (1,4)
- Frank Kirchner / saxophone (5)
- Bernd Renn / bass (1)
- Helmut Leinhos / timbales (3)

Releases information

LP self-released (1979, Germany)

CD Moonlight Company ‎- 1000004 (1990, Germany)
CDr arkana multimedia ‎- ARK 57965 (2005, Germany) Remastered with 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FLAMING BESS Tanz Der Götter ratings distribution

(51 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FLAMING BESS Tanz Der Götter reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars

The German symphonic rock formation Flaming Bess was founded in 1969. They hailed from the West-German city Düsseldorf and the first line-up featured Hans Wende on guitar, Horst Wagner on bass, Rolf Selbach on drums and Peter Figge on keyboards. The name is derived from a fantasy story in which Flaming Bess is the Goddess of Light. The band went through numerous changes in the 10 years before they released an album. Flaming Bess got their first break when featured on the music programme Rockstudio on WDR and the interest generated led to them recording and self-producing their debut LP Tanz der Götter in 1979. It is a fantasy concept album about Flaming Bess, the Goddess Of Light who reigns over a country that is threatened by demons, mean magicians and other unpleasant creatures. Reputedly it's an elaborate and sophisticated progressive like a early Camel. The music press hailed Flaming Bess and they even reached the #1 spot in the most popular German hitparade, within 6 months the album solds 40.000 copies, incredible for an unknown German symphonic rock band! If you are interested in the rest of the Flaming Bess history, please visit their website.

In general their debut LP Tanz Der Götter (1979) is considered as their best and most progressive effort. The album contains five tracks (between 2 and 9 minutes), each preceded by a short intro featuring spoken words (about the story of Flaming Bess and Arkana), acoustic guitars, sound of singing birds and a wide range of keyboards. The five compositions often deliver swinging rhythms with lush Hammond organ (like Peter Bardens) and moving guitar work, to me it sounds like early Camel, very warm and melodic. I am very pleased with the wonderful vintage keyboard sound, from the Solina string-ensemble, Hammond organ and Minimoog synthesizer to the distinctive Hohner D6 clavinet. Although the Camel hints are obvious, Flaming Bess does their best to present own ideas like the swinging break with funky rhythm guitar and bass in Bedrohung Part II, a long and fiery guitar solo in Kampf Und Vertreibung Part II, flowing jazzy guitarwork in Oasis Part II and a catchy clavinet with delicate solos on piano and saxophone in the titletrack. This remastered DeLuxe Edition 2005 contains 3 bonustracks (18 minutes): Oasis Leslie Mix (a beautiful, extended version of Oasis Part I with moving guitarplay), Start Und Vertreibung Henri Ford Edit (German humour with a starting car mixed in the music) and finally Tanz De Götter Roh & Dreckig Mix, this is an instrumental version of the titletrack with an omnipresent clavinet sound and wonderful other vintage keyboards like the Solina string- ensemble.

If you like melodic Seventies symphonic rock with a lush vintage keyboard sound, this album is yours, especially the early Camel fans will be pleased! My rating 3,5 stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars My good PA friend and researcher Erik neuteboom told me abou this obscure german band. I was curious enough to get their first CD. It is totally instrumental (except for some spoken words in german telling the story of the main character, Flaming Bess) and the music is very interesting and melodic. A very unusual album for that year (1979). Small wonder so few people heard it outside german prog circle (although it was quite a big success in their homecountry).

Production is ok and I wish I had found the new remastered version, but I was lucky even to get this original track only CD. Even then, the sound is clear and the songs are really fine, with great enphasis on guitar and keyboards. Nothing really spectacular, but very well done and tasteful. As a fan of Camel I was delighted to hear some obvious influences of their sound here, plus some jazz, Santana and even 60´s TV themes music (but they do have their own personality). All tunes are good, but the title track is the most interesting in my opinion.

If you like symphonic prog instrumental music you should check this out. Very good.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars If you can stand some German "partnership" in the vocal department and at the same time share some very good instrumental music à la "Camel", this band might well pleased your ears. To mine hence, the band can only really raise average interest.

Pleasant, guitar-oriented and melodic: there is no doubt about their music. All these features are present, but I can't be blown overall though.

The usual structure of the songs is a short intro followed by a major theme. Almost all instrumental (if you would accept some easily avoidable spoken parts), this album shows some good stuff: mainly great guitar work and crafted rhythmic parts ("Kampf und Vertreibung Part 2").

The band is highly skilled, but the compositions are just average. Well performed though. Anyway, albums as this one were plenty in the glory decade of prog (the seventies, I mean? just in case?).

Symphonic jazz ("Oasis", "Arkana") remind me more and more of "Camel" which is the model by default for sure ("Santana" is not alien to the latter either). Not bad at all actually, but nothing extraordinary either. The closing track has a deep Floyd feel (but again the spoken words are in excess).

The closing number is really good and should please any freak of the great old "Santana": a mix of balanced soft jazz-rock with inspired guitar break (and some added sax in this case).

Three stars: a good symphonic album with definite jazz tints.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars When I saw the FLAMING BESS debut album cover with a beautiful Baroque style painting and a pompous name as "Tanz der Götter" (The Dance of the Gods), I imagined a pompous and Classical oriented album, so bought it immediately. Even when I was wrong, the music is extremely peasant and well elaborate, even though it's obvious that the German band wrote and composed a transitional album between flamboyant Symphonic Prog and a more commercial form of Neo Prog, something that could be expected in 1979.

"Tanz der Götter" is opened by "Bedrohung" (Threat) a track that starts with a spoken intro describing the story of FLAMING BESS, until this point I was expecting something pompous, maybe in the style of RICK WAKEMAN, but the music turned into a keyboard oriented song supported by an excellent guitar and drums, that flows gently (but not boring) from start to end. Some people say this song sounds like CAMEL, but I don't agree, because this music doesn't make me want to sleep (Sorry to CAMEL fans, but that's my opinion.

Around the middle and after an acoustic guitar solo (Well, semi-solo because you can hear the organ in the background), the keyboards lost the lead and allows an aggressive and SANTANA like guitar to take us to Rock territory, with excellent bass. Not the most complex music but extremely good.

"Kampf & Vertreibung" (Fight and Expulsion) also starts with a narration (My German is too rusty to understand it completely) with a nice and soft piano in the background, but after a short silence and a strong drum passage (sounds a bit like a drum machine, but pretty good), the track changes into a jazzy guitar and keyboard driven music, which despite being fast and vibrant, is also very fluid and coherent. Again at the end the distorted guitar takes the lead.

"Oasis" is much more jazzier than all the previous tracks, and even when it's too soft for my taste, I can't deny that the guitar work is amazing, sadly by this point the music begins to get extremely predictable, because the following track "Arkana" is more of the same, fluid composition but completely lack of surprises or radical changes.

The album is closed by "Tanz der Götter" a track that starts very experimental with a weird synth solo, but after a couple minutes, the formula they've been using from the first minute of the album is repeated, honestly by this point I lost all the interest.

Before I started to work in the review, I was ready to rate "Tanz der Götter" with three stars, but while writing, noticed that I had given that qualification to ELP's interesting debut which despite some minor flaws, reveals a band trying to be adventurous. On the other hand FLSAMING BESS takes a safe path, nice and catchy music but boring after the first 15 minutes when the listener discovers they have nothing new to offer and even worst, that they are not ready to take risks, so cant give more than two stars to this good album with absolutely predictable music.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars Released around the same time as ANYONE's DAUGHTER's "Adonis" album, this album falls into the same broad category of CAMEL-influenced accessible German symphonic prog, and confirms the German commitment to the style long after it had fallen from grace in the New World and the UK. It's all instrumental except for narrated introductions, and as such is highly suggestive of the ANYONE's DAUGHTER 1981 release "Piktors Verwandlungen", so much so that one can infer that AD listened to FLAMING BESS and even adopted some of their jazzy leanings. It's heartening to know that such high quality, if not top notch, material from the now distant past remains to be discovered along with newer gems.

While the spoken sections require an appreciation of German for best results, they have wisely been separated out as "intro" tracks on the remastered version, and between them all the material is at least good, some of it surprisingly funky, acoustic, spacey, or jammy, and in fact all of these on the masterful "Bedrohung". The album culminates in the title cut, which parlays the rhythm of middle section of CAMEL's "Lunar Sea" to new extremes of controlled improvisation. Even saxophones enhance the colorful interplay. In fact if you are a fan of the aforementioned "Moonmadness" sans the singing, this one is nearly a sure bet, even if FLAMING BESS cannot compare from a compositional perspective.

"Tanz Der Götter" merits 3.5 stars on its own, rounded up or down as fancy dictates, but I have to add a half for the bonus material, which is somewhat misleading in that it implies subtle remixing. In fact the "Oasis" remix is quite a new take on the original, infinitely spacey and one of the moments that recalls ELOY's symphonic/spacey period or the calmer sections of GROBSCHNITT's "Solar Music Live", and the remix of the title track is even more punchy than the original. "Start und" begins as an almost folky melody in the style of KEBNEKAISE or OUGENWEIDE before it returns to tried and true cosmic funk more like EELA CRAIG. Yes this is derivative but also sports a fresh face, even heard for the first time so long after its release. Hence 4 stars for the debut of an act that hasn't yet flamed out.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Thanks to a TV programm Flaming Bess enjoyed a long and decent career.Formed in 1969 in Duesseldorf they gained some local fame through small gigs with an original line-up of Hans Wende (guitar), Horst Wagner (bass), Rolf Selbach (drums) and Peter Figge (keyboards).They soon fell into hiatus and this would be possibly their entire story, remained propably in dust in a mystery rehearsal room, if some tapes weren't dicovered in 1977 by the Westdeutschen Rundfunk (West Germany's broadcasting) and being hosted by Wolfgang Neumann's ''Rockstudio'' series.Neumann was so impressed by the group that he decided to take part in their first album, recorded in Koln in 1979 and released privately the same year as ''Tanz der Götter''.By the time the crew of the group featured only Hans Wende from the original line-up next to keyboardist Joachim Jansen and multi-instrumentalist Peter Wahle, while several musicians appear as guest members with Neumann being responsible for the album's narration parts.

Each track features a short intro with Neumann's spoken words with piano, harsichord and acoustic guitars supporting, quite close to NEUSCHWANSTEIN's ''Alice im Wunderland''.From the opening 10-min. ''Bedrohung'' the CAMEL influence on the group is more than evident, combining the melodic textures with sensitive solos, but the organ work is rather too soft comparable to CAMEL's approach, instead you get the typical Teutonic-styled atmospheric synthesizers in full mode.The following ''Kampf Und Vertreibung'' is a mix of instrumental Deutschrock with light Symphonic Rock, containing a repetitive funky beat on guitars with background electric solos and symphonic synths, closing with a more pronounced guitar-oriented style.Good track, but a bit too long for its own good.''Oasis'' is much closer to Jazz Rock with a definite FOCUS touch in the guitars and CAMEL-esque organ supporting, though the middle section is again a nice synth-drenched moment of symphonic grandieur.''Arkana'' follows more or less the same path, there is even some Canterbury vibe in the guitar/organ interplays beyond the constant CAMEL flavor and the style remains a jazzy-inspired Progressive Rock with loose textures and solos.The longer and more interesting track comes at the end, the title cut with the great intro built on clavinet, synthesizers and bass, emerging into a light Symphonic/Fusion piece with the guitars now reminding of Japanese bands like BELLAPHON and AIN SOPH, surrounded by tremendous orchestral keyboards, a nice sax solo around the middle and deeper organ moves, always in a lovely melodic enviroment, strengthened even more by the mellow piano lines at the closing minutes.

Delicate, smooth and professional instrumental Progressive Rock by an overlooked German group, that had its hard years before reaching its potential.Maybe not too personal of an album, but certainly good enough to fully enjoy it.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

5 stars whoa!! What an album!!! "Tanz Der Götter" is the one of the most successful symphonic prog. album from Germany. Great sound quality and musicianship! It has a dark & dreamy sound like the other great german bands that Novalis and Minotaurus. And it has very complex tracks with wonderful concep ... (read more)

Report this review (#88434) | Posted by | Tuesday, August 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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