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Popol Ace / Popol Vuh

Crossover Prog

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Popol Ace / Popol Vuh Popol Vuh album cover
3.74 | 46 ratings | 7 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hunchback (4:08)
2. Joy and Pleasure (3:32)
3. All We Have Is the Past (4:29)
4. Leavin' Chicago (3:53)
5. For Eternity (5:36)
6. Sucklin' Pig (4:22)
7. Medicine (8:02)

Total Time: 34:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Jahn Teigen / vocals
- Arne Schulze / guitar
- Pete Knutsen / guitar, Mellotron, Moog, e-piano
- Pjokken Eide / trombone, flute
- Terje Methi / bass
- Thor Andreassen / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Bjørn Morisse

LP Polydor - 2923 009 (1972, Norway)
LP Polydor ‎- 2923 009 (2013, Norway)

CD Polydor ‎- 843 175-2 (1990, Norway)
CD Expertise Records - EXCD-9929 FF (2004, Russia) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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POPOL ACE / POPOL VUH Popol Vuh ratings distribution

(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

POPOL ACE / POPOL VUH Popol Vuh reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars True gem from the 70s .

I always feel excited whenever I'm listening to music which was written in the 70s which practically most of them has some prog elements in it. At that time I did not know the term "progressive" yet and any rock music was just "rock" - no further categorization which one fall under which category. I just accepted whatever flew into my ears and try to digest it. As for the case with Popol Vuh, I was not aware about this album at that time. The first time I knew about the band was a compilation cassette produced by our local music magazine which was very famous, i.e Aktuil. The cassette was labeled "Rock Vibration 2" with the opening track "Music Box" by Popol Ace. Wow! This track had blown me away at first spin. I started to wonder who this band was and found practically nothing. Hello, it was 70s, my friends! There was no internet and information was not distributed in proper way. Only decades later - I think it was 2000 or 2001 I found this album. Oh, finally I found vintage band Popol Vuh / Ace!

As a classic album, my first impression about listening to this one was the quality of "sound" that really represents the true sound of the seventies: high mid range, truncated bass and treble sound. This kind of sound is of course sub-standard as compared to modern recording technology like Porcupine Tree's albums, for example. But this classic sound creates a unique touch of the past.

Classic Rock meets Symphonic Prog

"Hunchback" represents the band experimentation with combined styles of classic rock and symphonic prog. The opening part reminds me to the music of Khan "Space Shanty" backed with excellent vocal of Jahn Teigen which is similar to John Lawton (Lucifer's Friend, Uriah Heep). This also uses mellotron / long sustain keyboard as background. What surprises me is that this track has excellent flute work as excellent as Thijs Van Leer of Focus. The interesting part of this track is when there is a narration just before the song ends. The music of this album is very similar in nature from one track to another. "All We Have Is The Past", for example, is in similar style with others. Performed in relatively slow tempo, the interlude part reminds me to the structure of King Crimson's "I Talk To The Wind". I think the flutework that makes me think that way. The vocal style reminds me also to PFM especially in "Chocolate Kings" album.

This band also good in combining various instruments to build a compelling nuance of the music created. "For Eternity" may fall into this category. With nice introduction of acoustic guitar and keyboard, this track moves in crescendo from long acoustic guitar - keyboard duets. The opening part reminds me to the psychedelic adventures, supported with ambient and nice melody. It also gives symphonic nuance that brings beautifully into lyrical verses. The first singing part gives a nuance similar to seventies music like Trapeze (Glenn Hughes band prior to joining Deep Purple). I like the interlude part with two guitars play intertwiningly with the support of mellotron work. Oh yeah, you might sense an influence of King Crimson as well right here with this track.

Do you know Dutch blues band Livin' Blues who had its glory days in seventies? Or Climax Chicago Blues Band? If so, listen to track 4 "Leaving Chicago" and you would have a great joy of the seventies music. The combination of rock'n'roll singing style, southern rock guitar sound (which sometimes being played in sliding technique) and piano work gives a nice harmony in happy-go-lucky mood. It's a simple track with nearly no prog elements at all - but it's enjoyable.

If you really love vintage rock .

.this album is definitely yours. You would get everything you might expected: the sounds of the seventies that you might have been longing for; especially if you never heard this album before. You would be brought by the music into the seventies nuance and it might reminds tyou to bands like King Crimson, Livin' Blues, Climax Chicago Blues Band or even Trapeze (especially "Medusa" album). If you get used to modern prog music, you might still be able to enjoy this album. I leave it up to you to decide but I humbly say that this album is an excellent addition to any rock music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Rune2000
4 stars Unlike my previous nostalgic reviews, like those of City Boy or Chase, Popol Ace is actually a rather recent addition to my album collection. I was introduced to this wonderful treasure of early Norwegian Prog while traveling to the Oslo Prog two day festival, exactly a year ago. Still, it's really difficult for me to talk about this band's music without somehow feeling highly nostalgic about their sound. I guess that nostalgia can come in many different shapes and forms without necessarily being nostalgic to begin with! Sometimes all it takes are a few familiar notes, a certain melodic hook or just the use of a Mellotron!

This was the the band's debut release under the name Popol Vuh. Released by Polydor in 1972, the album became a minor hit in Norway but that was as far as the popularity of the band spread. Quite unfair considering the great album that it actually was! Yes, the music can sometimes get into a blues sounding jam and the huge versatility between the different compositions does make this release sound highly uneven as a whole. Still, there's really no denying that Popol Vuh were at the right time, but unfortunately not in the right place with their musical ambitions. Compositions like For Eternity and Medicine bear a clear resemblance to Foxtrot, which was released by Genesis during that same year. Unfortunately this was before the time of globalization and Internet was around, meaning that the word of mouth had to carry the band's music to different regions in order for it to be acknowledged by a wider audiences and that just never happened for Popol Ace.

Tracks like Joy And Pleasure and Sucklin' Pig rely on groovy instrumental arrangements which some people will consider to be the most progressive moments of this album. I, on the other hand, consider the two ballads All We Have Is The Past and For Eternity performed beautifully by Jahn Teigen, to carry the magnitude that is required to be called prog. It's a pity that his voice is not exhibitioned in all of its glory throughout the rest of the album, but this would change over time.

A great debut album by one of the forgotten heroes of Progressive Rock-era of the '70s that should not be missed out on!

***** star songs: All We Have Is The Past (4:29) For Eternity (5:36)

**** star songs: Hunchback (4:08) Joy And Pleasure (3:32) Sucklin' Pig (4:22) Medicine (8:02)

** star songs: Leavin' Chicago (3:53)

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This debut album from Norwegians POPOL VUH (later POPOL ACE) has been a tough one to track down. Originally released on vinyl by Polydor in 1972 it didn't have it's cd release until 2003. Those copies have been long gone so thankfully it was re-issued again last year. What made me so anxious to get it was the advertised abundance of mellotron and of course that early seventies progressive sound. Well I must admit i'm a little disappointed with it. Half of it is really well done while the other half I would describe as below average. All according to my tastes of course.

"Hunchback" has a fantastic intro with mellotron as the vocals come in. The flute rips it up after 2 minutes then the vocals return. Marching styled drums after 3 minutes as spoken words join in. Good song. "Joy And Pleasure" is almost funky with Wetton- like vocals. Flute too and vocal melodies come and go. Nice instrumental interlude with guitar. Two excellent tracks to start. "All We Have Is The Past" opens with reserved vocals and mellotron. It starts to build but then settles back again. Not a fan at all of this one. "Leavin' Chicago" is a fairly bluesy number. Not a fan.

"For Eternity" has picked guitar and flute early on. It picks up some. Guitar before 2 minutes and vocals follow as it settles. It continues to change. Not a fan. "Sucklin' Pig" is much better. I like the rhythm here with flute. Electric piano before 2 minutes. I'm digging this one. It's my favourite. "Medicine" is nice and heavy with flute over top as the vocals join in. Nice guitar before 1 1/2 minutes that goes on and on.Vocals are back after 3 minutes. A drum/flute melody follows then synths and mellotron. Guitar after 5 1/2 minutes then it settles down. Vocals follow.

3 stars for this one. Maybe they tried to mix things up too much. It certainly has it's moments though.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Good Norwegian group from Oslo, formed in early-70's out of the ashes of Arman Sumpe Dur Express with Pete Knutsen (keyboards, guitar), Arne Schultze (guitar), Terje Methi (bass) and Thor Andreassen (drums) continuing on Popol Vuh.They were joined in 1972 by singer Jahn Teigen and flutit/sax player Pjokken Eide.The self-titled debut of the band saw the light in 1972 on Polydor.

This was an album of mixed yet always progressive-influenced sounds with ''Hunchback'' being the absolute opener, fairly symphonic with great doses of Mellotron and a great nostalgic style reminiscent of early KING CRIMSON and ENGLAND.''Joy & Pleasure'' sounds quite funky, still has plenty of adventurous moments and is close to mid-70's PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI stylings with an enjoyable atmosphere.A CRESSIDA/FANTASY/GRACIOUS influence is present on ''All We Have Is the Past'', good combination of Mellotron, soft piano, acoustic textures and moog synths in a laid-back track with warm vocals.''Leavin' Chicago'' is very weak, a track seemingly written for promotional purposes, very funky with an evident American flavor, led by the piano of Pete Knutsen.

The British color of the band returns in the flipside with ''For Eternity'', soft Progressive Rock with a FRUUPP/CRESSIDA aura, nice psychedelic guitars, big Mellotron and flute sounds and a strong Classical influence throughout.''Sucklin' Pig'' sees the band turning into a more jazzy- oriented style, completely indtrumental with swirling synths and flute solos, very interesting stuff.The long ''Medicine'' is another fine composition.The heaviest track on the album proposes a good mix of guitar-based Heavy Rock with JETHRO TULL-like flute parts and GENESIS-like moog synth passages.

The album has been CD re-issued many years later again by Polydor and is sure to please all fans of Classic 70's Progressive Rock, despite lacking the killer track.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Truly a 70's gem. This is the debut album from Popol Ace(then called Popol Vuh) from 1972. The first time I heard it, it really did not appeal to me, but after bying it some years later, the album have really grown on me, and have become a personal Prog favorite of mine. For starters it's ... (read more)

Report this review (#458423) | Posted by Moonstone | Thursday, June 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4,6 Stars. Even though Norway has a great number of good progbands, they haven't been among the big "Prog Country", and there hasn't been a lot of prog-albums on the charts here. From what I know, this was the first Norwegian prog album to enter the charts, back in '73, and Popol Vuh is No ... (read more)

Report this review (#90002) | Posted by Syndromet | Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What can i say for this magical album? It's absolutely the best prog band from Norway. All tracks are amazing! Great sound quality!! That album %110 proggin' !! This album included heavy guitar riffs with symphonic beauties. It sounds like "Junipher Greene", "Host", "Camel". My last review for ... (read more)

Report this review (#78562) | Posted by | Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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