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Birth Control

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Birth Control Backdoor Possibilities album cover
3.58 | 118 ratings | 14 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. One first of April: (7:41) :
- i) Prologue 2:32
- ii) Physical and mental short circuit 3:58
- iii) Subterranean escape 1:11
2. Beedeepees: (8:34) :
- i) Film of life 5:37
- ii) Childhood flash-back 0:52
- iii) Legal labyrinth 2:05
3. Futile prayer (5:55)
4. La Cigüena de Zaragoza: (8:17) :
- i) The farrockaway ropedancer 4:28
- ii) Le moineau de Paris 2:24
- iii) Cha cha d'amour 1:25
5. Behind grey walls (6:53)
6. No time to die (6:10)

Total Time: 43:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruno Frenzel / electric & acoustic guitars, vocals
- Zeus B. Held / Hammond & Yamaha organs, Fender & Hohner electric pianos, Moog & Arp synths, grand piano, alto sax, tubular bells, vocals
- Peter Föller / bass, vocals
- Bernd Noske / drums, percussion, lead vocals

- Michael / percussion (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Albin Meskes with Zeus B. Held

LP Brain ‎- 60.019 (1976, Germany)

CD Green Tree Records ‎- GTR-041 (1996, Germany) Remastered by Jürgen Crasser

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy BIRTH CONTROL Backdoor Possibilities Music

BIRTH CONTROL Backdoor Possibilities ratings distribution

(118 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BIRTH CONTROL Backdoor Possibilities reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars This one is their apex in their prog period and should be discovered first by progheads, as the first period , which I prefer , is more of a hard rock. Don't get me wrong, you will not find a gem here, but a honest album.
Review by loserboy
4 stars "Backdoor Possibilities" was BIRTH CONTROL's 6th album and followed the masterpiece "Plastic People" which has been oft overlooked. "Backdoor Possibilities" is an excellent concept based on a story about a corporate businessman who is trapped by his own success and who ultimately reflects on his life before meeting death in a subway. Overall, the music manages to maintain BIRTH CONTROL's typical hard rock sound, but is augmented with jazz and classical elements. The album is divided into three suites, 'One First Of April', 'Beedeepees', and 'La Ciguena De Zaragoza' with the latter being the strongest and closest to "Plastic People". Musically this album does it all with creative song writing, superb arrangements and some excellent playing. Line up was pretty much the same with Bernd Noske re-joining on lead vocals again. As you would expect the albums strength lies with in this inherent complexity and instrumental prowess. This album was very well recorded and sounds very warm with the Richenbacher bass runs and Farfisa and Arp Synths. The Remastered version offers a pretty solid re-interpretation of this album and contains 2 bonus 1976 era BIRTH CONTROL recordings which are very good. Album was produced by 2 noted 70's prog producers - Conny Planck and David Hitchcock. This is a great album to get lost in...
Review by Progbear
4 stars The band had pretty much eschewed hard rock entirely by this point. Frenzel's guitar was still very up-front, but now it shared the spotlight with Held's many layers of synthesizers and other keys and Noske's ever-growing battery of tuned/orchestral percussion. The Gentle Giant-ish touches are still present, along with an ever-growing jazzy bent.

Ostensibly a conceptual album, but it rather unravels after Side Two. That's not terribly important, as this is some of their most intricate and trailblazing music ever. Noske sings lead throughout, and is in perhaps his finest voice. Held adds saxophones to the album's jazziest number, the instrumental "La Cigüeña de Zaragoza".

So, not a whole lot to offer fans of their earlier more hard-rocking style, but an excellent album of highly creative progressive rock.

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Birth Control at the summit of their art rock career. The heavy rock tendencies of their three first are clearly neglect in favour of dynamic, jazzy progressive rock compositions. The Uriah Heep influences have a minor place here. This album is said to be conceptual as suggest the cover and the lyrics. The typical humorous tone of the band is always present. The instrumental breaks and interludes often combine well found guitar / synth dialogues for fast, technical, optimistic, melodic atmospheres. The complexity of the instrumentals, the energy and the alchemy between the musicians are the positive points of this album, however the global sound is terribly old dated, sometimes laughable. Moreover none tune really distinguish itself from the rest of the album. A recommended purchase for Birth Control fans, maybe their most original too.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is quite different from their earlier signature hard rock. Gone is Hammond organ sound followed by a stomping heavy rhythms. This is practically a typical symphonic prog style with heavy use of synths, piano and clavinet, guitar solos and bass are more jazzy. The album was made as a concept in the form of multi-part suite. Sounds like a real treat for sympho fans, but... This is already 1976 and the golden age of this style was already passed. Not much originallity is present here, so traces of ELP and GENESIS are found here and there. Musicianship is fairly decent but I cannot find this album nearly as interesting as their previous "heavy" work. Give it a listen if you like this music style, but you won't miss anything should you fail to do so. 2,5 stars.
Review by hdfisch
4 stars Though being usually overlooked and considered inferior to the previous one "Plastic People" (which couldn't fascinate me a lot I've to say) "Backdoor possibilities" had been BC's best and most versatile work and their only one in fact being relevant in terms of Prog (at least for me). Their first couple of albums had been more in an organ-driven hard rock vein with progressive tendencies being quite good and nice to listen but anything really exciting nor original. Then they changed their style significantly on "Plastic People" towards a sound based more on classical Prog mostly denying their hard rock roots. That one was certainly more appealing to most Prog fans than the previous albums, at least to those preferring a more mellow and gentle sound. Though musicianship and the line-up had been admittedly impressive there that one could never fully convince me. But what a big surprise, here with this album here in review things are completely different. Unlike the previous one this one manages to keep my attention starting from the very first sound effect of "One First of April" until the final note on "No Time To Die". This concept album offers really interesting tracks, more complex and fragile they've ever done covering most divers influences by jazz and classical music. There are plenty of tempo shifts on here and rocking electric guitars are alternating with Spanish acoustic ones, slightly Canterburian or Zappa-esque jazz sections with groovy synthesizer ones. Of course what BC presented here can't be called other than derivative and it wasn't anything unique or original but still this album stands for me as their best work and in fact the only one by them worth giving 4 stars though I doubt it could be considered really an essential addition.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This is a rather different album than previous ones from this German band.

This one has little to do with "Heavy Prog" IMO. When you listen to "Physical And Mental Short Circuit" it is very close to "10CC". Not in the vocal harmonies ("10CC" are unbeatable on those ones), but the song construction had this complexity & extravaganza which was so typical.

And almost all of this concept album is of the same vein. But the funky side of "Film Of Life" is not my cup of tea (but you know that, I guess). Still, this song is almost a mini-opera on its own. This was also a characteristic of the four CC's. Constant theme changing, from prog to jazz to funk. What a programme!

Do you want more jazzy stuff? Here is "Legal Labyrinth". It sounds pretty much as a "Santana" tune ("Welcome" period). Great guitar & percussion. Like the master.But at this point, this album is too versatile to my taste. Church organ and bombastic (pompous?) approach; this is the receipt for "Futile Prayer" (indeed.).

This album is really going into lots of different moods. Let's go to the Oriental side with "The Farrockaway Ropedancer". Just add some jazz touches to get the whole picture. Good organ (pretty discreet so far) and strong bass playing are the most appealing.

My favourite song on this album is the short but beautiful "Le Moineau De Paris". A fantastic instrumental number fully guitar oriented and which displays a lot of emotion. The guitar work is absolutely grandiose. Extremely good song, should I say.

On the contrary "Cha Cha D'Amour" is the worse you can get here (no wonder with such a title). And the more elaborate "Behind Grey Walls" is a pleasant combination of different styles again. The least we can say about this album, is that it doesn't lack in mood diversity. A bit too much, I'm afraid. Still, I prefer a band that shines through their creativity than other s ones who are playing the same sort of music throughout one (or more) album.

Be eclectic while listening to "Backdoor". You will need some open mindness to fully appreciate it ("No Time to Die" is another of these complex song with loaaaaads of theme changes). Very original and totally unexpected from "Birth Control".

Three stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars There are those (hdfisch, Greg Walker) who feel this is not only BIRTH CONTROL's proggiest album but also their crowning achievment. Then there are those (loerboy) like myself who feel this is an excellent 4 star album but not as good as "Plastic People".This took a while to grow on me. It's certainly more Symphonic than anything they had done up to this point. I was reminded of GENESIS a couple of times and GENTLE GIANT several times. More prominant keyboards on display here than in their past as well.

"One First Of April" sounds kind of strange to open then it kicks in with drums pounding. Vocals follow. I'm reminded of GENESIS briefly 2 1/2 minutes in. The guitar and keyboards trade off 4 minutes in. It settles after 5 minutes. Vocals and drums are back 6 minutes in. Nice. Guitar follows as he proceeds to rip it up. Great opening track. "Beedeepees" I guess stands for the album's title. BDPS. Atmosphere to open then keys and reserved vocals take over. Bass and what sounds like mellotron before 2 minutes. Then it kicks in with the vocals, guitar and drums standing out.. Some Howe-like guitar 5 1/2 minutes in then it settles. Some cool GG-like vocal arrangements before 7 minutes. Kicks back in with a good percussion / guitar soundscape.

"Fugitive Prayer" is an interesting song that is as you might suspect rather melancholic. Intricate guitar and mellotron ? to open before reserved vocals arrive. The vocals become passionate after 2 minutes. The organ before 3 minutes has some attitiude. "La Ciguena De Zaragoza" is kind of jazzy to open. It's building and the drums sound amazing before a minute. Check out the guitar a minute later. It settles before 5 minutes to a spacey enviroment. Guitar then drums come in and build. Sax after 7 minutes. "Behind Grey Walls" opens with some nice piano melodies before vocals come in after a minute. It kicks in with power after 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound here. I like the organ and drum work too. Incredible. Guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. It settles with organ and tasteful guitar 5 minutes in before it kicks back in one more time. The final track "No Time To Die" is my least favourite. It opens with organ before the drums and guitar kick in. It settles with synths before 1 1/2 minutes as vocals join in.The sound does get fuller here.

I do think this is a 4 star album, in fact it really sounds good turned up loud. Thanks Todd !

Review by Warthur
2 stars Birth Control followed up Plastic People by toning down the hard rock side of their sound and diving straight into symphonic territory with Backdoor Possibilities, to the point where at points Bernd Noske's vocals sound like he's trying to channel Greg Lake. However, musically speaking the band only show a fairly superficial understanding of the trappings of the symphonic prog genre.

Rather than trying to get an in-depth understanding of the sources other symphonic bands were drawing on in creating their sound, the album sounds like Birth Control wrote the songs by saying "OK, we'll have a Genesis bit here... and we'll try for a Gentle Giant bit there..." and so on - and their attempts to draw on the sound of other prog bands in creating this melange are rather unconvincing. On the whole, not an album I enjoyed, and an album which even those who quite enjoyed Plastic People should probably approach with caution.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars On Backdoor Possibilities from 1976 Birth Control explores little bit further on their sound coming with some jazzier elements in their symphonic/heavy prog atmosphere. This is an extravagant album, musicaly speaking, lots of instrumental passages, very well performed, some of them even brilliant like on The farrockaway ropedancer. Some parts has more proeminent keyboards passages then before and have a certain GentleGiant breeze in arrangements, but very nice in the end like on Behind gray walls or No Time To Die. The album overall is dynamic, very good musicianship and is pretty ok in my book, no weak moments and I think is equaly great as Plastic people that why I give 4 stars. Another of Birth Control overlooked albums from their most ambitious period in prog rock realm.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I like this album much more than their first raw hard rock oriented and not well developed albums. Backdoor possibilities showcases solid compositional qualities, much better vocals which were mediore in the beginning, and more sophisticated sounds. Several keyboard instruments from Moog, Ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#2281748) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, November 16, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I find this album from Birth Control completely oriented towards symphonic progressive rock. The music still maintains some of the group's familiar hard rock-ish feel but you will not find guitar riffs here. These moments are hidden behind tight bass and drums' rhythms. If I should give some r ... (read more)

Report this review (#630276) | Posted by Astryos | Saturday, February 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars How I've said in my review about the BIRTHCONTROL's previous album "Plastic People" in my opinion this German band releases only one another really progressive album in their career: "Backdoor Possibilities", and in spite of this album receives a lowest quotation , I consider this album muc ... (read more)

Report this review (#595379) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, December 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I only know 'operation' from their previously released material. By comparison this is far less rocky and a lot more complex. The keyboards in the album lead far more often and are often a lot quieter and slower moving. I think the guitar work could have been a lot stonger and this lets the al ... (read more)

Report this review (#100679) | Posted by laghtnans | Monday, November 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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