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ALSATIAN

Birth Control

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Birth Control Alsatian album cover
3.97 | 20 ratings | 1 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Jump (For Your Live) (6:08)
2. Rock The Road (4:02)
3. Raindrops (9:27)
4. In The City (8:47)
5. Julie's Dream (8:47)
6. Get You Down (4:13)
7. Alsatian (9:25)
8. The Reverend's Holy Sermon (4:03)
9. Like Nothing Ever Changed (8:31)
10. A Night Of It (4:05)

Total Time: 67:30

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Bernd "Nossi" Noske / drums, percussion, vocals
- Peter Engelhardt / electric & acoustic guitars
- Cyborg Haines / bass, organ (Raindrops)
- Sascha Kühn / organ, keyboards

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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BIRTH CONTROL Alsatian ratings distribution


3.97
(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
25%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
45%
Good, but non-essential (30%)
30%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

BIRTH CONTROL Alsatian reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ozzy_tom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Birth Control - "Alsatian"(2003)

Few weeks ago I listened for the first time to this latest release of this famous heavy progressive rock outfit and I still can't believe that nobody wrote review of this fantastic work. Not only on Progarchives but anywhere! (ok, I've found one review...but in German language which I don't remember at all right now). Straight to the point: of course it's not a progressive rock gem, full of new groundbreaking ideas and atypical complex structured 20 minutes suites. It's just good old Birth Control which we all like: lots of roaring Hammond organs, longer tracks with some hard rocking soloing mixed with simpler rock'n'roll tunes, Bernd Noske's vocals with slightly unusual accent and all the other attributes of this group created in early seventies of last century. To be honest I really liked their previous 3 albums recorded in 90' "Two Worlds", "Jungle Life" & "Getting There" (especially "Jungle Life" was a very good effort). They brought me back my faith in this band, after rather mediocre late 70' albums and very disappointing records in 80'. But "Alsatian" really proves that in XXI century Birth Control and its heavy prog are still alive. Compositions are much longer than in last proceeded releases, what gives opportunity for all musicians to show what they can with their instruments. They also offer very good balance of hard and soft material. The whole album is also quite long (67:30 minutes) so it gives us clear impression that for sure this time heads of musicians were full of many ideas which they wanted to present it their music.

Let's check track-by-track what we have here:

1. "Jump (For Your Live)" - begin with big "boom!" of thundering Hammond organs and electric guitar, but after few seconds music changes its tempo completely to very mellow. Some not so passionate singing, electronic-sounding piano but when refrain ("Jump for your life!") appear we're sure it's our good-old Birth Control. Later we can hear some mid- tempo guitar solo, but the "real thing" is truly splendid organ solo played in the best symphonic tradition! You must love it! After this showcase I was sure that band is back in form and their new keyboardist Sascha Kühn (it's first BH's album featuring this guy) is as good as all keyboardists hired by this group in the past. He can be easily compared with Reinhold Sobotta ("Birth Control", "Operation"), Wolfgang Neuser ("Hoodoo man") and Zeus B. Held (lots of albums in 70').

2. "Rock The Road" - one of the fastest and simplest song on the album. Band shows its rock'n'roll side with ultra-speedy guitar leads and catchy melodies. It can be considered as successor of such songs as "Hard times" & "I send my mind on vacation" from 2 previous albums. Kühn presents us also here another good Hammond solo this time more in the hard rock vain a la Jon Lord.

3. "Raindrops" - the longest track on the album (almost 10 minutes) is based on a little blues-like or even country-like rhythm with leading roles of Hammond organ & acoustic guitar with electric one in supportive role. Song has mid tempo and quite dump lyrics ("Oh Girl! I've never saw you dancing in the raindrops") but they are sang quite passionately so I'm pleased to listen to them even I realize they have no meaning at all ;-). After 5 minutes Peter Engelhardt starts to play some great guitar solos in the vain of 70' Ritchie Blackmore. These solos are interesting by itself...but take note of amazing organ riffing presented along with Peter's killer guitar. In fact it's difficult not to notice that bass player Cyborg Haines try to "go out of his skin" to show that he's equally good organist as bassist (yes, according to credits Haines plays Hammond in this one track!). Birth Control is a really lucky band that they have 2 such talented keyboardists. It's a pity they didn't let bassist to play some more organ in other tracks, he really know how to do that! Anyway the song finishes with machine gun shooting. Very loud! So be prepared...

4. "In The City" - my favorite composition on this album! Who knows maybe even my favorite in general in post-"Hoodoo man" career of this band. It has incredibly infectious groove, rhythm section is just fantastic here! I can feel some Santanesque beat here, really. Noske sings really great here and he's screams in repeating the refrain in the end of the song are memorable moments of the album. All song is very catchy and long organ-guitar solos are incredibly well composed, no noodling/jamming here. Everything is played with great dynamism. First organ solo is surprisingly jazzy, while later organ/guitar interludes remind me of Crane/Cann from Atomic Rooster or even more Santana/Rolie.

5. "Julie's Dream" - after fantastic "In The City" comes probably the worst song in here. It's definitely the most boring one with very mellow, atypical for BH atmosphere. Noske sings passion-less here for me. Keyboardist plays mostly high-tech synthesizers and electric piano here with occasional organ in the background. There are some electric solos based on organ riffs which higher the level of this song, but it's still nothing so special. Maybe if it was shorter (it's almost 9 minutes!) it would be more bearable.

6. "Get You Down" - quite unusual song with mid-tempo beat and truly crunching bass guitar which is as loud as lead guitar here. To be more atypical most of the song has no keyboards presented however near the end Sascha Kühn plays quite good synthesizer solo. Not bad song but nothing to be stunned of.

7. "Alsatian" - after 4 very good songs in the beginning, "Julie's Dream" & "Get You Down" lower my good mood a bit. However track "Alsatian" brought big smile on my face again. First minute of the song with on vocal, acoustic guitar and electric piano presented fooled me that it will be another ballad-like track similar to "Julie's Dream". Fortunately this part finishes very fast and BH delivers as another heavy prog classic with incredibly enjoyable organ work. In the middle of the song we can listen to first organ solo followed by equally good electric guitar one. But the real masterpiece is waiting in the end of the song, where keyboardist plays his best Hammond organ solo on this album. In this moment it seems that souls of Ken Hensley, Jon Lord and Vincent Crane stand by Sascha's side to help him recreate the good-old 70' rock style. Splendid!

8. "The Reverend's Holy Sermon" - what's this? I can't even say that's surprise. In fact it seems to be second part of "The Sperminator strikes back" from "Two Worlds" album. If you don't know this album I'll explain to you: bass player + his bass + 4 minutes to do something. Probably 1-2 minutes would be enough for such bass soloing. But 4 minutes is rather dull...

9. "Like Nothing Ever Changed" - another mid-tempo rocker but not so exciting this time. The singing is proper however and guitar solos are long and good as before. The only problem is organist this time. Why the hell is he playing the same riff over and over again throughout the whole song? It's more than 8 minutes, man! I known that this riff is quite fun, such groovy, distorted "weeeeee". But in the middle of the song you feel tired of it. I know you can much better Sascha, you've proved it in so many songs in this album...

10. "A Night Of It" - time for true ballad. First half of the song only Noske's vocals and Kühn's acoustic piano but later they are one-by-one joined by drums, bass and electric guitar. Near the end we can even hear some Mellotron (samples?). Very enjoyable song for me. Good to end this truly beautiful album in such relaxing way.

In general: these good-old pals delivered to us another enjoyable record full of music which we all know and like. No big surprises, but who can expect surprises from 60 years old guy after so many years of recording albums, touring and - for sure - drinkin' too much alcohol and using "other" goods.

And if you think that BH are Deep Purple clones listen to this album. DP doesn't record such albums anymore now. BH are much more prog, and they also proves it on "Alsatian". I can only say that's a pity that from 2003 they didn't record any new solo songs. It seems they concentrate only on concerts now. I hope they will come back to studio soon.

4,5 stars (must have for Hammond organ lovers, worth to have for general progheads)

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Posted Friday, May 07, 2010

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