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ODIN

Odin

Heavy Prog


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Odin Odin album cover
3.43 | 43 ratings | 8 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Life Is Only (10:55)
2. Tribute To Frank (1:58)
3. Turnpike Lane (3:43)
4. Be The Man You Are (2:45)
5. Gemini (8:54)
6. Eucalyptus (2:51)
7. Clown (8:35)

Total Time: 38:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Jeff Beer / keyboards, vibraphone, percussion, vocals
- Rob Terstall / guitar, vocals
- Ray Brown / bass, vocals
- Stuart Fordham / drums, percussion

Releases information

LP Vertigo 6360 608 (Germany)
CD Repertoire REP 4230-WP (1991)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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ODIN Odin ratings distribution


3.43
(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
19%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
47%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ODIN Odin reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Good (and sometimes excellent) hard Hammond-driven prog rock that was so usual in the very early part parts of the 70's (Odin can also be called UK proto prog), this "standard prog" quartet, lead by Kb/perc Jeff Beer, released their sole album on the legendary Vertigo label in 72.

Opening on the killer 11-mins Life Is Only, after a gradual build-up, Beer's infernal Hammond drives the rest of the group into many great twists and detours, very ably seconded by guitarist Terstall. Beer's organ playing is a composite of a wise Emerson and calmer Vincent Crane and a lesser riff-oriented Jon Lord, and reminds most of Uriah's Hensley, but certainly more inclined to lead role than the last two cited. The singing is good but unremarkable, but should not turn anyone off. The short instrumental Tribute To Frank (Zappa I guess, given the vibraphone) is another winner. However, the following Turnpike Lane has a heard-elsewhere melody (although I could never place), while the acoustic Be The Man You Are closes the first side in a rather less then enthusiastic fashion.

The flipside-opening 9-mins cover Gemini is the other highlight of the album, where Beer's organ rumps wildly in the middle section, although the chorus gets on my nerves (this writer is detests astrology and anything remotely related to it). The short Eucalyptus is a rather nice downbeat instrumental while the closing 8-mins+ Clown is another strong track where the instrumental passages are again taking the upper hand over the chorus-verse part of the song.

A very worthy one shot album that should ravish most of the early 70's buffs, looking for such beauties like Indian Summer, Steel Mill and more of Hammond-driven prog. I wouldn't call this album an unearthed gem, because of its release on Vertigo and its constant availability through the high-profile Repertoire record in CD format, but also because the songwriting is rather uneven at times and the band's strength was clearly in the good instrumental interplay.

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Odin, like NEKTAR was a British band residing in Germany. While NEKTAR received some success (especially the United States when Passport Records showed an interest in their music), ODIN simply released one album, disappeared, and has pretty much been ignored. The album was released on the swirl Vertigo label, and due to its obscurity, one of the more desired titles on the label. While NEKTAR sometimes flirted with Krautrock styles (often so far as being called Krautrock, even if they weren't German), ODIN mainly stuck to a heavy guitar/organ-dominated prog style that was typical of the British scene of the early '70s. The band consisted of Jeff Beer on keyboards, Ray Brown on bass, Stuart Fordham on drums, and Rob Terstall on guitar, all credited to vocal duties, aside from the drummer.

If you love the sound of the Hammond organ, this album is a total must, often Jeff Beer played his organ with fuzz tone, not unlike DEEP PURPLE's Jon Lord, or Peter Robinson's work with QUATERMASS (whose style was much closer to Lord's in that band than say, when he was in BRAND X, which was much more similar to Robin Lumley's). In fact the band so much as covers a QUATERMASS song as well!

The album starts off with "Life Is Only", a totally killer piece stuffed with cool guitar and organ solos. There are some passages that bear more than a passing resemblance to ELP, in fact it's the only piece on the album to feature ELP-like passages. "Tribute to Frank" is a jazzy instrumental that brings to mind some of ZAPPA's instrumental works, so unsurprisingly the tribute would be to Frank ZAPPA. "Turnpike Lane" features a lot of wordless vocals, and at times almost reminding me of certain Italian prog bands. Of course, the guitar and organ solos are more typical of British bands. "Be the Man You Are" finds the band doing a nice, laid-back acoustic piece. Certainly the vocals are no CSNY, but still a nice piece. Then there's the cover of QUATERMASS' "Gemini". If you know the original, you'll find they pretty much stick to the original, except they added on guitars (since of course ODIN featured a guitarist and QUATERMASS didn't), and an extended solo the original didn't have. "Eucalyptus" is a rather laid-back instrumental piece with some early string synth (presumably a Freeman, as it's too early for the Elka or Solina, and the Eminent, which was around in '72, didn't seem to get much use outside of Italy and France). "Clown" goes back to the heavy style that is most typical for this band.

The album was luckily reissued on CD, and given the kind of music this is, this album would be perfect for Repertoire Records out of Germany to reissue. Instead a small German label called Living in the Past got a hold of it, making it not as easy to get a hold of, but if you can find a copy, get it!

Certainly the music is dated, the heavy organ/guitar format of the music makes it obvious that this was the early '70s, but as long as the music is great, as this album demostrates, I don't care.

Truly an amazing and forgotten gem of British prog. If you like early '70s guitar/organ- driven prog, this album is a total must!

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Odin made one album that was quite good, but not really that distinctive. Despite recording this in 1972, the band's style was very much raw proto-prog with the odd jazz inflections, and mediocre vocals atop it all. While there are better proto-prog bands out there, I do enjoy sizable chuncks of this album.

The "proggier" (and consequently, better) songs here are unsurprisingly, the three lengthier ones. The opener Life Is Only promises much but doesn't really deliver, the cover of Quartermass' Gemini starts off very much in blues-rock staple mood before breaking into some Heep/Purple styled proggressive hard rock, with Jeff Beer's fantastic organ solo a dead ringer for a Jon Lord special. As for my favourite overall song on the album, the closing Clowns is a nice fat slab of proto-prog, with the guitar/organ exchanges overcoming the shortages in the vocal department.

Elsewhere, though, without making poor music, Odin is generally ordinary. Most of the shorter songs ride by on a single gimmick. Turnpike Lane has an unusual tribal vocal chant. Tribute To Frank is an all-too brief Zappa-esque instrumental (if you can believe it, I only just got the deliberate nod to Zappa as I was typing this!). Be The Man You Are is unexceptional, but could easily be a folkie's favourite Odin song. Eucalyptus is a passable stoner instrumental.

Odin's only work is far from bad, and I wouldn't pass up on it, but I would suggest sniffing out the likes of Tonton Macoute, Marsupillami, East Of Eden or indeed Quartermass first. ... 63% on the MPV scale

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A good vintage prog rock

In local mailing list, i-Rock! googlegroups, one of the members posted a question about Odin couple of weeks ago. I then checked with my review at this site because I was so sure that I wrote one altogether with CZAR (because I got the CD of these two bands almost at the same time). In fact I have not reviewed it here. I then decided to spin the CD. What I experienced was - in the middle of spinning relatively new prog CDs like ACT "Silence" - having a full nuance of 70s sound where the sonic quality was predominantly midrange and less treble and bass. But, I do enjoy vintage analog record even though the hi-fi quality is not that good. It represents the sound of 70s really. The CD sleeve is also quite minimum as it contains one folded paper as cover which copies the LP cover, I think. The CD was reproduced in 2000 by Living In The Past, Germany. Thanks God, I can now enjoy a true 70s music in its raw form.

The album starts with "Life Is Only" (10:55) which has a combination of hard-rock and symphonic prog composition. Ray Brown, the bass player, plays his instrument dynamically and it lays strong rhythm section coupled with stunning guitar solo by Rob Terstall. The vocal department has two singers : Rob Terstall and Ray Brown. The beuty of this song is its structure - not quite straight forward, in fact it has multi styles - as well as Hammond / keyboard work. The keyboard work reminds me to vintage rock music. Next is a short instrumental track "Tribute To Frank" (1:58) which has vibraphone work and a bit reminds me to Gentle Giant but with less complex arrangement.

"Turnpike Lane" (3:43) is basically an instrumental track because the singers are basically not singing any lyrics, as they do singing ini "aaaa . aaa.." instead of lyrical verses. The key characteristic is the combined vocal and guitar work. I do enjoy the stunning guitar solo in the middle of the track. Oh yeah, the bass lines are as usual, excellent! "Be The Man You Are" (2:45) is basically a ballad and I don't favor this track - because it has repetitive and boring chords.

"Gemini" (8:54) is another proggy (sort of) track. The music reminds me to bands like Frumpy, Atlantis or Babe Ruth but the vocal quality is similar to Cuby + Blizzards (Dutch) blues band. The structure of the song is basically hard-rock but the keyboard work combined with guitar solo remind me to symphonic prog kind of music. In terms of composition, this is as good as opening track "Life is Only". The soaring keyboard work that accompanies guitar solo is really nice. Having played as rhythm section, the keyboard performs its solo like Jon Lord performs in Deep Purple.

Overall, Odin has laid down quite a solid debut album. It has good songwriting, arrangement and performance. Unfortunately this was the only album they have ever produced and was only distributed in Germany. It's recommended to all of you who want to explore prog music in the old days - vintage prog rock. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Odin were a band with an interesting background, possibly more interesting than their music which was rather run-of-the-mill psych and blues rock sprinkled with a bit of funky jazz. The lineup consisted of a German, Dutchman and a couple of Englishmen transplanted to Germany in the late sixties. An early formation was known Honest Truth and made their modest reputation through live shows for the most part. Odin came to be after a breakup of Honest Truth in the wake of the death of their keyboardist and the theft of their equipment.

The Odin lineup included a new keyboardist (you know, because the old one was dead) named Jeff Beer, the only German and a converted guitarist. This band also concentrated on live shows, and secured a contract with Vertigo in 1972. Their self-titled and only studio release followed shortly thereafter. While the group had worked on a follow-up and had recorded tracks in a radio studio that would be released a quarter-century later, their fortunes in 1973 were rather bleak and by early 1974 the band had disbanded after less than three years together.

“Life is Only” and “Turnpike Lane” were among the four tracks the band would re-record in their radio studio sessions in 1973 and while those recordings were nearly identical, the production quality of both on this record is quite a bit better. “Life is Only” appears to be the band’s magnum opus, a nearly eleven minute foray into jazz, heavy blues and psychedelic guitar riffs that is a bit undisciplined but pretty ambitious for a fledgling band of young musicians.

“A Tribute to Frank” is just what the title says, but interestingly enough the short track’s keyboard and percussion bear a striking resemblance to a lot of jazzed-up New Age music I heard in the early eighties. This is also the only track of its kind on the album. “Be the Man You Are” is the other oddity, a mellow, folk-like guitar number with Beer providing dime-store philosophy backed by some decent harmony courtesy of guitarist Rob Terstall.

“Gemini” is a very prototypical early seventies Hammond organ-driven heavy rock song with wailing lead guitar and a toe-tapping though not particularly ambitious drumbeat. In all the tune isn’t bad, but sounds just like at least a couple dozen other bands of that era that come to mind but who I won’t bother to list out here.

The only instrumental on the album (“Eucalyptus”) is another slow number with an almost maddeningly plodding guitar and bass line that just doesn’t seem to go anywhere. I’m guessing there are no lyrics because the band couldn’t think of anything to say about the music. Me either.

The band ends the album and their career with “Clown”, another hard-rocker with psych guitar much in the vein of the opening track. Again, not bad but nothing any prog fan hasn’t heard countless times before.

The CD reissue has a bonus track (“Oh No”) which was also featured on the 1973 SWF session tapes released on the Long Hair label in 2007. This is another organ orgy (that sounds weird when I read those words back out loud), although I’ll admit the tune is representative of the rest of the band’s work so I suppose it fits here.

I’ll say the same of this album that I did about their SWF Sessions CD – not essential by any means, but a record that will likely have some appeal to fans of heavy prog. Three stars just because I think the music is a little better than just for collectors and fans of the band.

peace

Latest members reviews

4 stars Oh yes, this is a fantastic gem of a find for me. What I was expecting from a heavy prog band called Odin was something more raw, with heavy distortion, pounding drums, and occasional mythological references. This would have easily satisfied the hard rock side of my musical preferences, but wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#722928) | Posted by Dr. Judkins | Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Man, what a letdown. Man, what a bring down, Man if this is Odin's trip I wanna get off. Let's just say my expecations were very high on this one, I had heard about it as a teenager, and I had wanted to own it for years. I found the reissue and bought it. I put the needle down on the record an ... (read more)

Report this review (#87164) | Posted by | Sunday, August 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars ODIN a British prog rock band....put out this record on the famous Vertigo label in 1972. They sound like a nice blend of Epitaph and Birth control (first period)...and the production are as could be expected from way back then. I kinda like the music...which is heavy on the hammond and keys in g ... (read more)

Report this review (#30244) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Wednesday, May 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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