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Message From Books And Dreams album cover
3.67 | 60 ratings | 10 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sleer (2:51)
2. Dreams And Nightmares (Dreams) (12:45)
3. Turn Over (4:02)
4. Sigh (8:07)
5. Dreams And Nightmares (Nighmares) (13:13)

Total Time: 42:18

Bonus tracks on 2003 remaster:
6. Introducing the Myth (including) The Unpleasant Spell
7. Painted Lady (3:34)

Line-up / Musicians

- Tom McGuigan / vocals, sax, Mellotron
- Allan Murdoch / guitar
- Horst Stachelhaus / bass
- Gunther Klinger / drums

- Rab (?) / congas
- Werner (?) / vibes

Releases information

Artwork: Helmut Wenske

LP Bacillus Records ‎- BLPS 19159 (1973, Germany)
LP Bacillus Records ‎- 9861412 (2015, Germany)

CD Bellaphon ‎- 288 09·119 (1993, Germany)
CD Citystudio Media Production ‎- CMP 607-2 (2003, Germany) Remastered by J. Crasser with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MESSAGE From Books And Dreams ratings distribution

(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MESSAGE From Books And Dreams reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Progbear
3 stars A curious Nektar-like band, comprised of British and German members. The sound is something of a blend of cosmic hard rock and some holdover psychedelic tendencies. There's a jazzy touch at times, too, imparted by lead singer Tommy McGuigan's occasional sax work. If I had to compare this to some other album, Nektar's A TAB IN THE OCEAN is not dissimilar.
Review by Melomaniac
4 stars Well, this sleeve could've been from a death metal band!

A half-British, half-German affair (the same line-up that would record the eponymous masterpiece Message), From Books and Dreams is a dark, hard-rocking psychedelic album. The production makes for a very spacy, dirty and blurry atmosphere that serves the album well. I recommend listening to this album in the evening (preferably an autumn evening), light up a few candles, unplug the phone, sit back, lie down or whatever, and listen...

1 - Sleep : Not really a song, more of an introduction. A feeling of intense, wrenching vertigo, similar to the moment before falling into subconsciousness and the dream realm, is well depicted here. Blurry, psychedelic, a perfect mood setter.

2 - Dreams and Nightmares (Dreams) - One of the two very high points (personnaly I can't find any weak points) of this album. Starts where Sleep left off, with an hypnotic guitar theme, repeated for a while (the German influence, I guess) and built up until a riff change and vocals kick in. Now, some may not like Tom McGuigan's voice, I know I really love it. Not always on tone, he more than makes up for it with intensity and theatricality. Alan Murdoch shines all through the song, with amazing hard-rocking catchy riffs and a main theme that will be stuck in your head for days, months, maybe years. The rythm section, not as creative as on the eponymous album, is nonetheless very tight and enjoyable to listen to. A great support for Murdoch's riffs. Lyrically, the song dabbles in the nonsense of dreams (as does the whole album), therefore do not expect lyrics to make much sense, all the while still making sense (as dreams do). The song segues into :

3 - Turn Over! : A dark, psychedelic guitar pattern graces the song, serving as background to Tom McGuigan's saxophone wailing. This closed side one of the vinyl, as the words 'Turn Over' are repeated quite a few times at the end of the song, when the needle reaches the end of the lp (this trick was also used by Ange on Le Cimetière des Arlequins, and probably by countless others in that period).

4 - Sigh : Another psychedelic rocking number, but less dark than anything on side one. The majority of the chords are happy sounding, but that doesn't make the song less interesting. Once again, Murdoch's guitar lines are the focus of the song, and McGuigan's vocal melodies are also very interesting.

5 - Dreams and Nightmares (Nightmares) : The other high point of the album. The inclusion of keyboards makes for a haunting effect. Catchy dark riffs all the way through, interesting chord progressions... a great track.

This is my second Message album, and even though it is a bit less progressive than the eponymous, it is nonetheless an amazing album. Might not be a masterpiece, but it is damn close to being one. 4.5 stars. A shame these guys did not get the recognition they deserved at that time.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Completely agree with Melomaniac on the 4.5 star rating for this one. Gotta love the album cover as well. The vocalist really reminds me of John Wetton, but the music is a Psychedelic / Krautrock blend with lots of heaviness.This was recorded at Dieter Dierks studio in March of 1973. Some sax and mellotron on this one as well.

"Sleep" is like the introduction with lots of atmosphere. Spoken words before 1 1/2 minutes.This is very spaced out and haunting. "Dreams And Nightmares (Dreams)" has this catchy guitar melody with a steady beat. Vocals 2 1/2 minutes in and the guitar lights it up briefly at 3 minutes.They're giving it all they got 7 minutes in. Vocals are back 9 minutes in. Guitar solo a minute later goes on and on. Nice. He's still ripping it up 11 1/2 minutes in. "Turn Over !" opens with gentle guitar and a dark mood. Sax joins in. This is great ! Drums before 2 1/2 minutes as the tempo picks up. Big finish then spoken words end it. He keeps saying "Turn over" as in when your sleeping on one side, turn over. Also it's the end of side one. Haha. "Sigh" opens with drums and guitar. Vocals a minute in. Bass 2 minutes in. Passionate vocals follow. It turns psychedelic after 3 1/2 minutes before kicking back in. Crazy sax after 5 minutes. Vocals are back 6 1/2 minutes in.

"Dreams And Nightmares (Nightmares) Introducing The Myth (including) The Unpleasant Spell" is spacey with mellotron to open as reserved vocals come in then drums as sound builds. Love the guitar and sound 3 minutes in. Sax 4 1/2 minutes in. It settles down before 6 minutes before kicking back in a minute later. Great sound ! Vocals are back 8 minutes in. The guitar lights it up before 9 1/2 minutes followed by spoken words as they continue to trade off. Vocals are back before 12 1/2 minutes. Amazing track. There is a bonus track called "Painted Lady" which opens aggressively with drums, bass and guitar as vocals arrive. Blistering guitar follows ! The guitar in this one is incredible.This song rocks.

Highly recommended to all you Krautrock fans out there.

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars Skeletor's favourite album

An album named like this sporting a spooky art work with pirate skull and a slithering snake worming through it - should preferably inspire nightmares of werewolves and darkness. The themes within speak about the other side of reality, the one that peeps through in the middle of the night, disturbing you in your sleep with tales of ancient memories, forbidden fruit, poisonous creatures and man made taboos being crossed by yourself seen from a bird's eye's view.

First of all, I'd like to give a shout out to my good friend John(Mellotron Storm) for introducing me to this album. Just by reading his review, I knew that I was in for a treat with From Books and Dreams. The album is a sweet concoction of grungy gritty hard rock and psychedelic Krautrock themes. Even if this mix has been done a thousand times before, back then it was still an infant musical child slowly learning to stand on its own two feet. Whereas we now have a cornucopian factory hall production of bands trying to infuse Black Sabbathy grittiness with the psych tendencies of old - often ending up in the aptly named sludge genre, back then the psychedelia of the 60s had only just begun to branch out in all of these fascinating hybrids. For my money, it was Germany who spawned the most astonishing and breathtaking metamorphoses, and Message is certainly among those acts that modelled these two hardy ingredients into something unique, black and fiery.

Message wield a brawling dirty guitar-based sound that ploughs through the airwaves like a rusty scythe. The grim reaper of string instruments fuels this band's energy, and you can almost feel the dark and murky ambiance of this band creeping up on you like an out of breath shadow trying desperately to catch up. This is no Black Sabbath - even if I portray it as such, the emphasis on cosmic feathered hard rock is far too obvious for that to be true. Even so, the overall production of the thing still puts pictures in my head of ghastly tombstones, neon skeletor and a swampy atmosphere that occasionally gets split wide open by the sharp scythe-like guitars.

This is essentially riff based music, but spiced up with sparsely used saxophone, synthesizers and mellotron. On several occasions though, the band changes course within the basic song structures - heaves the anchor, and flies away on sprawling magnificent fusion sweeps led by a manic saxophone. These are beautiful sections, and when the guitars finally interrupt with their sweetened melodic flavours, the music suddenly develops a counterpointing shadow effect to the otherwise harsh murkiness of the heavy riffage.

The front singer is actually English, which does add a certain quality to the vocals. Let's just say that English sung albums coming out of Germany from around the same time were very often clouded in heavy Bavarian accents, which to me personally can spoil an otherwise exceptional record. Well not this one. The vocals fit the music, although they have a confrontational manner - they clash into the given structure - sounding almost cacophonous at times, though never out of place. They depict the dreamy images of the lyrics in a way that lifts the overall feel of the album, making the music and lyrical themes collide in a natural symbiosis. Especially the divided title track proves this rather peculiar meeting.

If you already enjoy the works of Nektar, Nosferatu, 2066 and Then and other such acts that flirted around with the sticky combo of hard rock n' psychedelia, then Message's second outing should please you like a hundred handshakes from Jimmy Page. I love this album - the way it keeps fresh and still sounds like a death defying creature coming out of fog-ridden bogs, - and to top it all off, it just so happens to rock like a regular mountain of riffs.

Review by stefro
2 stars A grim slice of proto-metallic krautrock, 'From Books & Dreams' is hailed in some quarters as German masterpiece, though in actual fact this is much more a cult affair that seems to genuinely divide opinion amongst fans of progressive music. The problem here stems from the albums rather monotonous style, which finds driving guitar riffs undercutting some rather feeble vocals throughout the album's central two-part suite, 'Dream & Nightmares'. Part one, 'Dreams', quickly runs out of steam; 'Nightmares', which is the second part, follows the same dreary path. In between, murky goings on ruminate within the ominous 'Turn Over', whilst proceedings brighten ever-so-slightly with the atmospheric 'Sigh'. However, this is, overall, a rather uninspiring listen, and an album which may well appeal to fans of metal and heavy rock. Krautrock fans are warned: this basically an arty rock album, lacking the invention found in the material of fellow teutonic rock acts 'Faust', 'Embryo' and 'Grobschnitt'. Strictly for completionists then, this Message hasn't much to say. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by Progfan97402
4 stars Second album by the Scottish and German band (Allan Murdoch and Tam McGuigan were Scottish), From Books and Dreams sports an extremely creepy cover depicting a skull with a snake going through its eye sockets. Here the band takes on a heavier approach than on From Books and Dreams. Tam McGuigan, therefore takes on a heavier vocal approach, something like Don Brewer's vocal approach on Grand Funk's "We're an American Band" (not that Message sounded like Grand Funk, more like a heavier version of Nektar). "Sleep" largely consists of eerie spoken dialog, while "Dreams and Nightmares (Dreams)" is largely guitar-oriented jam with saxophone. "Turn Over" features a voice that repeats: "Turn Over". I believe the band intended that to be a lock-in groove that repeats until you remove the tonearm (given your turntable isn't automatic), but apparently the record company didn't understand that so it repeats "Turn Over" several times before it's over and your tonearm returns to its resting place (if its an automatic turntable). I own the original LP (with the unboxed "Bellaphon" logo on the label) so I should know this. There seems to be some confusion with the tracklistings, once again, seems like record company misunderstanding (no wonder they left the label after this album). "Sigh" (if that's the name of the song) features those really in your face hard rock vocals, with some amazing proggy hard rock passages. The last piece is the lengthiest piece and most proggy. The Mellotron makes an appearance with Allan "Taff" Freeman of Nektar providing it, as a guest. There are some spoken dialog as well.

It's obvious that, while Message appeared around the same time as Nektar, Nektar ended up as the much more commercially successful band. From Books and Dreams is truly worthy of your attention.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Great cover. I tend to associate it with another Krautrock album, 'Delusions' from McChurch Soundroom. Similar album cover, lyrical content, sound and style. 'The Day Anew Coming', the debut from Message in 1972 takes a progressive melodic fusion of psych, jazz-fusion and folk and shades it with ... (read more)

Report this review (#604531) | Posted by cannon | Saturday, January 7, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Similar in sound to Nektar though slightly heavier, darker, jazzier and rawer. The highlight track here is clearly the last track "Dreams and Nightmares (Nightmares)", though all songs are quite good. 51 minutes this time (The Dawn Anew is Coming was 34). They sound slightly more mature and conf ... (read more)

Report this review (#214818) | Posted by listen | Monday, May 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Message was founded by bass player Horst Stachelhaus in Germany in 1968. He was joined by two British musicians, Allan Murdoch (guitar) and Tommy McGuigan (vocals, sax). On this album, From Books And Dreams, Gunther Klinger plays the drums. Musically they come close to the sound of Nektar on t ... (read more)

Report this review (#75035) | Posted by Agemo | Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Excellent hard rock with progressive adds and psychodelic elements ( "Turn Over"), similar to Deep Purple,Twenty Sixty Six And Then and Waterloo. Song nr 2 is one of the best songs in hard-prog's history! Powerhouse ( Klinger and anonymous Rab and Werner) did they best!This album might be one ... (read more)

Report this review (#33333) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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