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ATOMIC ROOSTER

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Atomic Rooster biography
Founded 1969 - Disbanded in 1975 - Reformed from 1980 to 1983 and again since 2016 with new formation

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN having disintegrated after their sole album and their worldwide hit Fire (I am the god of hellfire) Vincent Crane (responsible for the music of that album) and Carl Palmer founded ATOMIC ROOSTER with Nick Graham on bass and vocals. This line-up soon disintegrated (Palmer abandoning them to join ELP), Crane contacted guitarist John DuCann formerly of psych bands THE ATTACK and ANDROMEDA and Paul Hammond on drums to make a seminal early Heavy Metal masterpiece "Death Walks Behind You" and then they hired Pete French, the incredible voice to make their finest album "In Hearing Of...". Most people would agree that this was the better line-up of ROOSTER but the mood was always stormy between Crane and DuCann so they disbanded at the release of the third album. Vincent Crane, always prone to depressions, had to start from scratch again and hired superb vocalist Chris Farlowe (ex-COLOSSEUM) and other men to make another fine album "Made In England" and finally "Nice and Greasy". Those last album are often over-looked by progheads being categorized as funk but this is hardly the case even if the superb use of a horn section on a third of the tracks add a lot of depth to their music. Their most popular hits (they did not spit at the singles market made often reference to the devil or Satan but the general mood was not Satanist as they have been so often categorized along with BLACK SABBATH and BLACK WIDOW. Crane would re-form his band along the years when his health permitted it until his death in 89.

ATOMIC ROOSTER is highly recommended to everyone looking for Hammond organ-driven rock of the early 70's but to anyone looking for high-energy prog. It is responsible for some of the all-time best hard-rock albums and should figure in all collection (you should hide a copy of "In Hearing Of ...." in your grandma's collection just for kicks.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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Sleeping For Years ~ The Studio Recordings 1970-1974: 4 Clamshell Boxset /  Atomic RoosterSleeping For Years ~ The Studio Recordings 1970-1974: 4 Clamshell Boxset / Atomic Rooster
ESOTERIC 2018
$25.02
$22.39 (used)
Live At Paris Theatre 1970Live At Paris Theatre 1970
Sireena Records 2018
$18.97
$23.72 (used)
RaritiesRarities
ANGEL AIR 2009
$23.55
$38.06 (used)
ResurrectionResurrection
Box set
Akarma Italy 2002
$498.64
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Death Walks Behind You -  Atomic RoosterDeath Walks Behind You - Atomic Rooster
SANCTUARY 2015
$12.99
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In Hearing Of -  Atomic RoosterIn Hearing Of - Atomic Rooster
Extra tracks · Remastered
SANCTUARY 2015
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Atomic RoosterAtomic Rooster
Music on Vinyl 2016
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Best- Dance Of DeathBest- Dance Of Death
ZOUNDS GmbH 2012
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Made in EnglandMade in England
Repertoire 2002
$59.99
$31.83 (used)
AnthologyAnthology
ANGEL AIR 2009
$14.16
$199.98 (used)
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ATOMIC ROOSTER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ATOMIC ROOSTER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 206 ratings
Atomic Roooster
1970
3.85 | 294 ratings
Death Walks Behind You
1970
3.79 | 199 ratings
In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster
1971
3.67 | 127 ratings
Made In England
1972
2.77 | 90 ratings
Nice 'n' Greasy [Aka: IV]
1973
3.16 | 52 ratings
Atomic Rooster '80
1980
2.94 | 52 ratings
Headline News
1983

ATOMIC ROOSTER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 11 ratings
BBC Radio 1 in Concert
1993
3.00 | 3 ratings
Devil's Answer
1998
3.00 | 9 ratings
Live And Raw 1970 & 71
2000
3.00 | 3 ratings
Live In Germany '83
2000
3.00 | 3 ratings
Live At The Marquee 1980
2002

ATOMIC ROOSTER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.50 | 6 ratings
Atomic Rooster
2003
3.00 | 4 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
2004
4.20 | 5 ratings
Lost Broadcasts
2011

ATOMIC ROOSTER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 4 ratings
Assortment
1974
3.35 | 6 ratings
Home to Roost
1977
1.00 | 1 ratings
This Is Atomic Rooster
1977
2.05 | 3 ratings
Lose Your Mind
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of Atomic Rooster
1987
3.00 | 5 ratings
The Devil Hits Back
1989
3.28 | 9 ratings
The Best & The Rest Of Atomic Rooster
1989
2.00 | 3 ratings
Space Cowboy
1991
3.51 | 5 ratings
The First 10 Explosive Years
1999
2.33 | 3 ratings
Best of Atomic Rooster, Vol. 1-2
1999
3.04 | 5 ratings
Rarities
2000
3.00 | 3 ratings
First 10 Explosive Years, Vol. 2
2001
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Ultimate Chicken Meltdown
2002
3.69 | 7 ratings
Heavy Soul: Anthology
2002
4.50 | 2 ratings
Resurrection
2002
3.48 | 4 ratings
The Best Of Atomic Rooster
2003
3.83 | 3 ratings
The Devil's Answer
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rebel With A Clause ("The First 10 Explosive Years"/ "Headline News" remastered
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Essential Atomic Rooster
2006
5.00 | 1 ratings
Devil's Answer - The Singles Collection
2006
2.80 | 5 ratings
Homework
2008
3.50 | 2 ratings
Anthology 1969-81
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tomorrow Night
2018

ATOMIC ROOSTER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.95 | 3 ratings
Tomorrow Night
1970
2.91 | 3 ratings
Friday The 13th
1970
2.95 | 2 ratings
Devil's Answer
1971
2.00 | 1 ratings
Stand By Me
1972
2.00 | 1 ratings
Tell Your Story (Sing Your Song) b/w O.D. 7 single
1974
2.00 | 2 ratings
Do You Know Who's Looking For You ?
1980
2.92 | 6 ratings
Play It Again 12''
1981
4.67 | 3 ratings
End Of The Day (12")
1982
2.00 | 1 ratings
Land Of Freedom
1983
2.00 | 1 ratings
Little Live Rooster
1989

ATOMIC ROOSTER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Atomic Roooster by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 206 ratings

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Atomic Roooster
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Cock Rock

If the extra vowel in Roooster was deliberate, can the same be said for the (green) cockerel endowed with a couple of fulsome bouncy teats? Such gender fluidity created moral panic among Australian retailers sufficient to have them place stickers over the offending nipples. Thank God they did, as otherwise Police minister Russ Hinze would have had to make identical arrangements in the illegal brothels he denied even existed prior to the Fitzgerald Inquiry. Australians like vowels, they have place names like Woolloomooloo but they don't like polygamists with jugs mate.

It's become revisionist wisdom that Rooster were always destined to be a 2nd division Prog band. This perception is perhaps inevitable given the unevenness and polarity of their output e.g they sit quite comfortably on the shoulders of Heavy Prog, Gothic Rock, Symphonic Prog but also Metal and Funk/Soul depending at which point you dip into their 9 year career. However, I think the main reason is that they are appraised using criteria inapplicable to their music. (Ditto Hendrix) If traced to its source, Vincent Crane's muse is closer to James Brown than it is to any of the anticipated precursors of Progressive Rock

The roots of Atomic Rooster are inextricably bound up with the disintegration of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown during their 3rd and final American Tour in 1969 so it will be instructive to expand on some of the background.

I've long been fascinated by that 'collective psychedelic black out' in 1969 when the Crazy World were stuck in New York unable to tour as Arthur had run off to join a black mystic commune, Drachen Theaker was last seen walking out to sea holding a guitar above his head and Vincent Crane was sectioned under the mental health act. For those of us who subscribe to the credo that art should imitate life, there has never been a band so ironically named in the history of popular music. It's difficult to find any credible testimony as to what actually went down here as even Arthur keeps a dignified but tight lipped silence as to his own state of mind during this period. What he does confirm however is that the oft speculated collaboration with Jimi Hendrix was for real and that tentative plans were in place to perform around excerpts of composer Wagner against visual projections by a putative line up of Brown (vocals) Jimi (guitar) Crane (keys) Mitch Mitchell (drums) and tba (bass) Whether any of this would have come to fruition is anyone's guess but the annals of rock are filled with even flimsier and more grandiose plans that contain not an ounce of truth. (The apocryphal H.E.L.P uber group for example)

Carl Palmer maintains today that he formed Atomic Rooster as his band and invited Vincent Crane to join but old men forget don't they? Palmer and Crane did discuss forming a band in NYC and did eventually return to England late 69 early '70 but is it likely that your number one choice for keyboards would be the guy who stepped off the plane in a strait jacket and straight into the Banstead lunatic asylum?

You won't find many pictures on the internet of the Crazy World featuring Vinnie Crane. The fragility of his mental health necessitated him being deputized by Pete Solley (who appears on the iconic TOTP performance of Fire)

Carl was a baby. Sweet guy. Couldn't keep time, but we were good friends. We've lost touch since then. And he was ambitious: I think he would have eaten his young if it helped him get to the top. Pete Solley - proves that despite a perfectly respectable career as a record producer and member of Procul Harum, the green eyed monster is not restricted to just this album art

At the outset, Rooster were tipped for big things and developed a large following in Europe although America, being full of Americans, proved resistant to their charms. One noted UK music scribe speculated they would rival the Nice and become the successors to Cream as the next big power trio (erm....without a virtuoso guitarist?) This type of hyperbole is of course common currency in a profession where talk is cheap and a bar tab is available. That said, there is much to cherish on Rooster's debut which was the only album they released with a dedicated bass player. The rest of their discography has Crane's nimble footwork on Hammond pedals providing the bass lines. I've always felt this gives the bottom end a softer rounder tone consistent with soul, RnB and jazz idioms whereas the percussive attack of Nick Graham's bass guitar lends this album its edgier rock energy. Trivia fans: The group got their name from a member of Elektra 'manufactured' US band Rhinoceros who (allegedly) dropped so much acid he thought he had an alter ego called 'the Atomic Rooster'.

True to form, Palmer's playing is flashy and frilly throughout but just doesn't really carry any authoritative weight or provide Crane's music with the anchor it needs i.e. he treats any natural breathing spaces in a song's phrasing as an opportunity to distract the listener with unnecessary flourishes and fills which only serve to disrupt the ebb and flow of the underlying groove. Don't get me wrong, I think he was the perfect drummer for ELP but just not for Rooster.

Here's where the confusion sets in for your reviewer. The initial pressing of the vinyl album had just organ, bass and drums but my review version is one of the subsequent releases where John Du Cann's guitar has been added to some of the tracks. I've never heard the 'trio' only album (and I suspect it's a disappearing rarity) but I would hazard that it probably sounds a bit lightweight shorn of the distorted guitar. Nick Graham also plays some pretty wild and wacky whammy bar guitar on the substantial S.L.Y just to further muddy the waters...

Vincent Crane's bipolarity was probably diagnosed long before setting out on a music career and he was clearly unsuited to a profession as dissolute, chaotic, shallow, hedonistic and precarious as Rock and Roll. The lyrics to many of these songs carry a prescience of his own fate and that of his condition's inevitable triumph over a faltering will:

Everyone's Lonely When They Die. No One In The World Will Want You - Save Me! No One In The World Will Need You - Save Me! No One In The World Will Love You - Save Me! No One In The World Will Miss You - Save Me!

Hardly, Let's Get It On now is it? Say what you like about the Brits, we might wallow in it to our detriment but at least we do confront some unpalatable realities.

As a reflection of his time spent in a mental hospital, the elegiacally beautiful Banstead exploits to exquisite effect the disparity between the resigned vulnerability in Crane's voice with that of the defiant strength imbued in Graham's. These are sentiments that most of us mercifully, can only guess as to the depths of mental anguish they precipitated in their author

Please, take me out of this place, Yeah, I know I'm never gonna learn. Please, take me out of this place, What I do with my life is my own concern.

Even what masquerades as love in the Crane dystopia is couched in terms of the starf.u.c.king backstage harlot re And So To Bed:

You don't want me, you don't need me, All you need is sex with fame. You don't want me, you don't need me, All you need is sex with fame. Want me, need me, take me, it's all in your mind. You want a group each night, tonight you want me.

I had cause to doubt the authorship of some of the orchestral arrangements on the Crazy World of Arthur Brown debut album but after hearing the brass intro added to the excellent cover version of John Mayall's Broken Wings I have to conclude they are unmistakably Crane's handiwork. No-one before or since, writes brass parts like that. Sublime.

Time for the Turkey Shoot. The only real stinker hereabouts is the instrumental Before Tomorrow which is one of those jams that everyone adores from the rehearsal room until they hear it back through the monitors: as an aimless, unstructured one idea wankfest with bags of unfocused energy captured in an ego massage parlor. Funneling Crane's organ through a wah-wah pedal might be a neat effect if used for textural contrast but when deployed for the number's entire duration just becomes wearying to listen to.

Winter quotes ingeniously the Crazy World's Come and Buy in a poignantly understated ballad for piano, flute (from Graham) and glockenspiel (from Carl) where again, Vincent's wounded delivery sets the sombre mood for an encroaching winter as a metaphor for his latent depression. It's odd that an Englishman should invoke the seasons as a metaphor given that most UK summers are just as awful as their winters but from a pathological perspective, that just might be his point here.

Stare at the remnant of life that once was mine Killed by time What is the point of going on? What is the point of going on? And on, and on, and on? Spring is past - winter's coming on

If you like Deep Purple, the Nice, Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Graham Bond, Colosseum or just have a fondness for soulful rock featuring Hammond organ in general then this is well worth checking out.

 Death Walks Behind You by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.85 | 294 ratings

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Death Walks Behind You
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The late 60s had been a tumultuous ride for Hammond organ wizard, pianist and bassist Vincent Crane who had ridden high as part of the whacky Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, however Brown himself demanded to be the center of attention which left a bad taste in the mouths of the supporting musicians who were keeping him afloat. Crane jumped shipped and took drummer Carl Palmer (yes, THAT Carl Palmer) with him to form their own version of heavy soulful rock with a few prog curve balls. The answer came in the form of ATOMIC ROOSTER after snatching up bassist / vocalist / flautist / guitarist Nick Graham to form the new power trio. However, this new vision only lasted a mere album when they recorded and released the debut 
'Atomic Roooster,' before Carl Palmer decided that Crane's musical vision wasn't a good match. It wouldn't be long before he would join Emerson, Lake & Palmer and become one of prog's biggest stars.

Unfortunately Graham would jump ship as well and join Skin Alley which left Vincent Crane scrambling for suitable replacements. After scouring the musical world for the right talent to align forces with, Crane ultimately settled on Andromeda vocalist and guitarist John Du Cann who would handle the triple duties as guitarist, bassist and lead vocalist. For the near impossible task of replacing the jazz-rock master Carl Palmer, newbie Paul Hammond joined the crew and the new triumvirate of talent had been christened and the creative process began to take root. This all led to the next phase of ATOMIC ROOSTER which released the second album DEATH WALKS BEHIND YOU a mere seven months after the debut in the same year of 1970 and the trio that appeared at this stage would be forever referred to as the 'classic' lineup.

This sophomore offering is what is known as the most critically lauded, most popular and well known album of the entire ATOMIC ROOSTER canon with its instantly recognizable cover art of the William Blake monotype Nebuchadnezzar, a character that according to legend was a former ruler who lost his mind through hubris and reduced to animalistic insanity. The cover art wasn't just a gloom and doom artistic photo op but actually provided inspiration for the darkened themes contained in the album's eight track run. While Crane had been the main compositional writer on the debut, DEATH WALKS BEHIND YOU finds an equal playing field with Du Cann writing and co-creating as much material as Crane. The result is a tremendously different sounding album that finds the balance of power working in favor of a more interesting and dynamic roster of musical treats. Sadly no songwriting from Hammond.

Despite the album residing on the heavier side of rock with progressive elements strewn about, the title track plays a beautiful mind trick by starting out with a creepy piano jingle accompanied by a weird series of guitar squeals which sets the darkened macabre tone of the album before it jumps into the more familiar guitar and organ dominated bluesy rock shuffles with the rather unorthodox songwriting procedures of the era. The immediate effect is that DEATH WALKS BEHIND YOU is immediately more mesmerizing than the debut album with much more interesting guitar riffs, a better mix of keys and drums and the far superior vocal style of Du Cann whose vox box was tailor made for the part. At a playing time of over seven and a half minutes, the band manage to craft exquisite twists and turns in their boogie based heavy rock antics.

While the opening title track establishes ATOMIC ROOSTER as a veritable heavy rock band with a wealth of sophisticated tricks up their sleeve, the following instrumental 'VUG' on the other hand showcases their prog chops with incessant time signature deviations, exquisite instrumental interplay and a flair of musical adventurism woefully absent from the album prior that only emerged a scant few months before. While primarily a rhythmic backdrop to showcase the supreme organ dominated gymnastics, scorching guitar solos are allowed to fire away unencumbered. The riff-laden hit single 'Tomorrow Night' follows and changes gears to an almost Santana-esque percussive frenetic pace but it's the intricate guitar parts that steal the show. The track made it all the way to No. 11 on the UK charts in 1971.

The secret to DEATH WALKS BEHIND YOU's amazing popularity is the diversity of the tracks. Every single one has its own personality and sounds completely different from what it just followed. 'Seven Lonely Streets' ('7 Streets' on some albums) is the most straight forward rocker although rich with Hammond organ stabs. 'Sleeping For Years' i starts with a blistering series of guitar tricks before erupting into another organ driven heavy rocker and has a rather Jethro Tullish vocal swagger to it actually. 'I Can't Take No More' reminds me of Jeff Lynne's future ELO track 'Don't Bring Me Down' in the guitar melody department. One of the lesser tracks here. 'Nobody Else' begins with freaky vocal effects before breaking into piano ballad territory. While clearly the mellowest track on the album, it has interesting time signatures and slight pauses between the piano notes. It picks up steam in the middle as it starts to rock.

The entire album really leads up to the impressive closer 'Gershatzer' up to which the band members hold back their avant-garde urges and let em all gush out in this eight minute prog behemoth of a track. While starting out as a rather familiar organ led heavy guitar, bass and drum rocker, it quickly finds Hammond's percussive drive taking on a new energetic level as he seems like he's become a hundred times more caffeinated. Likewise, Crane finds some stellar piano shredding which turns into a series of absolutely bizarre experimental organ riffs. The track hops, skips and jumps from frenetic musical outbursts to placid calming slower piano runs. Overall the track reminds me of some of the symphonic prog that Focus would latch onto with tracks like 'Eruption' on their second album, however much weirdness occurs on this grand finale which leaves little doubt that ATOMIC ROOSTER belongs in the prog universe.

DEATH WALKS BEHIND YOU is a major step up in quality from the decent but not mind blowing debut album. The so-called classic lineup gels perfectly together as they create some of the most pleasing musical interplay within the beautifully crafted compositions. There is not a boring track on this one and if you find yourself with the re-mastered 2004 edition with bonus tracks, you'll be treated to the B-Side 'Play The Game,' the 1970 demo 'The Devil's Answer' as well asa several BBC Radio Session tracks. While the album is utterly essential and cream of the ATOMIC ROOSTER crop, these extra goodies make a great album even better. Unfortunately the quality heard on this sophomore album wouldn't last very long. While the following 'In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster' is an excellent followup, the band would fall into the mediocrity club fairly quickly. For this moment however, they crafted one of the best heavy rock albums of 1970.

4.5 but i can seem to let myself round this one up

 In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.79 | 199 ratings

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In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by Tonbridge Man

4 stars I kind of missed Atomic Rooster first time round. My pre-teen tastes at that time tended to take me more in the direction of the likes of Slade and T Rex. However I caught the revived Rooster twice on the current festival circuit with Pete French on vocals and Steve Bolton on guitar and was mightily impressed with the music on display where naturally they drew a lot on material taken from this - French's only album with the band. French himself has still got it on vocals in 2017 and his younger characterful slightly bluesy voice works well on most of the tracks on this fine 1971 outing. The only exception strangely is the single Devils Answer that can be found on some CD versions where the doomy deeper Du Cann vocals fitted the song better.

My personal favourite tracks are Break the Ice, Decision/Indecision, a spoonful of Bromide and Head in the Sky but there is no weak song here - indeed this is a good prog related album by any standard. Check it out!

 Space Cowboy by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1991
2.00 | 3 ratings

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Space Cowboy
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by martindavey87

2 stars I'd certainly never consider myself much of an Atomic Rooster fan, and only bought this album because it was 1 and I thought they'd be worth checking out. With that said, I'm actually surprised at how much I like some of the songs. Often associated with the progressive rock genre, I never figured that Atomic Rooster would sound so funky and jazzy. Very smooth indeed.

While these may not be progressive rock masterpieces, there are a few nice tunes in here which definitely make it worth the pound I spent on it. The main highlight for me being 'Stand By Me', a song which I liked immediately upon hearing it. I've also grown rather fond of 'Don't Know What Went Wrong', 'Can't Find a Reason' and 'Take One Toke'.

With this being my first exposure to Atomic Rooster, I have no idea how well these tracks hold up as representations of the band, but it's a decent enough album for me.

 Atomic Roooster by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 206 ratings

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Atomic Roooster
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by Kingsnake

3 stars Great album but not yet all that great. Somehow I will never be a great fan of Carl's sloppy drumming. That aside the vocals, the bassguitars, the hammond are all really great. Raw, pure and energetic. The songwriting is sometimes really good (Winter, Broken Wings, Friday 13th) but sometimes the band just jams away. But it was the psychedelic era, it's okay.

It's great to hear a hammond-based heavy rock group not sounding like Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. Also I really like the vocals. Really powerful and soulful. Too bad, the singer never really served in a famous band. Another thing I like about this albums is the (sparse) fluteplaying, wich sets this bands apart from other hardrockbands of this age.

 Atomic Roooster by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 206 ratings

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Atomic Roooster
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars The birth pangs of ATOMIC ROOSTER can actually be traced back all the way to the whacky 60s UK phenomenon The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown where two of the members: Vincent Crane and Carl Palmer jumped ship to have a go at their own musical visions. In the beginning they were only a trio after they recruited a third member, Nick Graham to handle bass, lead vocals, flute and additional guitars. Crane would handle organ and keyboards while Palmer cranked out the percussive drive necessary to add the harder rockin' edge. Whereas the Arthur Brown project set out to conquer the flashy entertainment world of psychedelic rock and even had a huge hit with their 1968 single "Fire," the direction of ATOMIC ROOSTER was to take a more soulful approach and desired to take the funk and soul approach of James Brown and Stevie Wonder and marry it with the dynamic instrumental workouts of British progressive rock that was its infancy big bang phase at the time.

The trio didn't waste any time releasing their first album titled ATOMIC ROOOSTER (not eponymous, has 3 o's and also spelled RO-O- OSTER on later CD reissues) in 1970 with that famous ridiculous cover of a green eagle with a rooster head with voluptuous female milkers drooping down in the midst of a cube with a purple shadow next to a chair. The cover art ranks high on my WTF list! Soon after this was released, Nick Graham whose vocals grace this album would jump ship and John Du Cann would replace him and then overdub three tracks for a slightly different US release (bonus tracks on the expanded CD version and quite well done). ATOMIC ROOOSTER, the album kicks things off with the hard rockin' "Friday The Thirteenth" which joins the ranks of a number of harder rockin' bands marry some heaviness with the keyboard rich proto-prog that was oozing out of the late 60s music scene.

While not totally unlike bands like Deep Purple, it is apparent that the ROOSTER was cock-a-doodling some funk and soul in its mix and focuses on heavy grooves, more soulful vocals as well as the Hammond rich organ runs and hard percussive drumming drive that Carl Palmer was delivering quite skillfully even at this stage of his career. Many of the tracks on this album follow suit with the same exact formula that deftly mixes the soulful grooves with the harder edged prog elements which was Crane's main style of songwriting who was the main songwriter for this album. The one track "Broken Wing's" which is a John Mayall cover sounds rather out of place in comparison despite Palmer's best efforts to give it a percussive backbone clearly demonstrating Crane's different approach to songwriting.

Despite the efforts of fusing British prog with American soul and funk, this debut release still sounds a little devoid of a completely successfully fusion of the disparate styles and feels much more firmly rooted in the late 60s psychedelic scene than the progressive 70s. The keyboard rich rhythms are a dead giveaway and make this release sound a bit dated in not only its style but its delivery which has hints of Procol Harum, Deep Purple and of course, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Graham's vocal abilities are a point of contention for me as well. While he successfully gets the job done by hitting the correct notes and emphasizes dramatic phrases that serve to heighten the musical tension, my main problem is that his range is a little limited and the music would have been more animated with a slightly more gifted vox box. While ATOMIC ROOSTER yielded some decent fruit on their freshman effort, it would be eclipsed by the lineup change and release of their second album "Death Walks Behind You." Album number is chock full of nice pleasant late 60s sounding chops, rhythms and keyboard fantasies but doesn't quite make the highly essential list for me.

If you're going get this one you should really be sure to get the 2004 Castle Music CD reissue that contains the three overdubbed versions of "Friday The 13th," "Before Tomorrow" and "S.L.Y." with Du Cann on guitar and vocals. The comparison between the originals and redubs are astounding as it was fortuitous that Graham moved on to let a more talented vocalist take the reins. Also included are two equally better live versions at the BBC Radio Session in 1970. The bonus tracks make this a much better album than it would be otherwise but of course my rating is for the original release.

3.5 rounded down like those mammories on the cover :P

 BBC Radio 1 in Concert by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Live, 1993
3.88 | 11 ratings

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BBC Radio 1 in Concert
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Being a big Atomic Rooster fan, I was naturally very excited to find out about this album. BBC Radio 1 in Concert perfectly presents the live energy that the band had. With a new guitarist, Steve Bolton, and a new vocalist, Chirs Farlowe (previously of Colosseum), Atomic Rooster were ready to conquer new territories. This is actually my favorite period of the band's career - just after In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster, but with Chris Farlowe onboard. Most of the material comes from the previously mentioned album, but one or two songs are from their proto-metal album, Death Walks Behind You. A really great album and highly recommended for any fan of heavy prog! However, if you would wish to get a real feel for Atomic Rooster's live performance, I would recommend their Beat Club recordings from the same year.
 In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.79 | 199 ratings

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In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Atomic Rooster always remained a second league act. However, the band has many personel's links to other progressive rock outfits due to various line-up changes. In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster is the group's most representative album at their peek. The organ-driven, bass-less quartet seems to estrange the heavy proto-metal methods of their previous work Death Walks Behind You. Instead, Atomic Rooster incorporates a funkier and jazzier feel to their material.

The album opener "Breakthrough" is in my book one of the best from the band. What I like is that the main keyboard riff is not used as an opener. Inteligently, the band uses it in the middle of the song as a sort of musical climax, therefore letting the song to build up. Compared to their previous release, John Cann's guitar tone is much mellower and not so heavy. The guitarist's playing seems to be a lot "tastier", even though he doesn't get as many solo parts. "A Spoonful Of Bromide Helps The Pulse Rate Go Down" is another favorite of mine. It's nothing more than a psychedelic vamp on one or two chords, but it has a really interesting and elegant mood to it. "Black Snake" is a slow progressive blues rock number, if you will, which again showcases Vincent Crane's phenomenal virtuosity. Pete French has a fantastic voice and writes great lyrics. Paul Hammond skillfully puts great rhythm foundation for the band with his drumming.

All in all, In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster is an essential heavy prog album and in my opinion Atomic Rooster's strongest effort. Needless to say, In Hearind belongs in every Atomic Rooster fan's collection and is a great way to get into the band's music. Perhaps not a five-star album itself, but I feel like four stars would be a tad too low and a bit inadequate, as it is the best work of the band, which was a great band. Nontheless, highly recommended!

 In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.79 | 199 ratings

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In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by PoolmanProgger

4 stars Re-Posting of a review I published as CheapPurple on Sputnik Music, slightly edited:

Review Summary: Atomic Rooster's last great album, the band tapers their sound quite a bit, but still manages to pack a punch and make a dent in the emerging heavy prog scene of the early-70s.

After the success of Death Walks Behind You, an appearance on Top of the Pops, a successful tour, and the following non-album single "Devil's Answer", which charted at #4 in the UK, it was time for emerging stars Atomic Rooster to record their third album. Although guitarist John Du Cann sang vocals on Death Walks Behind You, band leader Vincent Crane was unsatisfied with Du Cann's singing chops, and wanted to hire a singer who could "project" to the audience. After the recording of all the other instruments had taken place and were to Crane's satisfaction, Crane asked Leaf Hound vocalist Pete French to re-record the vocals. At that point, it is unclear whether Du Cann left or Crane fired him, but Crane and Du Cann were already at wit's end with each other over how the previous album was mixed and the resulting infighting during their tour of that album; while Crane wanted the band to lean toward a more progressive sound, Du Cann wanted to create a sound based around aggressive guitar playing. In either case, Du Cann had recruited drummer Paul Hammond to his side, and the two left Atomic Rooster to form the band that would later be known as Hard Stuff. Now with only two members, Crane had complete control of what the new album would sound like. Consequently, he toned John Du Cann's guitar down - way down - and the result is an album which is much more inclined toward funk and soul than John Du Cann ever would have tolerated. Atomic Rooster's third album, In Hearing of Atomic Rooster was released in August of 1971, and the album peaked at #18 in the UK. Vincent Crane, with his new hand-picked group of Pete French on vocals, Steve Bolton on guitar and Ric Parnell on drums, then launched into an extensive international tour.

The first track on In Hearing of Atomic Rooster is Breakthrough, a nice track that starts with a thumping bass line and adds a gentle piano with a textured guitar, which makes for a good sound. Right off the bat, the listener can hear two major departures. First of all, the guitar is very mellow, much unlike the aggressive guitar playing heard on the group's previous album. Second, and probably for the better of your ear drums, Vincent Crane's organ is very subdued. We also hear Pete French's vocals for the first time on this track. While John Du Cann's vocals were very haunting, French's are much more soulful, and more fitting to the softer sound of this album. While "Breakthrough" is a good song, it lacks the spontaneity of the previous album, and that's a trend that is found on most of the album's songs. "Breakthrough"'s lyrics deal with feelings of entrapment and a wanting to break free, and it seems like this track wants to do the same. Alas, it never does.

On the next track, Break the Ice, we finally hear John Du Cann's guitar break out of its shell, if only briefly. Crane's organ also plays a bigger role on this song, but it doesn't dominate the other instruments as it had a tendency to do on the previous album, which is a good thing. The guitar, drums and organ play very well together on this song, and the music is paired with excellent vocals from Mr. French. The guitar solo at the end is a great touch, but the effects of Vincent Crane's meddling with the guitar mix can be heard as this track slowly fades out. The next track, Decision/Indecision is a lovely piano driven ballad with soulful crooning from Mr. French and excellent drumming. If Elton John sang this, it probably would have been a charting single. But there's one thing missing; do you know what it is? John Du Cann's guitar, of course! It seems to me that a great guitar track would have added a little more texture to this otherwise great ballad, and perhaps there was one at one point, only to be axed by Vincent Crane. If there was, we'll never know; dead men tell no tales.

The organ festival that is A Spoonful of Bromide Helps the Pulse Rate Go Down rounds out Side 1, and what a track! The track opens with a drum solo by Paul Hammond, followed by organ and guitar. Unlike the instrumentals on the previous album, the guitar and organ complement each other quite nicely on this track, playing nice instead of going at each other's throats. No wanky drum solos by Mr. Hammond this time around, his drumming is all business and makes for a more consistent instrumental. However, things never get out of control, which is what you always hope for on an instrumental, so this instrumental lacks the excitement of the instrumentals on the previous album. If there's one thing you can take from this track though, it's that your heart rate will definitely not go down!

Side 2 opens with Black Snake, the longest song of the side, and probably the most boring. Driven by a slow drum beat and organ, "Black Snake" never picks up the pace and slows down the album considerably. Vincent Crane himself lends vocals to this one, and his vocal style isn't half bad. It actually adds to the song rather than detracting from it. If you were bored to death with that song, not to worry! The next track, Head in the Sky, is easily the best on the album. Compared with the tightness and lack of spontaneity on most of the album's tracks, "Head in the Sky" really stands out as a fresh breath of creativity. The thumping bass and guitar pair nicely with the excellent drums and Crane's organ solo in the middle of the song. The guitar solo in this song is an album highlight. The most straight-forward rocker on the album, "Head in the Sky" is definitely the gem of this album and one of Atomic Rooster's career highlights.

Although the band's funk influences wouldn't completely creep in until Atomic Rooster's next album, Made In England, they can first be heard on the second instrumental of the album, The Rock. "The Rock" opens with a funky blend of bass, drums and horns - James Brown would be proud. While this funky track is interesting, you realize that it's not what you signed up for, and just when you're about ready to skip - Wham! - you get hit with a guitar solo that breathes life into the song, and then Vincent Crane's organ takes over. An organ solo ensues, but one that's slow and fits the track's funky rhythm, a huge contrast from the 100-mph organ solos of the previous album. This funky track is a precursor to the Rooster's future albums, and the band veered away from its signature heavy prog sound. The album closes out with The Price, a Gentle Giant sounding track with fast drumming and underlying organ work. The lyrics and sound are very dark, as In Hearing of Atomic Rooster ends much like Death Walks Behind You began, and puts a fitting bow on the high point of Atomic Rooster's career.

After the quintessential heavy prog masterpiece of Death Walks Behind You, Atomic Rooster looked to be on the verge of stardom as heavy metal pioneers. However, infighting between Vincent Crane and John Du Cann led to a drastic change in the band's sound, as songs with aggressive guitar and organ playing made way for the more soulful and funky approach that Vincent Crane had always wanted. Although not up to the 'classic' status that its predecessor attained, In Hearing of Atomic Rooster is a very enjoyable album for both prog and hard rock fans, and probably the last Atomic Rooster album to make an impact on the emerging heavy prog scene; up-and-coming bands like Uriah Heep, Hawkwind and Gentle Giant would soon command more attention. However, the influence of In Hearing Of can be heard in those band's music, as well as millenial bands such as Wolfmother. Atomic Rooster will always have a place in the development of heavy metal.

 Death Walks Behind You by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.85 | 294 ratings

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Death Walks Behind You
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by PoolmanProgger

5 stars A re-posting of a review I published as "CheapPurple" on Sputnik Music, slightly edited:

Review Summary: In one's search for the beginnings of prog and heavy metal, your quest will inevitably lead you here.

In 1969, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was at the peak of its international popularity, largely due to the controversial antics of the group's said front man, Arthur Brown. The attention Brown was getting caused grumblings among the other group members, who felt they weren't receiving enough attention for their musical abilities. Thus, the group splintered, and in late-'69, ex-Arthur Brown bandmates Vincent Crane, Carl Palmer (of later Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame) and Nick Graham formed Atomic Rooster. The group released their first record in February of 1970, but due to Nick Graham's departure soon after it's UK release, guitarist and vocalist John Du Cann was brought in to overdub the album; thus, there wasn't enough room in the budget to release the album in the US. Following the ensuing tour in support of their debut album, Carl Palmer also left the band. The band recruited Paul Hammond as their drummer, and in August of 1970, Atomic Rooster went into the studio to record their second album, and their US debut.

Personnel Vincent Crane: Hammond organ, piano, backing vocals John Du Cann: Guitars, Vocals Paul Hammond: Drums, percussion

Death Walks Behind You opens up with the galloping title track, a spooky track you do not want to be listening to on a cold, rainy night. In 1970, doom metal was in its infancy, and "Death Walks Behind You" was an early classic in the genre, a freakish thing of beauty and a hint that Atomic Rooster was on the verge of creating something dazzling. Although the rest of the album would not match the heaviness and eeriness of the title track, the album would be heavy enough as a whole to inspire future groups who'd become giants of the heavy metal genre, such as Iron Maiden and Megadeth. Though the album is more progressive rock in nature - I mean, come on, that organ is deafening at times - the album's beauty lies in its heaviness. Along with Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster became pioneers in heavy prog with the release of this album, forever changing the prog-rock landscape.

The lone single from the album, "Tomorrow Night", got enough recognition to achieve Top 20 radio airplay in the group's native UK, but the album was largely ignored in the US. Another early heavy prog classic, "Tomorrow Night" was one of the scariest love songs unleashed on the British charts at the time, with an extended ending that descends into chaos, a terrifying yet fantastic bridge into "7 Streets", a track which is equally chaotic with Du Cann's blazing guitar competing with Vincent Crane's organ for attention. In fact, Du Cann and Crane seem to be competing throughout the whole album, as also evidenced on "Sleeping For Years" as well as the two instrumental pieces, "Vug" and "Gershatzer". In these two pieces, especially in the latter, drummer Paul Hammond, who does a fantastic job pounding the skins on this album, despite being the third wheel, finally gets his spotlight, and does a passable job, although the organ/percussion duet on "Gershatzer" gets a little painful toward the end, but hey, it's 1970, when annoying drum and organ solos came standard. Other than the final two-and-a-half minutes of "Gershatzer" there is no low point on this album.

If you can't hear the bass on this album, that's because Vincent Crane played all the bass parts on his organ, much like Ray Manzarek. While the bass is pretty mute on this album, probably the song where it plays the biggest role is "I Can't Take No More", a groovy rocker that is probably the least prog-influenced track on the record. "I Can't Take No More" is followed by the fantastic "Nobody Else", which begins with weird irritating chanting, but then introduces a jazzy and relaxed piano theme. The only song on the album that can be called a ballad, "Nobody Else" is a great mood piece that slows down the record, and is definitely the highlight of Side 2 of the record. However, midway through the track, the drums and guitar pick up the pace significantly, creating a powerful rock passage that very nicely picks up the pace of the remainder of the album. In actuality, "Nobody Else" is two songs in one - part relaxing ballad, part uptempo prog-rocker, and a real treat to anybody who listens to it, one of the gems of this fantastic album.

While Death Walks Behind You will not blow you away with its elite musicianship or fairy-tale lyrics, the record definitely holds a place in the prog-rock masterpiece catalog, as well as one of the early pillars of the heavy metal genre. With their unique approach to progressive rock, Atomic Rooster was able to create a satisfying record that truly sounded unique compared to the sounds of their peers. For fans of dark, pessimistic music, as well as fans of raw, vintage organs (trust me, there's a LOT of that on this album), this is a must-have album, as well as a must-listen for those who are interested in the development of heavy prog and heavy metal.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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