Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

WELCOME

Symphonic Prog • Switzerland


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Welcome picture
Welcome biography
Founded in Basel, Switzerland in 1975 - Disbanded in 1981

The members of WELCOME recorded their debut album in 1975 at Aquarius Studios in Geneva on the EMI/Swiss label to modest reception. The young trio embarked upon a small series of live shows in an attempt to promote the record, but lagging sales and lack of publicity led to the departure of bassist Francis Yost, who was replaced by Helmi Erdinger around the time of the band's second and final release, "You're Welcome".

The band reportedly recorded a third album in the late seventies with a lineup that included only Tommy Stebel from the original members, but this was never released. The band disbanded in 1981, and there is no record of the members pursuing their musical careers beyond that point.

WELCOME's music is distinctly in the vein of the early seventies, owing much of their sound to YES ala "Relayer". The production quality of their studio releases is rather uneven, and is characterized by sometimes wavering harmony vocals, heavy mellotron and Hammond, and rather sparse guitar work. The band appears to have moved toward a more commercial sound with their second release, although this album has yet to be reissued on CD and is difficult to find today.

WELCOME deserve a place in progressive history for their derivative but well-meaning sound, and for their semi-legendary though sparse history.

Bob Moore (ClemofNazareth)

WELCOME forum topics / tours, shows & news


WELCOME forum topics Create a topic now
WELCOME tours, shows & news Post an entries now

WELCOME Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to WELCOME

Buy WELCOME Music



More places to buy WELCOME music online

WELCOME discography


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

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

3.32 | 33 ratings
Welcome
1976
2.64 | 14 ratings
You're Welcome
1979

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

WELCOME Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

WELCOME Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 You're Welcome by WELCOME album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.64 | 14 ratings

BUY
You're Welcome
Welcome Symphonic Prog

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

2 stars Bands from the 1970s never could've predicted how impossible it would be someday to find anything about them several decades down the road on a search engine due to their generic sounding moniker and even worse album title but i digress before i even begin! Mostly forgotten in the annals of time due to the fact they were dissed as nothing more than a Yes clone, the Swiss band WELCOME created two albums in the latter half of the 1970s before disbanding in 1981. The band's debut WECOME came out in 1976 and this second and last album YOU'RE WELCOME didn't arrive for three more years in 1979.

The self-titled debut basically borrowed all those excellent Yes styles from their early period ranging from "The Yes Album" roughly to "Tales From Topographic Oceans." The band was a mere trio that consisted Tommy Stebel (percussion, acoustic guitar, tubular bells, vocals), Bernie Krauer (electric & grand pianos, organ Mini Moog, Mellotron, vocals ) and Francis Jost (bass, electric & acoustic guitars, tuba, vocals) but managed to sound like a full band in the studio at least. While the debut was quite an interesting display of rearranging classic Yes grooves, riffs and melodies from the early 70s period, on the band's sophomore album YOU'RE WELCOME got toned down a bit sounding more like a watered down version of "Tormato."

Like the debut, YOU'RE WELCOME featured five tracks with a massive sprawling closer that went over 13 minutes and in this case the track "The Whip" squeaked past 17. There was a big difference between 1976 and 1979 in the prog world. Prog was already on a serious decline but some bands managed to convince record labels to release highly complex and creative albums still. However by 1979 the music industry pretty much dropped prog altogether and even the big ticket bands had simplified their style to either fit in the molds of hard rock, AOR or pop. WELCOME was no exception and although this second release is still at the altar of Yes worship, it is a major step down from the decent debut. This one sounds like it has real electric guitar sounds but there are no sources as to who plays what on this one.

Basically everything that made early Yes sound distinct, WELCOME exhibited on its debut which included Squire patented bass grooves, Wakeman fueled keyboards runs and of course those classic vocal harmonies that were quite ubiquitous on "The Yes Album" and "Fragile." The band was also quite creative in its reinterpreted arrangements of the classic Yes sounds and the whole experience is something like listening to a Yes album from another dimension or something. It's like the forgotten album that fell between the cracks however YOU'RE WELCOME is mostly a forgettable prog lite sort of album where everything had been watered down a few notches often sounding like Yes doing a bad job at imitating early Supertramp!

The first four tracks are pretty limp and flounder along like fish flapping on the ground out of water. A big snooze-fest for sure. The tracks still very much sound like Yes but the worst Yes possible as it somehow WELCOME predicted the crap Yes would crank out in the 21st century! The only redeeming track happens to be the 17-minute "The Whip" which also swallows half of the album's length however even this track is more standard and less progressive with the obvious signs of new wave and disco lurking beneath the surface. While not as interesting as anything from the debut album at least the final track goes through various movements and justifies its running time but it was obvious that this band clearly wore out its WELCOME and has been relegated to the forgotten zone if anybody was listening in the first place. Really this band is only worth checking out the debut album. This one is pretty meh but is worth a listen if only for the one true proggy track.

2.5 rounded down

 Welcome by WELCOME album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.32 | 33 ratings

BUY
Welcome
Welcome Symphonic Prog

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

3 stars Along with Starcastle, the Swiss band WELCOME from Basel was probably the closest thing to a total Yes clone that existed in the 1970s prog scene. This band formed in 1975 and decided to pick up the jettisoned sounds of Yes' early album styles ranging from 'The Yes Album' and 'Fragile' to 'Close To The Edge' and even 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' without taking things to that level of complexity. This quirky derivative band may not have been the least bit original but surprisingly captured the essence of Yes' early 70s run and the most shocking thing about it was that this self-titled debut did it with only the three members of Tommy Stebel (percussion, acoustic guitar, tubular bells, vocals), Bernie Krauer (electric & grand pianos, organ Mini Moog, Mellotron, vocals ) and Francis Jost (bass, electric & acoustic guitars, tuba, vocals).

The band existed for six years before breaking up in 1981 and released two albums. This eponymous debut and a sophomore album titled 'You're Welcome.' Yeah, the band name is about as uninspiring as Yes' moniker itself and the album titles even more atrocious but what is quite surprising is that the music is actually quite good although you may think this was some sort of lost sessions of Yes itself during 'The Yes Album' era. Nope. It wasn't. This is a trio of Swiss Yes worshippers displaying their love of their favorite band. Despite the fact there is no real guitarist other than accent guitar strumming, the results turned out better than anyone could expect mostly because of WELCOME's reinterpretations of famous Yes riffs and themes such as vocal harmonies that permeate this album in abundance.

The album is also quite rich in organs, pianos and mellotron. The band had a firm command of the symphonic prog sound and had a great sense of style that had they chosen NOT to borrow the vocal styles and Squire mimicking bass grooves, might have bumped into a style of their own. While my reaction to such bands is always with apprehension as i find derivative bands to be more nauseating than pleasant, i have to say that this was a WELCOME surprise in how well these three guys pull off five super proggy tracks with two just shy of the 9-minute mark and the sprawling closer 'Dirge' clocking in at 12 1/2. This is definitely one for those who have drenched their reality in Yes music so much that they are looking for other bands that adopted their signature sounds in order to satisfy that addiction.

WELCOME is laced with stellar keyboard workouts sounding very much like Rick Wakeman and the bass is a dead ringer for Chris Squire. Add to that the beautiful vocal harmonies that sound as if 'I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People' had been vivisected manyfold and reconstituted in every possible way and then rerecorded in the studio. The problem of course is that as a mere trio the album sounds a bit incomplete no matter how wonderful and catchy the actual tunes are. Had the band added a couple more members this could have been of equal caliber of the early Yes canon save the total lack of self identity of course. By the time WELCOME released this debut in 1976, Yes itself had moved well beyond its 1971 album style culminating with the brilliant 'Relayer' in 1974 so like Starcastle, WELCOME figured why the heck not just adopt the orphan sound laying dormant in history.

This is an extremely pleasant album to check out and although WELCOME will never replace the true heroes of prog, their arrangements were quite excellent as they mined the early Yes catalogue for as many classic grooves, riffs and melodies as possible. There are many moments that you can tell exactly which song was mined and others that are actually quite brilliant that Yes SHOULD have thought of themselves but overall this is more derivative than not however it was probably too soon to pay tribute to an active band's history a mere five years after Yes invented these sounds. For what it is, it's quite excellent but what it is, is of course the ultimate clone of Yes right on par with Starcastle therefore very good but not really an essential album.

3.5 rounded down

 Welcome by WELCOME album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.32 | 33 ratings

BUY
Welcome
Welcome Symphonic Prog

Review by Hrychu

4 stars Where's gone the fragrancy of the fields after a heavy rain?

The Swiss group Welcome's debut is a very bizarre blend of things that work and things that don't in a very very charming way that just can't be matched. But it is certainly one heck of a Symphonic ride. It's Symphonic Rock up to 11.

Many have compared the sound of the band to Yes, especially the early albums, but IMO the sound is way more Emerson-esque with a touch of England. But I guess Welcome are not focusing too much of being a pastiche of any particular band but more of something that is trying to blend a numerous influences into one consistent sound. I like it.

The vocal department here does remind me of You by My Side by Chris Squire, all the way from the high strained harmonies to the accent and color of the voices, which is probably where the associations with Yes are coming from. Except the vocals here are way more oddballish. They're surprisingly not too heavily accented which is a good thing. However, the harmonies sound sorta off when the band tries to layer like 6 voices on top of another (Dirge) or do crazy sea monster voices (Dizzy Tune). The songs, which to me sound the best vocally are the little cute folksy tune Glory with its acoustic pastoral feel and Chain of Days, where Bernie Krauer's (or is it Tommy Sterbel?) vocals are mixed in quite loud so that the main melody line is strong enough to provide an anchor point for the listener.

The instrument that suddenly catches our ears is the Bernie Krauer's Hammond organ that, on this album provides a surprisingly wide array of colors. From lush chords to little stabby sounds. Also, in the keyboardland, we have the Moog/ARP synth that is used for tastefully put together solos and the good ol' M400, used in combination with the piano/organ to add in I guess more colors to the sound (great Flutes on Dirge and sweet violins on Glory). It's a pretty standard Symphonic Rock rig, which simply just works. It's solid and it does the job. Today it might sound a little bit dated maybe.

On the rhythm section, we have Tommy Strebel and Francis Jost doing the drums and bass, occasionally overdubbing some acoustic guitars. The plectrum bass playing on this album is quite good but not too flashy or virtuosic. The drums are played with a lot of oomph and groove but I wouldn't call them killer either. Sometimes the fills are a little sloppy (Dizzy Tune, Dirge) or the rudiments seem kinda uncontrolled (The Rag-Fair). The odd thing is that if you think about it the acoustic guitar work form these two gentlemen is much better than their rhythm section playing. xD They should've sticked to the folk format (Glory) for the entire album. Haha.

And that's Welcome by Welcome. An album with intricate hit or miss vocal harmonies that seems kinda lacking in the drums/bass sections. Despite that, the lush keyboards provide a purely classic prog sound and overall there's this aura of naivety that to me sounds very cool. If ELP and England or even Chris Squire's solo album are your thing and you don't mind another old school prog band that turns the Symphonic level to the max, you should check this one out.

 You're Welcome by WELCOME album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.64 | 14 ratings

BUY
You're Welcome
Welcome Symphonic Prog

Review by Harold Needle

3 stars [3 - 3,5 stars]

Well, this album is a mixed bag, that's for sure. The final track - 17 minutes long "The Whip" is clearly the best track in band's catalogue, being a very good 70's symphonic rock epic with some nice variations in sound and style. As for the rest... well, I'd say the rest of the album is nothing more than a bunch of okay songs. Some nice synths here and there, some pleasant acoustic guitars. The themes and lyrics are actually quite cheesy though (what do you expect from titles like "Music Is Life" or "Join the Party", really?).

In comparison to the excellent debut, side A is definitely a huge stepback. However, side B contains a great suite, which will please any classic 70's prog rock freak. It all sums up to an average rating. Definitely check out "The Whip" if you enjoyed the first album.

 Welcome by WELCOME album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.32 | 33 ratings

BUY
Welcome
Welcome Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars This is the debut album from a kind of charming (and obscure) Swiss symphonic trio from the seventies. I doubt if you can find the original vinyl release anywhere, but some just as obscure Swiss label (Black Rills) reissued it on CD about a decade ago, and those copies are floating around and can pretty easily.

I can hear some of the harmonic vocals of Crosby, Stills & Nash, as well as the meandering instrumental transitions that distinguished early ELP on this album; but even beyond that the influence of Yes is both heavy and undeniable. Keyboardist Bernie Krauer must have committed ‘Fragile’ and even the back side of ‘Relayer’ to memory; either that or he was channeling the still-alive Rick Wakeman on this album because the resemblance is actually uncanny. All three of these guys sing, but the combined effect takes on a Jon Anderson/Wakeman feel to it as well. Apparently all of them play guitar at various times too, but none of them sounds anything like Steve Howe, and at times that seems to be the only difference.

The opening track “The Rag Fair” starts off like a Head East power-chord tune, but quickly evolves into the complex, stilted organ/keyboard sounds that typified most of ‘Fragile’. Really, were it not for the fact that the guitars are only average and the keyboards are not insanely complex, I would swear this was a ‘lost’ Yes track. Even the vocals sound like the B-side for a “Gates of Delirium” single (man, and that would be a really big single, more like an EP really). This is so blatantly derivative that I can’t even really get upset – I’m more impressed that a group of unknown musicians from the land of the Alps managed to pull off such a flawless imitation.

More of the same on “Dizzy Tune”, which kicks off much the same as the previous track, but also manages to add some pretty wicked bass and even more pronounced organ. Here the vocals get kind of weird for a while, more like Gong around the same time with some half-spoken, half-sung, half-mad gibberish. But this finally gives way to an excellent keyboard/bass instrumental passage that manages to sound both Yes-like and still a bit original. I will say that the drums are fairly tepid here. Although they blend fairly well on the rest of the album, this is definitely the weakest link in the trio.

“Glory” starts to take on more of an ELP feel, more expansive and less grandiose and affected. The vocals would have worked on just about any pre-1974 CSN album just as well as they do here, with great harmonizing and impeccable timing. The acoustic guitar work adds to the CSN-like mood, and musically I think this is the strongest track on the album with its slightly folkish feel and flutish mellotron.

The organ gets heavy again on “Chain of Days” before giving way to a funky keyboard riff that blends well with what sounds like a single electric guitar. Vocally this is another ‘lost’ Yes tune circa about 1973, with harmonized chanting about greeting the day and enjoying the flowers, or something like that. It’s a bit hard to follow the lyrics on this album, but they aren’t all that important anyway. Hmmm, kind of like those same Yes albums that they are parroting.

Finally comes the ‘epic’, yet another nod to the early Yes albums. The twelve-minute plus “Dirge” throws in all the hardware; organ, mellotron, piano, electric and acoustic guitar, subdued drums, and an almost invisible bass plus lots and lots of three-part harmonies with a decidedly affected accent that sounds more Celtic than Swiss. Finally the guitar plays a major role with an extensive meandering solo that fills the middle part of the lengthy arrangement. After another extended tempo change comprised mostly of whining organ, the band builds up to something of a climax before disappearing behind a single whistling minstrel. A classic seventies ending.

This isn’t a masterpiece, or even essential by any means, but it is a very good representation of the early seventies symphonic sounds that came out of Europe. While the influences are undeniable and sometimes overpowering, the arrangements are decently laid out and played with precision. The recording quality is a bit uneven, but not bad at all considering their date and dubious production. This seems like a quintessential three star album, so that’s what I’ll give it.

peace

 Welcome by WELCOME album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.32 | 33 ratings

BUY
Welcome
Welcome Symphonic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars With their epnymous debut effort, Welcome brought a very interesting input to the Swiss prog scene. Despite its formal power-trio structure, the band's sound is so more closely related to early Yes (from "Yes" to "The Yes Album") and "Remember the Future"-era Nektar, as well as the the semir-ough melodic approach of classic Novalis and Grobschnitt. The main melodic responsibilities rest on the shoulders of keyboardsman Bernie Krauer, who alternates effective leads on organ and Moog synthesizer with attractive mellotron layers that bear the usual orchestral feel that comes to be one of the essential ingredients of standardized symphonic prog. Meanwhile, bassit Jost very much emulates the vintage Chris Squire vibe while his rhythm partner Stebel develops a drumming style in the vein of Alan White's dynamics. All in all, this band does not display ceaseless pyrotechnics, which means that the core compositions are kept within a moderate use of bombastic elaboration. Welcome certainly does not hide its major influences, choosing to welcome them explicitly and organize the musical ideas around them. The vocal department is also very relevant in the band's overall sound, since there is no lead vocalist in Welcome: all vocals are delivered in harmonies that display the singing lines. All in all, the singing interventions complete the easy-going spirit of the repertoire. Since the drummer and the bassist share acoustic guitar duties, it is no surpirse that they appear in many passages of the album: strumming sections appear as an addition to mellotron layers or even dominate the bucolic ballad 'Glory'. The first two tracks display accurate examples of what the band intends to offer to the prog friendly listener. Particularly, 'Dizzy Tune' benefits from the presence of sinister undertones in the track's central jamming. IMHO, the second half of the album is its best part. 'Chain of Days' and 'Dirge' comprise the most appealing musical ideas and the most accomplished use of mood shifts. The latter includes a very pretty guitar solo, as well as some of the most energetic manifestations of Hammond organ and synthesizer. 'Dirge' is the most epic-oriented track in the album, even showing a somber side that is not in itself very usual. Jost displays a very effective guitar solo whose moderate length reveals a sense of pwer that until then he had only shown on his mostly fuzzed bass guitar - good for him! This record is not likely to particularly impress the demanding prog listener, but it sure will be a pleasant discovery for those collectors who just can't get enough of the stylish beauty inhenert to symphonic prog. "Welcome" is a very good album, indeed.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.