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WALLENSTEIN

Symphonic Prog • Germany


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Wallenstein biography
WALLENSTEIN were a band that transcended a number of musical styles during their decade-plus of existence, from early krautrock to symphonic to space rock toward the end of their existence.

WALLENSTEIN's original lineup was centered around keyboardist/vocalist Jürgen Dollase and drummer Harald Großkopf, both of whom would go on to make names even bigger for themselves in the German music business (Dollase with THE COSMIC JOKERS and Großkopf as a founding member of ASHRA and later the CENTRAL EUROPE PERFORMANCE). The band was originally named BLITZKRIEG, but as they readied their first studio release the band discovered a prior band with that name so changed theirs and retained 'Blitzkrieg' as the title of that first album.

Großkopf would leave the band following the 1975 release of "Stories, Songs & Symphonies", and was replaced by former ZOPPO TRUMP drummer Nicky Gebhard. This began a stretch of several lineup changes in the band, including the Genhard's replacement of Charly Terstappen, who would himself move on as a member of the skirt band THE LORDS; the addition of Achim Reiser on violin and Dollase's brother Rolf on flute; Jürgen PLuta on bass; and Gerb Klocker on guitar.

The band's sound evolved from a straightforward kraut sound into a harder style reminiscent of AMON DÜÜL II or CAN, heavier on screaming guitar and piano with only sporadic mellotron for accent, and with the addition of violin and flute the band would adapt a truly symphonic sound for their later releases.

By the close of the seventies only Jürgen Dollase remained from the original lineup, and the band faded into oblivion following the 1981 release of "Ssssssstop!".

WALLENSTEIN are legitimate entrants into the progressive archives for their place in krautrock music history, and for the long list of memorable albums they left behind.

Bob Moore (ClemofNazareth)

Wallenstein official website

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Dohnanyi "Suite In F Sharp Minor" 1949 Decca 10" LP/ Alfred Wallenstein/ LA Orch US $4.99 [0 bids]
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WALLENSTEIN discography


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

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

3.76 | 71 ratings
Blitzkrieg
1971
3.30 | 42 ratings
Mother Universe
1972
3.53 | 50 ratings
Cosmic Century
1973
3.06 | 30 ratings
Stories, songs & symphonies
1975
3.20 | 15 ratings
No More Love
1977
2.16 | 11 ratings
Charline
1978
1.40 | 5 ratings
Blue Eyed Boys
1979
1.50 | 6 ratings
Fraüleins
1980
1.40 | 5 ratings
Ssssssstop!
1981

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

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WALLENSTEIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cosmic Century by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.53 | 50 ratings

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Cosmic Century
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars At the fall of 72' Berkers left Wallenstein and recorded his own, Folk-oriented album ''Unterwegs'' on Pilz with the support of Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser.He went insane during the recordings and his parents moved him to a psychiatric hospital.He died prematurely in 1988 due to cocaine overdose.Back to Wallenstein, now Kaiser decided that it would be good for the band to record an album along the lines of The Cosmic Jokers, a Kraut/Kosmische Rock band, in which both Dollase and Grosskopf were involved since 1973, playing alongside Klaus Schulze.New bassist Dieter Meier was recruited and they added also violin player Joachim Reiser in the line-up.Kaiser moved the band to his own Kosmische Musik label and the album ''Cosmic century'' was released in 1973.

I fail to detect the cosmic feeling of the album, instead I can see a band slowly moving away from the combination of Kraut and Symphonic Rock stylings for a more conventional Symphonic Rock sound akin to PELL MELL, as detected in the 21-min., 3-part epic opener ''The symphonic rock orchestra''.Wallenstein's sound had become soft, refined and polished with lots of piano interludes/preludes and the dominant presence of Reiser on Classical-based violin runs.They still retained some of the classic KING CRIMSON elements in the smoother lines, featuring melancholic singing and orchestral keyboards, the rest of the track following the typical Teutonic side of Symphonic Rock with some interesting guitar moves, tons of acoustic piano and a few impressive rhythms.There are plenty of good interplays with Reiser's violins and the only thing resembling a bit to a cosmic atmosphere is a good bunch of experimental synth flashes.Maybe the flipside contained some surprises for the audience of deep, Kraut/Electronic Music, but soon things will dissapoint anyone expecting such leanings.In fact the music is still grounded in lush Symphonic Rock arrangements with a combination of laid-back and bombastic, Teutonic-styled textures with full-blown keyboards, piano and guitars and less emphasis on Reiser's violin work.''The cosmic couriers meet South Philly Willy'', a title which points to something extremely Kraut-ish, even contains some rockin' guitar leads out of the progressive prespective and has a nice, early-70's psychedelic vibe along with a touch of Jazz-Fusion in the jamming intrerplays.

So no Kosmische Rock in here, this is cool Symphonic Rock in the vein of PELL MELL, missing something from Wallenstein's early character, but offering some nice and well-crafted prog arrangements.Recommended.

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 No More Love by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.20 | 15 ratings

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No More Love
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars Wallenstein from Viersen and Mönschengladbach in Nordrhein-Westphalen, Germany made nine studio albums between 1971 and 1981 and the kept up a high tempo of producing music. "No More Love" from 1977 is the band's fifth album, made two years after their last record "Stories, songs & symphonies" in 1975. The cover picture of "No more love" doesn't look like ordinary prog albums and some of you would probably fear the music would take an inappropriate step towards pop music. I can gladly say that is not what happens here! The cover picture has two figures, a man and a woman without sexes and looking like barbie dolls. Otherwise the cover is very white.

Jurgen Dollase plays keyboards and sings, Nicky Gebhard drums, plays percussion and sings, Gerb Klocker plays guitar and sings and Jurgen Pluta plays bass and sings. This is obviously a four man gruop where everybody sing, that is amazing of course. What's so fantastic here is that Wallenstein's music continues to sound amazing in my ears; they play perfect symphonic rock with great typical seventies sounds.

"Seventy-seven" is a great starter where a powerful symphonic melody plasy with the different vocals in the band(8/10) and the longer "Backstreet Dreamer" is a longer wonderful track(7/10). "I can't loose" is an honest track with a lot of love(8/10) and the title track "No more love" is very emotional with a great intro and a song that will grow until the end. A fine example of awesome seventies symphonic rock(9/10). The two ending songs follows in the same way and both "Jo Jo" and "On a Eagles Wings" are worth their (7/10) listenings.

This music is very pleasant to my ears. Well, it's not very new thinking and experimental, but its continues the sweat obvious symphonic rock it had started with six years earlier. I would recommend this record warmly, beacuse it's a great prog record! Four stars!

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 Stories, songs & symphonies by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.06 | 30 ratings

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Stories, songs & symphonies
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars "Stories, songs & symphonies" is the German band Wallenstein's fourth studio album and in some way it's their most symphonic album so far. It was released 1975, almost fourty years ago and had an intriguing cover art work where we can read the name "The Symphonic Rock Orchestra Wallenstein" and "Stories, Songs & Symphonies". So we can really expect a marvelous bunch of songs. The cover shows a yellow space where a little chariot is pulled by a white horse under the rainbow. The album has five songs and they are played by Bill Barone(guitar), Jürgen Dollase(vocals, keyboards and mellotron), Harald Grosskopf(drums, percussion), Jürgen Pluta(bass, percussion and back vocals) and Joachim Reiser(violin, percussion).

All songs are fantastic to hear and I think of some passages of the oldest Genesis heard on Trespass and also Van der Graaf Generator blended with typical Wallenstein ingredients such as the classical rock influences and the violin. The vocals are poetic and lovely in their own way. Every track here is very worth hearing and in some ways this could be considered Wallenstein's best album so far. The musicians are clever and bright and creative. They do their own music and the result is lovely. It's a very classical seventies prog rock album with fantasy and a lot of music.

"The Priestess" starts quite calm but fascinating(9/10) and then comes a story telling track in "Stories, songs and symphonies"(8/10) and a jumping and beautiful one in "The Banner" which also seems to be inspired by classical music(9/10). "Your lunar friends" is the album's longest track and also a very intriguing one with classical guitar and sweeping harmonies going through the air(8/10) and the closer "Sympathy for Bela Bartok" is as its name suggests very classical inspired and flowing. I like what I hear, it's very sympathic(9/10).

The record over all gets the rating 4,3 and will get a string four star review by me. For you who want to hear very symphonic rock by Wallenstein this is a good record to go to. It is perhaps not their best album but I like it very much.

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 Cosmic Century by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.53 | 50 ratings

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Cosmic Century
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars I am exploring the German symphonic band Wallenstein's discography and untill now I am more than statisfied whit what I have heard, because it is really high class on this music. This third record "Cosmic Century" doesn't either make me disappointed. Actuelly I think this is their best record of the three I have heard. Cosmic Century contains the most you could want from a progressive rock band. They mixture symphonic passages with heavy rock and jazzy crazyness. If we add good vocals and excellent instrumentation on this it will be a perfect mix.

Cosmic Century was recorded 1973 and the cover picture is blue and shows an unsharp band picture. The cover is actuelly among the worst components on the album. Bill Barone plays guitar, Jürgen Dollase keyboards, mellotron, vibraphon och vocals, Harald Grosskopf drums and percussion, Dieter Meier bass and Joachim Reiser plays violin.

The record is even and every song has a high quality and is worth to hear; therefore I recommend them all to all of you. "The Symphonic Rock Orchestra ? Rory Blanchford" is a creative starter with something for many tastes(8/10). "Grand Piano" then is a fantastic piece with mostly piano playing, I would say massive symphonic piano playing(8/10). "Silver arms" is a nice rock song with strings and cool synthesizer sounds(8/10). "The Marvellous Child" though isn't as fantastic as the other songs here(6/10). It is more common but "Song of Wire" is lovely with a typical seventies feeling and nice isntrumentation(8/10) and in the end "The Cosmic Couriers Meet South Philly Will" which is a fantastic song(8/10).

Over all, every second here is pleasant listening and Wallenstein is a surprising band for me which I will continue to explore. This record will get a strong four by me, but perhaps you think it's even better!

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 Mother Universe  by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 42 ratings

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Mother Universe
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars I have to write something about a very pleasant music experience I have had when I listened to this record: "Mother universe" by the German rock band Wallenstein. It was released one year after their debut "Blitzkrieg", now 1972 and we can see an old lady with shining hair on the cover. The design is very appealing and the row of six long songs are a perfect opportunity to hear some wonderful prog from the seventies.

Bill Barone plays guitar and sings, Jerry Berkers sings and plays bass, Jürgen Dollase sings and plays keyboards and mellotron and Harald Grosskopf plays drums and percussion. I most state three differencies with this record from their first. This record has much more vocals, it's much more progressive and much better than "Blitzkrieg". "Mother universe" is a lovely opener with both a wild progressive melody and a heavy and fine vocal(8/10), "Braintrain" is a powerful rock song with a splendid ending(10/10) and "Skakespearesque" has something from the baroque or the medieval time in the instrumentation(8/10). "Dedicated to the mystery land" is a varied and lovely piece with song in the end that closes it perfectly(9/10) and the poetic and richly sung "Relics of the past"(8/10) isn't bad at all. The closer is perfect also the best: "Golden antenna" is very melodic and perhaps a bit crazy, like Gentle Giant. It jumps around and entertains us(10/10).

This record isn't far away from being a masterpiece. The record is great and very full of progressive structures, fine and sympathetic as well as sometimes very heavy and cool. Wallenstein had developed a lot since their debut and this is an album I warmly recommend! 4,42= 4 stars

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 Blitzkrieg by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Blitzkrieg
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars Wallenstein was a German symphonic rock band which produced nine studio records between 1971 and 1981. Blitzkrieg from 1971 is their debut album and it has a hard and steel filled cover which give the record a heavy and war-like look. Before I listened to this album, I also heard Mother Universe, but I use to begin from the beginning so Blitzkrieg was a better beginning. The musicians here present, are Bill Barone who plays guirar and sings, Jerry Berkers who plays bass and sings, Jürgen Dollase who plays keyboards and mellotron and sings and Harald Grosskopf who drums.

I think they do a praiseworthy job on the whole album. They hammer on their music in a heavy and forward looking mode with musical esctasy. On the first track "Lunatic" it directly became obvious for me that this music seemed vital and living. They do rocked with keys, guitarr, bass and drums. "The theme" then includes vocals just as "Audiences" even if that is just a parathesis, the vocals on the last track though sounds almost like the voice of Peter Gabriel. "Manhatten Project" is perhaps the best track on the album. Here all the bands fantasies are being shown and they whirl through a wonderous trance.

Over all I find this music healthy and very vivid. It wasn't at all the most creative prog album I have heard but at least a true honest one. I mean this album should have four stars!

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 Mother Universe  by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 42 ratings

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Mother Universe
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars According to Jürgen Dollase, there was still a tendency towards Hippie-Rock styles in early-70's in Germany and the crowd was not prepared to accept the more symphonic side of Wallenstein.As a result ''Blitzkrieg'' received mixed reviews, while Dollase had also to face the preference of producer Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser towards a more folky style, influenced by the talents of Jerry Berkers.However Berkers, having served as a young man in the Vietnam war, was mentally ill, resulting often to day-long disappearances.Through these storms Wallenstein managed to record their second album ''Mother universe'' again at Dierks Studios in Cologne, a work released in 1972 on Pilz, featuring Dollase's grandmother on the front cover.

Of course Wallenstein's crew was way too talented to offer a miserable album despite the huge problems around the band and now the frenetic styles of their debut was combined with some softer British-influenced early Prog Rock, similar to KING CRIMSON and CRESSIDA.So, the tracks are somewhat split between powerful Kraut-Rock pieces with heavy organ and punchy guitar parts and more elaborated Symphonic Rock with monster Mellotron themes and smooth piano lines.Lush orchestrations and atmospheric vocals are the basic components of the later tracks, which also feature some smooth interplays with piano, keyboards and guitars.The more energetic tracks are definitely more original with a nice dose of Classical influences mixed with melodic guitars and bombastic Kraut Rock grooves, led by piano, bass and drums.Some of the furious and messy breaks of the debut are completely gone, instead there is place for tracks like ''Relics of the past'', which was rather a step backwards for the group, offering hippy-styled Psychedelic/Folk Rock among more demanding and rich arrangements.Anyway, the album remains quite charming all the way with a high level of musicianship and mostly interesting material.

Needless to say this was the last album of Wallenstein with this line-up, a good work of Symphonic/Heavy/Kraut Rock with a flexible sound, that mostly works well but not always succesful.The top tracks though are pretty great and ''Mother universe'' deserves a warm recommendation.

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 Mother Universe  by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 42 ratings

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Mother Universe
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by presdoug

5 stars Does Wallenstein's "Mother Universe", their second album, hold it's own with their astounding debut "Blitzkrieg"? My answer is yes. There are some differences in this second effort, but also some continuity with it's predecessor, with the result being an album that holds it's own, but is still classic Wallenstein.

The differences are that this album has real vocals, the songs are shorter, and the mixing of instruments is sometimes altered. On some tracks in Mother Universe, Jurgen Dollase's keyboard work is less to the fore than on Blitzkrieg, and the resultant song feel in some cases leans more towards a psych direction than a classical music structure.

Then, there are the previous Wallenstein characteristics apparent. Dollase's deeply moving keys playing, obviously classically inspired at times, the playfully aggressive guitar work going on at the same time at times, and the creative bass and drum work, as well. And the compositions are Dollase's, as in the case of the debut album.

On Mother Universe, the vocal work and instrumental play go together really well, and make for a balanced album, though it is instrumentally where this band really shines. Mr. Dollase's keyboard work is especially delightful, and a thrill to follow on this album, as well. Vocally and instrumentally, there is real unbridled emotion going on here, and what would music be without real emotion? The whole record is very moving, and displays some of the greatest music of the symphonic prog world, period.

Wallenstein would not peter out after these first two masterpieces, and continue to create some great music, up to, and including the album Charline, an album which is a far cry from this one, but good, nonetheless. Mother Universe is definitely one of the band's very best-i give it five stars.

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 Stories, songs & symphonies by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.06 | 30 ratings

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Stories, songs & symphonies
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by presdoug

5 stars Titled "The Symphonic Rock Orchestra", Wallenstein, on this, their fourth studio effort, show us that they had not lost track of what makes for a great Wallenstein record, and in the same breath, produce some refreshingly newer creative elements that make Stories, Songs and Symphonies delightful.

The band's previous three records are cerebral, intelligent, classically inspired symphonic prog, and quite frankly, i wasn't so sure they could top, or even equal, those five star efforts. I feel with this one, they very well may not surpass, but come close to equaling, the past greatness. Though in this record, Wallenstein show even more than usual that they can still be progressive, but also instill some important, new musical changes.

Though classically trained keyboardist Jurgen Dollase is still the highlight of the group's instrumental sound, other members shine on this record in a unique sort of way this time around, especially violinist Joachim Reiser.

The music on Stories, Songs and Symphonies is not quite as frenetic as previous records like Blitzkrieg, but instrumentally, they never lose your interest, and there is a cohesive spirit uniting all the songs on this album, so that there is diversity and varied moods and feelings, all right, but all fits together so well.

Mr. Dollase's lead vocals are quite nice- he sings with feeling and emotion, without being excessive, though the band really shine when they are instrumental, a Wallenstein trade mark, really.

Overall, an intelligent, cerebral record that is also delightful and beautiful sounding. Who would want their Wallenstein any other way? Five stars.

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 Charline by WALLENSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.16 | 11 ratings

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Charline
Wallenstein Symphonic Prog

Review by presdoug

3 stars Charline is the first record by great Symphonic Prog band Wallenstein that isn't really progressive, it is pop-rock, but hold on, it should not really be condemned because of that, as it is one of the best pop-rock records to be released by any group in the whole seventies decade.

While many progressive groups were starting to record some pretty cringe-worthy pop by this point in the seventies (1978), there is nothing to cringe at with Charline. The title song made it to 17 in the German charts at the time, though really should have been a hit, worldwide, as it is both very pretty and catchy .

I think one of the main reasons that this record is seventies pop-rock at it's best is the presence of German singer Kim Merz, who does such a fabulous job of singing on all the tracks on Charline, his first record with Wallenstein. He has a truly great voice, with a strong delivery, though never loosing a melodious, naturally musical phrasing. (Mr. Merz turned 60 years old just recently, Happy Birthday, Kim!)

The whole band at this point were still a live act to be reckoned with, as judging by the videos where they are doing the title track of Charline that exist. No, this is not the Wallenstein of the past, but Charline is much better than the following album Blue Eyed Boys, which i am sorry to say is a bit cringe-worthy in places.

The tasteful singing and playing all the way through Charine is quite a pleasing thing to hear, and when i want something a bit lighter, this album is a nice experience. I am giving it three stars, because this is prog archives, but judged as a quality pop rock effort, which it is, it deserves five stars. "Charline is on my mind"

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