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PARZIVAL

Prog Folk • Germany


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Parzival biography
German folky prog band from the early 70's emphasizing guitar, violin, and flute. The music they created between them was an unusual combination of German folk, classical and medieval music with a rich instrumentation and rock aestethics. Violin, viola, cello and flute are used as well as typical rock instrumetation (organ, guitars, etc.).

Only "Legend" is folk related, with nice use of cello and flute with rock band. The later "BaRock" combined both the baroque and rock on the more commercial level, and thus being more song based it was far less exciting. The CD contains a very good long improvisation track.

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CastaCasta
MIGHTY MUSIC 2014
Audio CD$9.74
$8.74 (used)
BarockBarock
SIREENA RECORDS 2012
Vinyl$14.54
$28.97 (used)
Anathema MaranathaAnathema Maranatha
Import
Euphonious 2006
Audio CD$13.00
$11.09 (used)
Blut und JordanBlut und Jordan
Import
Liberte Records 2003
Audio CD$180.16
$19.99 (used)
Deus NobiscumDeus Nobiscum
Liberte/Vme 2011
Audio CD$15.99
$80.14 (used)
Pisces RisingPisces Rising
CD Baby 2014
Audio CD$8.23
Postmodern LovePostmodern Love
SequoiaMyr, Inc. 2010
Audio CD$8.99
$4.00 (used)
Rock in Deutschland Vol. 9Rock in Deutschland Vol. 9
Teldec Telefunken-Decca
Vinyl$24.85 (used)
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Parzival-Legend Austrian folk psych cd US $18.99 Buy It Now 5h 16m
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Rock-News, Vol 1 Jan 72, Progressive VA, Burning Red Ivahoe, Parzival, PR-LP US $9.00 [0 bids]
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PARZIVAL - LEGEND NEW VINYL US $26.92 Buy It Now 24 days
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Barock - Parzival New & Sealed LP Free Shipping US $25.71 Buy It Now 29 days
Parzival - CD 1971/1998)- Legend US $12.06 Buy It Now 29 days

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PARZIVAL discography


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

3.64 | 30 ratings
Legend
1971
3.12 | 20 ratings
BaRock
1973

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

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4.50 | 2 ratings
A German Rock Legend
1975

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PARZIVAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Legend by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.64 | 30 ratings

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Legend
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Parzival's roots can be found in the Bremen-based 60's group The Chamberlains, where singer/guitarist Lothar Siems and drummer Thomas Olivier played together.By 1967 they had teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Walter Quintus and formed a trio that went to an extended tour through France.After graduating in 1969 from the Beazzic Conservatory, they surfaced under the Parzival name and even went on to the Decca Studios in London to record a single.The trio was later picked up by renowed producer Conny Plank and recorded the debut ''Legend'' at the fall of summer 71' at the Star Music Studios in Hamburg.A few guests took part during the sessions, namely Joachim Reichhold on cello, Matthias Mueller-Menckens on piano/flute and Hans Jaspers on viola, while the album was released on Telefunken.

First side comes as a hybrid of Folk, Classical Music and Psychedelic Pop with notable influences from Medieval Music and a good bunch of psychedelic orientations.Entirely sung in English, these five tracks range from symphonic textures to sweet interplays between traditional instruments and some serious psychedelic solos on guitar and flute with Mueller-Menckens becoming an unexpected centerpoint with his impressive and flexible flute work, ranging from charming and melodic lines to killer solos.With a steady rhythm section and a good string section the music ranges from orchestral soundscapes to bucolic segments, featuring extended instrumental work and plenty of striking moments.Second side sounds like being performed by a whole different band.Gone are the happy melodies and harmonic lines, as ''Empty land'' is much closer to Kraut Folk and the Teutonic principles with depressive strings and hypnotic organs over Siems mournful singing and a grandiose, orchestral outro.''Groove inside'', clocking at 16 minutes, sounds like an overstretched Kraut Folk jam with scratching violins, loose flute and acoustic guitars and some tambourine in the background, being closer to Hippie Folk and creating imaginery, psychedelic atmospheres, pretty weird is that the trio abandoned any possibility for some lyrical content and offered a very long Folk manifest with pronounced traditional sounds.

CD reissue come with a few bonus pieces either coming from the band's singles or from early, unreleased sessions.''Legend'' is a nice little work of Prog Folk/Rock with a different sound in each of the original sides, first one sounds closer to Symphonic Folk, second is outlandish, rather improvised Kraut Folk with intense, psychedelic experiments.Warmly recommended.

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 Legend by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.64 | 30 ratings

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Legend
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars This is the only Parzival album I’ve ever listened to, and since this is supposed to be their best work and their only real progressive album, I doubt I’ll go out of my way to find any more. But as a period piece and especially for a German album it is interesting to hear something from that time that isn’t Krautrock, heavy rock, or proto-electronica. So props for that. I know very little about the band and their fine album artwork is clearly misleading since it houses an only average album, so let’s get on with it.

“Resignation” is Beatles-inspired except with decent cello and flute, or maybe ELO from their first or second album (which I guess is pretty much the same as saying Beatles-inspired).

“8 Years Later” is all instrumental for the first half, and possibly the best track on the album. Solidly in the progressive camp, but even here the organ, violin and viola do remind me quite a bit of a Disney soundtrack. I don’t know much about these guys but get the impression there was a fairly concerted effort on the part of renowned producer Conny Plank to try and make them commercially appealing. As a result some of the arrangements almost sound too polished, and lack all that much passion or conviction.

A good example of this is the Vietnam protest song “Senseless No. 6” which features Apocalypse Now-like discordant strings and very creepy flute along with some odd organ effects. But the vocals turn what are supposed to be biting and idealistic lyrics into what sounds more like cheesy rock theater. The blue-grassy cello at the end doesn’t rescue this track at all.

“Wall Bungalow” is an instrumental, and would be the strongest track were it much more than just under three minutes long. Great piano and for the first time on the album the flute flows across the arrangement instead of being used to punctuate it with staccato mood snippets. “Empty Land” is pure filler and the dull, thudding drums and bored strings just go on and on with no real point or climax.

And speaking of filler, “Groove Inside” does has a catchy groove to the percussion and rhythm, but this thing wanders around the disc for more than sixteen minutes with almost shockingly little variation or purpose. The flute and cello seem to play tag with a half-hearted melody line, but the fade away into a short cover of the Beatles “When I’m 64” is just goofy.

The two bonus tracks “Change Your Mind” and “Sarah Girl” suffer from poor production, but aside from that are more aligned with a psych folk sound than the rest of the album. Historically a bit interesting, but musically these are both quite forgettable.

So I’m not overly impressed here, although admittedly this album has a decidedly German feel to it that may culturally be an acquired taste. If that’s the case then I guess I can recommend it to fans of Jethro Tull because that’s probably the closest comparison. Otherwise I’ll say this is okay, certainly not great, and just barely worthy of three stars.

peace

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 BaRock by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 20 ratings

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BaRock
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Content Development & Krautrock Team

2 stars "Legend" was a true classic but this one has something disappointed. The psych-folk medieval sound of their debut has gone to let the place to hippy folk pop ballads and dances. I highly regret the absence of dark, mystical middle age epics that were so delicious on the first effort. Off course this album is pleasant to listen to but it sounds terribly mainstream and dated. "Stories" is a folk ballad with country violin, pop vocals and rustic flute melodies. "Frank Supper" is a sweet psychfolk instrumental, a nice "nostalgic" folky interlude before the old rocking "Scarlet Horses" and its poppy lyrical dimension. The luminous "It's a pity" is really closed to beat pop music with acoustic, folkish arrangements. The dynamic and country like "Thought" contains a nice avalanche of flute solos accompanied by folk violin playing. The eccentric and moody "Paradise" culminates the album, including "Peter Hammill" like vocals, strange & constantly changing harmonies. This album is really optimistic and naive! Despite that Parzival is a German band, "Barock" just sounds as English folky & proggy mediocrities.

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 Legend by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.64 | 30 ratings

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Legend
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by greenback
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The very acoustic & lively Legend album is really refined. Actually, progressive folk is an appropriate classification, but there is the presence of miscellaneous symphonic string mini- arrangements that give an absolute grandeur to the delightful music. The many pastoral flute arrangements may remind a less eccentric Jethro Tull. The sustained & elaborated drums and bass will please those who look for substantial and well nourished compositions. As keyboards, there are mostly only a slightly dirty floating organ and a very discreet piano. The overall sound is very warm and natural: some elegance, grace and peacefulness emanates from the ensemble despite the loaded character of the tracks. I find that the sound & style really have similitudes with the Quebecois progressive rock, comparable to the major artists of the 70's. The lead vocals have slightly the sound of the Morse Code singer. The overall music is slightly medieval, especially when there is a gentle flute playing. In my opinion, the possibility to give this record 5 stars is cancelled by the lengthy & psychedelic "Groove inside" track, an esoteric invocation-like tam-tam music: I have RARELY seen a flop like this beside other irreproachable tracks! Unfortunately, due to the 16 minutes duration of the bad track, I must remove 1 big star!

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 Legend by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.64 | 30 ratings

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Legend
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars This album and this band has been a big disappointment to me, maybe due the different expectations I had towards them, the reality not matching my own personal taste. I got the CD version with bonus materials, and it starts promisingly with a single cut "One Day", cellos and flutes entwining together in a traditional way. But as the track really opens later, there are brought forth in my opinion annoying pop drumming, and this element accompanied by vocal and melodic harmonies appearing disturbing to my ears, I feel really quite uncomfortable whilst listening this stuff. "Marshy Legend" continues with similar style. The musicians are evidently technically very skilled, as there are witty twists in the rhythms and arrangements, but stylistically their music sadly mostly irritated me. On this track we hear also "demonic voices" familiar from Walt Disney cartoons, accompanied later with furious bellowing, until the song ends up with the annoying theme on which it started. "Resignation" gives me some associations of The Beatles, only here the orchestrations are more sophisticated than on their recordings. This mellow track is one of the better ones here in my opinion, though it sounds more like a pop song to my ear than a medieval folk tune. "8 Years Later" starts with good classical music sounding themes, soon accompanied by an electric guitar. This track rolls also quite well, until the vocal parts are introduced. Wow, that boy choir just sounds irritating to me. Without that element, this composition would have been very good. And then "Senseless No. 6" is one of the most banal anti-Vietnam songs I have yet heard, though wars should always be condemned. The short track "Wall Bungalow" is a real gem here for me with fragile piano and pretty flute melody, and lacking both menacing chorus singings and drums. These beautiful moments among the elements which I can't stand make my feelings towards this record even more complex, it's like getting a gourmet dinner consisting from caviar, oysters and BigMac hamburgers. "Empty Land" starts nicely, but moves toward pathos and tension build ups which didn't please me. Then we get the 16 minutes long "Groove Inside", and this is nearly the best track here, being a very archaic open improvisational number. Still, there is one thing hidden here, which made me really upset: Instead of ending up this great jam with dignity, the group starts to mimic a Beatles song in a very silly druggy manner. Do these things happen if the players are stoned when doing recordings? The whole piece of gold was ruined with that outburst, what a waste in my opinion. The two following 1969 demo songs are then quite forgettable tunes inspired by the band upon which they spat on their previous track. It seems that many listeners have enjoyed this record quite much, so if you're interested in early German proggy folk and music with strong melodic flute presence, give this one a listen. But I personally couldn't recommend anyone to buy it blindly, as the ancient themed name and beautiful medieval package brought a big disappointment to me.

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 BaRock by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 20 ratings

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BaRock
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Sadly this album was a highly irritating listening experience for me. In my opinion "Barock" contains just boring poppy rock music with folk elements included, and the tracks lack the romantic mystery and such emotional approach which would appeal to me. The careful details are homogenized with the destructive basic 4/4 drumming backed up with in my opinion quite naive melodies. This bunch of fellows dressed up in live action roleplaying clothes can't reach my mind and appreciation. But though this album (and band) was not my cup of tea, some other listeners have enjoyed this album much more, so the appreciation of this album is surely only a question of style, as technically the record has been done well. I wouldn't recommend anybody to buy this blindly, but give it a listen first, and most preferably to their first album "Legend" instead of this if there is such possibility.

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 BaRock by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 20 ratings

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BaRock
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by Heptade
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A rather odd German group with a mixture of styles, Parzival released two strange albums. This one's all over the map, starting with a breezy psych pop song (a bonus track) before diving in a melange of songs that veer from flute-driven, Tullish rockers to folky tunes, baroque influences to prog rock, even featuring a mellotron at times. The singer's style is pleasantly abrasive in the Peter Hammill or Arthur Brown sense that may not appeal to some listeners. It certainly is an adventurous album with lots of violin and flute, although it is hard to pin down exactly what style the group was trying to pursue, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. I do prefer the more tuneful, laid-back moments like the first track and "Scarlet Horses", but's a personal taste. It's definitely an interesting record for psych listeners to absorb and a nice contribution to the German psych scene.

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 BaRock by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 20 ratings

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BaRock
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm still waiting to find their highly praised, legendary LEGEND-album,but after listening to this one I can't tell how disappointed I was. Certainly it has its great moments like in "Black Train", "Scarlett Horses" or "Thought" with awesome flute and violin play, but these are far too sparse on this album. There's too much stuff on like plain and straight folksy psyche pop songs ("Souls Married To The Wind","Stories ", "It's a pity") plus some odd latin grave speaking ("Mrs. Virgin") or just ambient noise ("Frank Supper"). All this doesn't make up an essential album in prog folk let alone a masterpiece. I mean how many pipes you've got to smoke in order to enjoy this album on a whole? "Paradise " is a quite good one as well, so finally there's about 60 % enjoyable outcome from this work if compiling all those songs which is (at least for me) just good enough to give a 3-star rating. As usually the extra bonus songs couldn't do anything to improve my impression (rather the opposite).

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 BaRock by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 20 ratings

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BaRock
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

5 stars With their second (and unfortunately last) album, Parzival is scoring a perfect pair that not even countrywoman Claudia's would never even reach to that level. The group has expanded to a quintet and even a sextet by now and this clearly let more freedom to Walter Quintus to switch from strings to keys. Again this album is produced by professional giant Conny Plank.

Again oddly enough, the CD album starts with a bonus track (the B-side from same single as on the first album CD version) but clearly the track is not quite as superb even if it has choir in it. The overall feeling of the album is clearly more towards a rockier sound, as experienced on the short Celtic track stories. Lenghty track Black Train reaches more in psych and prog moods and it has some astounding moments reminding you of a cross of ELO and The Trees (yes, that good;-) and finding its end only in chaos. Following Mrs Virgin has singing between family's Chapman and VDGG's Hammill. The album's title is an apt one because the mood is definitely more baroque in here as can be seen by the strange (and slightly gothic but orgiastic) Frank Supper, but another peak is reached with the uncanny Scarlet Horses which contrast starkly with the previous two tracks yet has you begging for it not to end. Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, the very aptly-titled It's A Pity, is just that (well not that bad, either but the pun was worth it;-), quickly offset with another superb track Thought, built in its start a bit like Eleanor Rigby, but quickly building into a wild flute jam before suddenly jumping into a slow but delightful Ritournelle and off to a devilishly fast ending: flabbergasting!!!! The lenghty Paradise is yet another outstanding moment and would be THE highlight on almost any other album from some other group, but here it is just another track. When abundance is a problem.. lol

The two bonus demo tracks (this time from 70) compared to the first album's bonus tracks are much more in phase with the album they are included in, and are of great added value and do almost not have that demo edge.

Overall this second album is not quite as perfect as the debut, but maybe more inventive and certainly just as essential. In its craziness, this might only be topped by Comus, Jan Dukes De Grey and the superb debut of Tea & Symphony's Asylum For The Musically Insane. Another must in the realm of Folk Prog.

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 Legend by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.64 | 30 ratings

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Legend
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

5 stars One of the keenest Folk Prog group to come from Germany, Parzival should appeal to most progheads especially those looking into medieval music as a main influence. In this regard, they are to be compared to countrymen Ougenweide (but Parzival sings in English), Malicorne for one side and The Pentangle, Spirogyra or The Trees for the second. Organized around a guitar-bass-drums trio (the bassist being multi- instrumentalist from KB to violin) with an added instruments ranging from the cello, flute to the oboe. Sounds tasty does it not? Ya Betcha!-)

Oddly enough the Cd starts with a bonus track, a non-album single, but a masterstroke that puts you right away in superb joyous mood and the album is in the same mould. Cellos and flute gives a rather medieval feeling to the music, but never really completely indulging in it like Gryphon would, they sound more like ELO's first superb album also. The 8 Years Later almost instrumental is an incredibly beautiful track where they are soaring away like eagles from us poor mortals. Senseless and a few other tracks have slightly acidic-sounding vocals reminding Sopirogyra's Martyn Cockerham or Comus's Wooton, but without having that eerie feel to it. Empty Land is based on Bach's Matthew's Passion, but the previous track always had another classical influence I could never place.

Their largely acoustic sound is incredibly contagious and highly joyous (I know I already said this at the start of the review but this must be stressed again here. Their lenghty Groove Inside (you guessed it, based on an improvisation) is never less than interesting but reaches the enthralling stages too especially when they get to a raga section much like the Third Ear Band (and even reminding me of Jan Dukes De Grey's Sun Symphonia), until it ends on a rather pointless and not-so-nice wink to The Beatles's When I'm 64. But only on this lenghty track does the mood become .. moody ;-)

Two more short bonus tracks (on top of the opening one) are ending the album in a rougher manner than necessary, both being demos dating from 69 and largely forgettable, this album is one of the real pearls from Germany's folk scene and the fact that it was produced by Conny Plank, certainly is no coincidence.

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