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QUATERMASS

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Quatermass biography
Power trio of keyboard, bass and drums. Straddling the line between hard rock and prog, there's a little something here to appease fans of both styles. Keyboards apparently just piano and organ, with the latter being especially hot-wired to make the keyboardist's style resemble Frumpy keyboardist Jean-Jacques KRAVETZ, or perhaps Dave STEWART at his most maniacal (see "Dreams Wide Awake" for an example). He can lash out at his organ with a recklessness that puts EMERSON to shame, listen to the solo on "Post War, Saturday Echo" if you don't believe me. Bass player John GUSTAFSON (pre-ROXY MUSIC) sings in a uncontrolled, manic voice that can often sound gut-wrenching. A couple of tracks (the ballad "Good Lord Knows" and the lengthy jam-orientated "Laughin' Tackle" include massed strings. In the 90s there suddenly was a QUATERMASS II, but their music seems to have very little to do with the original band. The latest CD is called "The Long Road".

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Buy QUATERMASS Music


QuatermassQuatermass
Import
Esoteric 2013
Audio CD$13.15
$7.90 (used)
Quatermass (Digipak)Quatermass (Digipak)
Extra tracks · Import · Limited Edition · Remastered
Repertoire 2007
Audio CD$18.80
$9.99 (used)
QuatermassQuatermass
Import
Repertoire Europe/Zoom 2002
Audio CD$8.96 (used)
QuatermassQuatermass
Extra tracks · Import · Limited Edition
Airmail Japan 2005
Audio CD$46.68 (used)
QUATERMASS +2(ltd.paper-sleeve)QUATERMASS +2(ltd.paper-sleeve)
VIVID SOUND (JAPAN)
Audio CD$139.13
$71.00 (used)
Quatermass / The JudgementQuatermass / The Judgement
Metropolitan
Vinyl$9.53 (used)
quatermass LPquatermass LP
AKARMA
Vinyl$50.00 (used)
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HARVEST HERITAGE 20 GREATS 1977 UK LP HARVEST, QUATERMASS, BABE RUTH, BARRETT US $15.57 Buy It Now 27 days
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QUATERMASS discography


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

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

3.64 | 114 ratings
Quatermass
1970
1.46 | 4 ratings
The Long Road
1990

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

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

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

QUATERMASS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This debut album by Quatermass epitomises the raw, dirty roots of progressive rock, where the linkages to the underground psychedelic scene were still visible. Emerging before symphonic prog became the dominant mode in progressive rock, the band may have an ELP like drums- bass-keyboards power trio lineup but Peter Robinson is interested less in classical showboating and more in dirty, heavy organ lines which threaten to invade Atomic Rooster territory. Not the most technically flashy of early prog albums, it's still a highly enjoyable album which will give fans of the heavier end of prog - especially the heavy prog practised in the dawn of the genre - plenty to smile about.

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 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by Tableau

5 stars This is one of the best progressive rock albums of the seventies. There are moments of intricate keyboard work, a solid rhythm section which is never boring, as well as great vocals. Some may wonder at that last contention. Gustafson is not an excellent singer, but he was motivated here. He sings with the kind of conviction needed to put a song over the top. This is not to say that all of his singing is loud. Indeed "Good Lord Knows" has a simple almost gentle vocal approach which is perfect for the sentiment expressed: sad acquiescence.

When I first heard this album, it took me a few songs before I realized there was no guitar player. This is due not to my lack of attention, but to the interesting keyboard flourishes (quite a nice tone and similar to John Lord of Deep Purple). I had to ask myself whether I needed guitar in progressive rock to enjoy it. The answer in this case is no.

Entropy begins the album with a pleasant molasses atmosphere which then segues into Black Sheep of the Family which features some enjoyable yelping from Gustafson. I won't review each song, but will say all are good, some more than others. The two bonus tracks hold up well, and the string accompaniment is better than found on most rock records.

Despite fitting fairly comfortably in the Prog category, this album mixes a working-class feel with the fancier aspects. Call it an earthbound element, if you will, to balance the soaring musical themes. Listeners with the ability to enjoy a wide range of music should be able to appreciate this piece which is of a period, but transcends being a period piece. (4.5 Stars)

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 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Briefly hailed as the next Led Zeppelin-sized thing, British power-prog trio Quatermass would unfortunately stall at the first attempt with this ambitious self-titled effort from 1970. Featuring striking cover art in the form of three pterodactyls gliding between two futuristic, glass-and-metal skyscraper-style structures(courtesy of Hipgnosis' Storm Thorgerson) and a bruising, proto-metallic sound undercut with jagged hammond organs and grazing bass riffs, for whatever reason it just wasn't meant to be for the trio, despite producing a memorable album whose reputation lives on right to this day. Featuring the same lead guitar-free set-up as Charisma acts Rare Bird and Van Der Graaf Generator, Quatermass' sound was all about the dynamic keyboards of Peter Robinson and the gruff vocals and throbbing bass-lines of future Roxy Music member John Gustafson, the duo all the while backed by the driving percussion skills of Mick Underwood. The group's sound falls somewhere between the bouncy noodling of ELP and the bluesy rock of the aforementioned Led Zeppelin, though with an experimental and highly progressive edge that sometimes fudges the more rock-orientated moments, the threesome instead content to furrow complex sonic passages that showcase a much more eclectic sound that one might initially expect. Highlights include the album's best-known piece 'Black Sheep Of The Family', a thumping, aggressive rocker that would be covered later on by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, whilst the elegiac 'Good Lord Knows' exhibits Quatermass's softer, more classically-orientated side. However, the group seem to perform best when thrashing out meaty rockers such as the excellent, deep-grooved seven- minute mini-epic 'Up On The Ground', a jazz-tinged piece which finds Robinson dealing out swirls of lightning- fast hammond breaks over Gustafson's rolling bass. The duo also combine effortlessly on the lengthy 'Laughin' Tackle', whilst album finisher 'Punting' adds more jagged blues riffs and strange sound effects to the mix. We might never know the exact reasons for the commercial failure of Quatermass, yet fail they did despite producing an energetic slice of hard-edged progressive rock that should have been ripe for the age. Those who like the more eclectic side of hard early-seventies rock are urged to immediately investigate. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by ibnacio

4 stars When some say something is missing (or lacking) here, I find it difficult to find out what it may be unless it is time or luck -to have had a longer career and musical evolution and growth.

The musicianship is here. The inspiration for writing or for covering is, too. The ability to rock and to solo is not absent, either... so, what, appart of a personal taste for this or that instrument combination?

Frankly, to discard The Alhambra in Granada (Spain) because it is not made with stone as The Pyramids are, or because it was made by muslims... does not seem to be a strong argument.

Anyway, this astonishing, incredibly unknown - I must admit they are a recent discovery for me, and thanks to the ProgArchives.com- trio made very good prog rock and deserved a second chance or a better management that never came. However, thanks to devoted publishing labels and rescuers, we can still enjoy their music and maybe a few royalties can pay back for the bitter disappointment of failure.

Do not hesitate to try this excellent record. It may be not an "Absolute Masterpiece" but one cannot help thinking that giving it less than four stars (I'd give them four and half - or 9 out of 10- if that could be) sounds a bit ungenerous.

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 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars This is why I come to the archives. Discovering bands and albums that passed me by growing up that I'm now discovering via this website. Yeah, some of the performers I've heard were best left forgotten, but more often I'm hearing some killer groups from back in the day for the first time and they impress the hell out of me. Quatermass, the band, the album, and the remnants of a group that had previously lost Ian Gillian and Roger Glover to Deep Purple, is one of those cool discoveries.

This is another of those bands that earns its prog-cred by being hard rockers without guitars. Hammond led, Peter has to go ape on his keyboards to compensate, and the results musically are something not dissimilar to Atomic Rooster's first album, although I find this effort more adventurous and generally better. The vocals, in particular, are noteworthy due to John Gustafson's impassioned delivery. He's not at Ian Gillian's range or at Steve Winwood's "soul" level, but he has elements of both singers and throws in a raw emotional performance that can be captivating at times.

The 9:42 minute "Post war Saturday echo" starts off like some lost track from ELP's first album before settling into this slow blues jam that's almost reminiscent of Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Lovin' You" but even dirgier. Then a little after the three minute mark, this song soars like pterodactyls through a futuristic grid into the sky with an absolute bomb of a chorus. John puts his heart, soul, and groin on the table here, singing like he's ready to explode. It's awesome, and makes the previous couple of minutes more than worthwhile. Later in the song there's even a full on prog rock break that keeps things unpredictable. I dig this song tremendously and owe the Archives for finding it.

There are plenty of other goodies as well. "Black sheep in the family" is catchy and has a "Deep Purple without guitars" vibe (this song was later covered by Rainbow, Ritchie deduced that tune deserved some six-string wailing), and "Gemini" has a driving rhythm and fun lyrics. Proginess is ensured by the last two long tunes, especially the jazzy instrumental "Laughing tackle" that even boasts a drum solo that's thankfully not too long. I'm discovering that a lot of bands felt the need to have a drum solo in their studio efforts in 1970 releases. The orchestra in a couple of tunes is a nice touch, adding some atmosphere to the trippy "Good Lord knows".

Too bad that this band didn't quite make it and folded soon after, as they had something good going on here. Quatermass fits perfectly in the 1970 realm of exploring some variations of progressive rock to find a signature sound. As that strange year in rock music sandwiched between two iconic years, 1970 has its fair share of gems, as this album proves.

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 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by Dark Nazgul

3 stars Robinson, Lake & Purple.

If we wanted to find the sources from which this work is inspired we need to think of two groups well known to the fans of classic 70's rock: Deep Purple and ELP. In fact' the style of Quatermass is the middle ground between these two giants of rock music. The group formed from the ashes of a previous band in which militated none other than Roger Glover and Ian Gillian, the celebrated bassist and voice of Deep Purple. After the release of Gillian the trio is made up: a classic prog trio with a bassist, a keyboardist and a drummer.

Deep Purple's influence is felt immediately in Black Sheep Of The Family (the first song Entropy is a short introduction), one of the best songs of the album: it's a convincing hard rock with a very catchy riff and the powerful voice of the bassist John Gustafson.

The first section of the following song Post War, Saturday Echo, is very similar to ELP style: it is an organ intro that soon, however, fades into a long, slow and painful progressive blues with filtered voice and long organ solos. This is one of the highlight of the entire album.

Good Lord Knows is a song most delicate and intimate, at times marred, I think, by too bombastic symphonic arrangement that has nothing to do with the general style of the album.

The rest of the album is what best represents the band's style. Up On the Ground has a very distorted organ riff' and very good instrumental part, occasionally played in jazz style in the middle. Gemini is another excellent heavy song, always very close to the style of Deep Purple, with great piano and organ solos by Robinson. Not always, however, the quality of the music satisfies me: Make Up Your Mind has beautiful vocal parts but is not always effective in the instrumental long section in the middle of the song; Laughin Tackle is a long instrumental piece with a bass riff that ends, however, to annoy.

In conclusion, Quatermass is a very good album, very well played, with a excellent rhythm section and good technical performance by Robinson, who compensates for the lack of a guitarist with deliberately distorted organ sounds; But I think it is precisely the lack of guitar that makes Quatermass a little too cold for my taste.

A must for heavy prog fans. Good but maybe not essential for the others.

Rating: 6/10.

Best song: Black Sheep Of The Family

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 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I like this more than I thought I would. I've always had trouble with Proto-Prog albums and while this is listed under Heavy-Prog it is one of the early ones as it was released in 1970. QUATERMASS were a trio with the focus on the Hammond organ. No guitar here but bass and drums round out the sound. These three guys were previously in a band called EPISODE SIX with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover who would of course go on to join DEEP PURPLE. It was actually right after these two guys left that they changed their name to QUATERMASS.

"Entropy" is an organ filled intro track. "Black Sheep In The Family" is a catchy tune with the organ and vocals standing out. Not a fan of this one. "Post War Saturday Echo" opens with drums and organ before these Blues styled vocals take over with bass after a minute. It kicks in before 3 1/2 minutes. Piano a minute later as it settles. It kicks back in after 5 1/2 minutes as the tempo continues to change. "Good Lord Knows" builds and then settles when the vocals come in. Lots of strings in this one. Very majestic, I like it.

"Up On The Ground" features some nasty organ early. Best part of the album. Vocals a minute in. It settles after 3 minutes with more killer organ. A top three track for me. "Gemni" is catchy with piano, vocals and drums standing out. Not a fan. It settles with organ then it kicks in again as contrasts continue. Lots of organ after 3 1/2 minutes. Not a fan when the vocals return. "Make Up Your Mind" is better. Just a great sounding tune really. Even the vocals sound much better. A top three for sure. "Laughing Tackle" features a string orchestra and is one of the highlights as well. It blends into the short final piece called "Entropy".

3.5 stars. It's very much a mixed bag for me, but this is at times quite impressive. Good album.

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 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by presdoug

5 stars Along with my other reviews of obscure, under-rated gems, i could not leave out Quatermass.

I never even knew of this group until 1987, when i bought their self-titled debut. Even though i was not much acquainted with progressive music at the time i discovered it, i knew that this had to be one of the very best. There is an astonishing depth and emotion in this music, and it is complex enough that it takes awhile to understand and appreciate it.

Keyboardist Peter Robinson does an incredible job, and is obviously a natural at organ and piano,meshing both classical music and at times a jazz feel with a rock intensity that pretty well floors most of the competition, and leaves the listener shaking his head and wondering, how wrongly overlooked. John Gustafson's bass playing and singing are the wedding of great technique and real, sincere emotion, there not being many quite like him. You have a great drummer in Mick Underwood, and whether things have vocals, or extend themselves in long instrumental passages, Quatermass leave you breathless, and wanting to hear more.

This album is not an okay record that was overlooked, but a GREAT album that was astonishingly overlooked. I have turned to it many times since i first heard it, and i will continue to do so, when i want to hear a keyboard based power trio do great progressive rock-it will always achieve what it always has for me, for this i am sure. The two additional tracks on the remastered CD-a couple of singles tracks, also bear long term listening, as well. Awesome! Five stars.

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 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars I just love the sound this trio produces but it wasn't always like this. Originally I found this album very average and generally sounding like a mix of ELP and Deep Purple but eventually I realized the charm of this early progressive rock record!

Each composition brings something new and exciting to the mix starting with the rocker Black Sheep In The Family, which later will be covered by Rainbow on their debut album, and all the way to the avant-garde sounding symphonic prog of Laughing Tackle. The only real down-side that I can think of is the length of some of these compositions, but considering that this is a 1970-album the band did a phenomenal job!

This music is progressive and don't let anyone tell you any different. Besides if you require any proof of that then, by all means, listen to the wonderful sample of Laughin' Tackle available here on Prog Archives!

Although Quatermass is nowhere near one of my favorite albums it's still dear to me because of personal reasons and I love to revisit this album on regular basis.

***** star songs: Black Sheep In The Family (3:36) Laughing Tackle (10:35)

**** star songs: Entropy (1:10) Post War Saturday Echo (9:42) Good Lord Knows (2:54) Up On The Ground (7:08) Gemini (5:54) Make Up Your Mind (8:44) Entropy (0:40)

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 Quatermass  by QUATERMASS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Quatermass
Quatermass Heavy Prog

Review by Raff
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another of the many one-shot bands that seem to be found all over the 'golden years' of prog, Quatermass can be called a heavier version of ELP (which were no lightweights themselves) - a Hammond-based 'power trio' without a guitarist, and with a bassist who doubled up as a lead vocalist. Their music is the kind that usually elicits either love or hate, with long, keyboard-driven tracks and often over-the-top vocals, still recognisably influenced by the blues, but complex enough to garner the approval of a sizable number of prog fans. Less melodic than Uriah Heep, less dark than Atomic Rooster, noticeably influenced by the mother of all heavy prog bands, the mighty Deep Purple and their keyboard master, Jon Lord, Quatermass nevertheless managed to produce a single, self-titled album with enough individuality and ideas to make it a minor classic of its times.

Quite surprisingly for a band that is not a household name, the album cover (depicting a flock of pterodactyls in flight over a claustrophobic, futuristic background) is the work of Storm Thorgerson, the creator of so many Pink Floyd covers, a true rock icon. As interesting as the artwork is, I think it is somewhat at odds with the music inside, which, while undoubtedly excellent, is not particularly innovative or futuristic. However, this last statement should not be taken as a form of criticism: 'traditional' heavy prog is rarely about innovation, but rather more about the reinterpretation of sources such as blues, classic rock'n'roll, or even classical music. In Quatermass' single effort there is enough individuality, as well as enough excellent musicianship, to make us regret their early demise.

The album starts low-key with the brief instrumental Entropia, which introduces their best-known song, Black Sheep of the Family (covered by Rainbow on their debut album), a catchy number with a definite black soul influence. Bassist John Gustafson's vocals come right from the Ian Gillan/Glenn Hughes school of singing (incidentally, he would join the Ian Gillan Band in the mid-Seventies), though I must say he is not as effective as either of those greats, though always adequate. The following track, the almost 10-minute Postwar Saturday Echo, is one of the highlights of the album, with a stellar performance by keyboardist Peter Robinson (later with Brand X) on Hammond and piano. It is basically a slow-burning blues soulfully interpreted by Gustafson, but those keys do lift it out of the ordinary.

As often happens with prog albums, the longer tracks offer the most interest. While the poppy Gemini and the rather nondescript Good Lord Knows somewhat smack of filler, Up on the Ground, but especially Make Up Your Mind and the instrumental Laughing Tackle hold a whole lot of interest even for the more discerning prog fans. The latter track, slow and atmospheric, is richly enhanced by the presence of a string section, and quite indicative of what the band would have been capable, had they stayed together to record at least another album. Make Up Your Mind , bookended by some energetic, catchy singing parts, is made up (pun unintended) of several sections in which the three band members show off their respective chops - a powerful, swirling, dramatic piece and music. On the other hand, the two bonus tracks (the hard rocker One Blind Mice and the instrumental Punting) present on the 1990 Repertoire Records remaster, while perfectly decent, are not what I would call essential.

When the album flopped, and Quatermass consequently disbanded, the three members went on with their respective careers - drummer Mick Underwood would join the second incarnation of the Ian Gillan Band (simply called Gillan), Gustafson ended up in Roxy Music, and Peter Robinson became a member of Brand X. Even though Rainbow's cover of Black Sheep of the Family kept the band's name from sinking into complete obscurity, nowadays Quatermass are little more than a cult item, however highly regarded by some.

Anyway, this album is definitely worthy of exploration, especially if you are a fan of the mighty roar of the Hammond organ. As regards the rating, even if Quatermass cannot certainly be called a masterpiece, it is undeniably one of the most representative examples of early heavy prog, and as such, in my opinion, deserves more than a paltry three stars. Unless you are really averse to blues-tinged, hard-edged prog, you could do worse than add this album to your collection.

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