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BIRTH CONTROL

Heavy Prog • Germany


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Birth Control picture
Birth Control biography
Formed in Berlin, Germany in 1968 - Disbanded in 1984 - Reformed from 1993-2014 - Active again since 2016

Psychedelic Krautrock to Heavy Progressive Rock with elements of Blues and Jazz

BIRTH CONTROL were formed at the end of sixties. In those early years they played hybrid jazz rock compositions, mainly instrumental. They recorded their first album for Metronome bringing to the fore an accent for humour and provoking thoughts (the name of the band and the album cover illustrate it as well). Their second album "Operation" shows a great improvement in sound, a kind of heavy rock based sound with subtle jazzy arrangements. This album had a great success for the Ohr label (specialised to promote the rise of the German underground rock scene). In 1972, "Believe InThe Pill" was also released for Ohr. After several replacements, the quintet recorded "Rebirth", a progressive heavy rock album. In 1976, "Blackdoor Possibilities" was a commercial failure due to a more mainstream sound and the inclusion of more jazz elements. "Increase" recorded in 1977 marked a return to the hard rock source. BIRTH CONTROL come back to light in the 90s for many reunion albums as "Jungle Life" or "Two Worlds".

: : : Philippe Blache, FRANCE : : :

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BIRTH CONTROL Videos (YouTube and more)


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BIRTH CONTROL discography


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

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

3.14 | 77 ratings
Birth Control [Aka: Gold Rock]
1970
3.68 | 139 ratings
Operation
1971
3.80 | 166 ratings
Hoodoo Man
1972
3.70 | 96 ratings
Rebirth
1973
3.70 | 159 ratings
Plastic People
1975
3.57 | 106 ratings
Backdoor Possibilities
1976
3.12 | 58 ratings
Increase
1977
2.54 | 41 ratings
Titanic
1978
2.79 | 33 ratings
Count On Dracula
1980
3.22 | 22 ratings
Deal Done At Night
1981
3.12 | 38 ratings
Bäng !
1982
3.21 | 24 ratings
Two Worlds
1995
3.26 | 27 ratings
Jungle Life
1996
3.19 | 24 ratings
Getting There
1999
3.83 | 34 ratings
Alsatian
2003
3.54 | 28 ratings
Here And Now
2016

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

3.13 | 43 ratings
Birth Control Live
1974
3.19 | 21 ratings
Birth Control - Live '79
1979
3.22 | 8 ratings
Condominium
1994
3.13 | 4 ratings
Live Abortion
2000
3.60 | 5 ratings
Live in Lachendorf
2000
3.33 | 3 ratings
Live In Fulda - Alsatian Tour 2004
2004
3.80 | 5 ratings
35th Anniversary - Live At Rockpalast
2005
3.33 | 3 ratings
We Are Family - Live at 40th Anniversary Tour
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Harmonie Bonn 2018
2018

BIRTH CONTROL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.25 | 8 ratings
Believe in the Pill
1972
2.21 | 5 ratings
The Best of Birth Control
1977
3.67 | 4 ratings
The Best of Birth Control Vol. 2
1978
3.00 | 4 ratings
Rock on Brain
1978
2.12 | 5 ratings
Birth Control - The Very Best of
1990
4.13 | 7 ratings
Birth Control Definitive Collection
1996

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

4.43 | 7 ratings
The Work Is Done / Flesh And Blood
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
What's Your Name
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Nostalgia
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Gamma Ray Part 1+2
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fall Down
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Pick On Me / Limelight
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Nuclear Reactor / Get Ready To Run
1982

BIRTH CONTROL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Plastic People by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.70 | 159 ratings

BUY
Plastic People
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Plastic People is the title of the sixth studio album by the band Birth Control. The album was released in 1975. There were Bruno Frenzel (guitars, vocals), Peter Föller (bass, vocals, vibes), Zeus B. Held (keyboards, sax, trumpet, vocals) and Bernd Nossi Noske (drums, vocals), only the second guitarist Dirk Steffens got out after the recordings of Rebirth.

With their sixth album, Birth Control tried a style change that had already been announced on the previous album "Rebirth". The band wanted to move away from the earthy, organ and guitar-heavy hard rock ā la Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, towards more complex and progressive sounds. For this purpose, the group expanded the keyboard park used, and it was inspired by various Prog greats of the 70s (at least what is offered here occasionally sounds like Camel, Pink Floyd, ELP or even the German colleagues from Eloy), added a dash of jazz to the music and engaged a load of guest musicians (including Christoph Noppeney and Jochen von Grumbkow von Hoelderlin).

The result - "Plastic People" - was probably quite confusing for the old fans of the group back then, who couldn't do too much with the "free sound collages". Prog listeners, on the other hand, see "Plastic People", together with the follow-up album "Backdoor Possibilities", as a somewhat enjoyable excursion into symphonic-progressive realms. Free sound collages are definitely not to be heard on "Plastic People". A rather harmless mixture of classical symphoprog, organ prog, jazz rock, brass rock (at least in the last piece) and hard rock are brewing Birth Control here, enriched with a few tape recordings and sound effects. The whole thing is quite well done and arranged in an interesting way, especially the two strings make you sit up and take notice every now and then (especially in the complex "My Mind", probably the best piece on the disc), the music drifts with a sonorous sound, and occasionally it babbles on rather relaxed , and Zeus B. Held provides variety on the keys (electric piano, organ, a little Mellotron and a lot of synthesizer - occasionally he blows a saxophone or a trumpet).

Album begins immediately with the title track "Plastic People". If the number seems a little aimless at the beginning, the song increases in its further course. Everything becomes a bit more orderly and harmonious and to top it off, Mr. Held serves up a Tony Banks memory keyboard game. These runs, which can be heard there, are strikingly reminiscent of some places on "Nursery Crime" and "Selling England By The Pound" - although the music itself is of course completely different. "My Mind" has nothing to do with straight rock either. Rather, a lot of emphasis was placed on the arrangements. Introduced with the noise of the wind, an extremely melodic piece of music develops, which repeatedly has surprises in the form of well-placed pauses and strings. The polyphonic singing towards the end of the piece is also absolutely successful. Well, the rest rocks sometimes more, sometimes less. He borrows from colleagues like Grobschnitt (second part of "Trial Trip") and always comes up with nice ideas, which in the case of "This Song Is Just For You" are completely destroyed by the vocals and the background vocals.

Conclusion: "Plastic People" is a progressive rock album. Or is it a pure Krautrock album? Rock album from the 70s? Music can be so complicated sometimes! "Plastic People" is somehow a little bit of everything mentioned.

 Rebirth by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.70 | 96 ratings

BUY
Rebirth
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Birth Control's "Rebirth" has truly become a rock album. Deep Purple and Uriah Heep bonds are absolutely unmistakable on this fourth studio album by the band. Straightforward hard rock, that's what "Rebirth" stands for. To me, both the predecessor and the successor sounded much more progressive. Apparently the title of the album says it all here and after "Hoodoo Man" they wanted to go back to their origins. The new keyboardist Zeus B. Held didn't have that much influence here, because with his playing the music on the next releases became significantly more complex, progressive and definitely more interesting.

Well, while the opener "She's Got Nothing On You" is just rocking through, "Mister Hero" gets a lot more exciting, because there are now the shifted rhythms, the tempo changes and the more surprising ideas. Great here, especially the appearance of the brass group. The band sounds downright rousing.

The two short songs on the record, "Grandjeanville" and "M.P.C.", are two very melodic numbers. One time it is guitar-heavy, the other time it is dominated by the piano. Exactly the right thing for those music listeners to whom the melodiousness of a piece is important. "No Shade Is Real" rocks again and contains a nice organ solo. The longest track on "Rebirth", "Together Alone Tonight" is a bit more sedate at first, reminds me a little of the sound of Wishbone Ash, has a bluesy touch in the first part and can be called melodious. The middle part is straight rock again, only to become a bit more melodic again. Everything done nicely, but not progressive, but it will be again in phases with "Back From Hell". This song also starts very rocky, becomes much more exciting in the further course with an instrumental part, which even has a longer drum solo.

Rebirth is, if you will, a classic Birth control album. The band dares (a little cautiously) one or two experiments, but basically finds its basis in classic 70s hard rock. Rebirth was a kind of rebirth for the band and at least it works properly. The line-up revealed their full potential on the next albums.

 Hoodoo Man by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.80 | 166 ratings

BUY
Hoodoo Man
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Hoodoo Man is an album by the German band Birth Control. The album was released in 1972.

This album with the German rock evergreen Gamma Ray meant the breakthrough for Birth Control. It was the band's most successful album and it is the album that is usually rated the highest by fans.

Hoodoo Man was recorded with the line-up of Bruno Frenzel (guitar, vocals), Bernd Koschmidder (bass), Wolfgang Neuser (keyboards, vibraphones) and Bernd Noske (drums, lead vocals).

Hoodoo Man is, as mentioned above, Birth Control's most successful and generally highest rated album. It also marks a milestone in German rock music. Birth Control also provided a blueprint for the sound that the fans wanted to hear from the band: groovy classic hard rock, sometimes with experiments, but please don't use too much of it. For Birth Control fans, one thing was clear: as long as the band played the way they did here, everything was fine.

The band does not copy any of the famous groups so directly, although a close relationship to the hard rock ā la Purple and Uriah Heep cannot be denied for a long time. But there are also some very own and progressive moments, the different synthesizers in "Buy!"( in this peace the band is attacking mindless consumerism), "Gamma Ray" and "Kaulstoss" for example, the easy jazz rock in the "Suicide", the elegant use of vibraphone at the beginning of "Get Down To Your Fate" and the solemn church organ in the title track. In addition there is the virtuoso and versatile Hammond organ playing by Wolfgang Neuser and with "Gamma Ray" they made a real Krautrock hit and a piece of music that will echo through time.

In short, the prog factor on "Hoodoo Man" is relatively low, especially compared to later LPs by the band such as "Backdoor Possibilities" and "Plastic People", nothing new or surprising is offered, the music is not really herbaceous either, but the album is still entertaining. Anyone who appreciates the organ-dominated hard prog of the early 70s and wants to get to know a professionally produced and competently musician German version of it (the singing is of course in English) can turn to "Hoodoo Man" without much hesitation.

 Operation by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.68 | 139 ratings

BUY
Operation
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Operation is the name of the Berlin based Birth Control for their second work. And with that, the four musicians caused trouble. Not because of the music on the album, but because of the cover. There you can see next to Pope Paul VI. some kind of cockroach just about to eat some babies. Birth Control wanted to protest against the Pope's Enzyclica Humanae Vitae, who in it strictly rejected the abortion of unborn life. That was way too much creative freedom for many record stores and they refused to sell this album. So at least a new cover was designed for the British market. Now, however, there were two huge condoms on it. They didn't want to touch this album.

Recorded in 1971, Operation is Birth Control's second studio album, and it brought more of the good old progressive rock from the 70s. It originally consisted of six tracks, but when it was re-released in 1997, five more tracks from related singles were added.

Musically, the record is a mixture of straight rock, with progressive sections interspersed every now and then. All the tracks were written by guitarist Bruno Frenzel, who died in 1983 after being electrocuted on a Swiss stage. The whole thing sounds extremely powerful. With one exception, no song comes along without a driving groove, which is also reminiscent of the rockier passages in Grobschnitt's releases. The use of the organ or keyboard is also convincing. You can't avoid letting your feet run free and rocking with them. The instrumentals are amazing ? Frenzel's guitar is impeccable in its riffs and solos, bass and drums are taken more than seriously, giving all that prog tempo we love and add majestic keyboards as well. It's worth mentioning the good use of synthesizers, too. Now cook it all together and serve with the great melodies they picked and we've got the recipe for success. As for themes, just when reading the tracklist, I thought it was a big concept album about some random dude who got a girl pregnant (by the first four tracks) and they went in to have an abortion (tracks 5 and 6).

For fans of progressive rock music, the tracks "Just Before The Sun Will Rise" and "The Work Is Done" are certainly the most interesting. And of course the original last song on the record: "Let Us Do It Now". This pounding rhythm is also missing here - the number is introduced with a piano solo and during its eleven minutes it develops into a very varied, sometimes dreamy, melodic and always surprising piece of music, which comes as close as possible to the "progressive music" genre. Almost entirely with orchestral accompaniment, the successful meeting of winds and strings, classical rock instruments, bells and elegiac vocal interludes takes place here. Five encores were added to the repertoire records re-release. Here it rocks all the time, although the single "Hope" is definitely worth listening to.

Krautrock can be heard on "Operation", Krautrock who rocks, but also repeatedly reveals these progressive approaches. In addition, at the original end of the album there is one of the well-made approaches between classical and rock, so that this album may not quite reach the quality of the subsequent releases - but not much is missing.

 Backdoor Possibilities by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.57 | 106 ratings

BUY
Backdoor Possibilities
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars I like this album much more than their first raw hard rock oriented and not well developed albums.

Backdoor possibilities showcases solid compositional qualities, much better vocals which were mediore in the beginning, and more sophisticated sounds.

Several keyboard instruments from Moog, Arps to organs and pianos (acoustic/electric). Focus instrumental moments such as in the exotic "La Ciguena de Zaragoza" with a keyboard-guitar tandem playing to saxophone solo are captivating. A Blues-Effect like solo does not stay behind in terms of quality, either.

"Behind grey walls" has majestic organ chords.

Definitely my popular album by Birth Control and if you aren't afraid of keyboards that dominate to guitar, then you should give it a spin.

 Plastic People by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.70 | 159 ratings

BUY
Plastic People
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Birth Control streamline their sound to the progressive rock of mid 70's + other influences. The title track has some disco-influenced beat but thankfully, the majority of the song veers towards rock with Hammond runs, raw guitar and ARP.

Singing is an acquired taste as it sounds raw and not messy; moreover the vocals have a slightly operatic colour in echoes. Harmonies sound slightly more professional to me. Band strength, is however, in the instrumental power; less in the compositional area. Rare jazzy moments are underlined by saxophone.

My favourite tracks is "My mind" due to its enigmatic start and symphonic atmosphere -> acoustic & electric guitars, organ, violin and extended moog solo in the end. Still, the band clearly put more stress on live sound rather than sophisticated composition.

Rocking "Rockin' Rollin' Roller" has a catchy moog-guitar motive and piano led sung part.

The apalling last track "This song is just for you" with cried out male vocals and slick female vocals is a disappointment to be found here, although the instrumental part is quite good.

A non-essential album which has its strength and weaknesses.

 Plastic People by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.70 | 159 ratings

BUY
Plastic People
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars My opinion on this one is mixed. There's a lot to like here, particularly the keyboard playing. And the LP has more than a few moments of heavy-prog grandeur, some several minutes long. But here's what keeps Plastic People from being a three-star album: several songs are marked by inanities befitting RIO or avant-prog. Maybe this shouldn't bother me, but it does. I can appreciate some avant-prog (the Residents' Commercial Album, e.g.), but it's the sort of thing that works best as the framework for a piece of music. In other words, sprinkling some symphonic prog, heavy prog, prog folk, prog metal, etc. into an avant-garde piece sounds like a good idea. Maybe a great idea, actually. But while I appreciate the meta-avant possibilities of scattering some non sequiturs throughout an otherwise straight album, it just doesn't work for me, at least on Plastic People.

But those flashes of brilliance are pretty good, and the bursts of inanity are sufficiently infrequent to make parts of Plastic People enjoyable. In particular, the title song is pretty good. The keyboards on "Plastic People" remind me a bit of Tony Banks and a bit of Keith Emerson, but also a lot of Andy Tillison, possibly indicating an influence on modern progressive rock. And what, or who are "plastic people?" According to genius.com, the last verse begins "A plastic pachyderm could be their president." Ordinarily the elephant (pachyderm) would symbolize imperialism. But could this German band also be discussing US politics, in which the elephant (pachyderm) represents the Republican Party? (The then-US president was a Republican.) Or should we not bother trying to interpret the lyrics, which also include the line "Never mind / there might be a deeper sense / cracking silly jokes for idiots"?

Overall, Plastic People suffers as much from self-inflicted injuries than from a lack of quality material. It reminds me of an intentionally distressed but otherwise serviceable piece of furniture: I respect it as art, but in the case of Plastic People, I'd rather just have the plain old furniture.

Or something like that.

 Hoodoo Man by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.80 | 166 ratings

BUY
Hoodoo Man
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I remember watching this album cover on a music store when I was a teenager. I did not really take it seriously: it looked lie a funny cover for a funny record. And I guess, after listening to it after several decades, it´s also easy to see why it didn´t make this band huge: German band Birth Control had, obviously,fine musicians, but their sound was definitely too derivative. Some sparks of originality do shine here and there, eventually: the classic hard rock anthem Gamma Ray is one. But for most part this band was doing exactly what most rock bands were doing at the time, and better. Here the main influence seems to be The Doors and Uriah Heep (Get Down to Your Fate, specially, sounds like a jazzy up early UH cut). The voice of guitarist and singer Bruno Frenze even sounds like a cross between John Lawton and David Byron, and that´s a compliment! Few good instrumentalists had the gift of also having such fine pair of pipes.

Of course the jazz rock/fusion parts are, in the end, the most interesting ones, since on those bits they show they could do something really different. And different would make a big detail at the time. With so many new and exciting things happening at the time, it is no wonder Birth Control got little attention outside their native country. Nowadays you can enjoy this album much more, I guess, as long as you don´t compare them to their competition at that period. And the inclusion of a medley of folk themes on the last cut Kaulstoss was definitely a bad idea, sounding too appellative in a record in desperate need of original ideas. A good production helped here, and the excellent musicianship show they had potential to go much further. Fortunately they did.

Rating: 3 stars. A good heavy prog record with strong jazz influences that probably sounds better today than it did when it was originally released. If you like the style, go for it.

 Operation by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.68 | 139 ratings

BUY
Operation
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A rough take on the bluesy hard prog that Birth Control would refine further on the subsequent Hoodoo Man - it even shares that album's style in grotesque cover art. Here, however, I feel like Birth Control's sound hasn't yet come together. Reinjhold Sobotta is OK on keyboards, but I feel like Wolfgang Neuser's performance on Hoodoo Man is superior - in fact, it was rather key to my enjoyment of that album, and I'm really feeling his absence here. This is OK if you really like the early Uriah Heep and Deep Purple style, but even then I'm not sure why you would put this album on if you had the better releases by those bands (or Hoodoo Man) to hand.
 Hoodoo Man by BIRTH CONTROL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.80 | 166 ratings

BUY
Hoodoo Man
Birth Control Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Though some prog fans may prefer later Birth Control albums such as Plastic People or Backdoor Possibilities, perhaps due to the more mannered, polished, and symphonic-leaning keyboard playing of Zeus B. Held, I greatly prefer the raw, dirty, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep- derived heavy psych-rock of Hoodoo Man, which derives much of its pleasures from the keyboard work of Wolfgang Neuser. This would be Neuser's sole album with the group, which is kind of a shame, because he's able to range from bluesy Deep Purple-esque playing to more classical-influenced organ work reminiscent of the more hard rocking moments of early ELP with ease. The distinctive Hammond organ sound would drain away from Birth Control beginning with the subsequent Rebirth, which is a shame because this album is pretty decent... shame about the horrible cover art, though.
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