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Atomic Rooster - Death Walks Behind You CD (album) cover

DEATH WALKS BEHIND YOU

Atomic Rooster

 

Heavy Prog

3.86 | 321 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Death Walks Behind You is one of Atomic Rooster's darkest albums that borders on a Gothic sound and features some incredible riffs that stay with you long after the album has ended. The album cover features William Blake's "Nebuchadnezzar" and looks like death warmed up, hence the album title.

The title track is quintessential Rooster and deservedly finds a place on all the 'Best of' compilations. It begins with Vincent Crane's chilling piano introduction that sounds a little like some of Van der Graaf Generator's early works. The hypnotic riff kicks in and continues throughout the first half of the song while the tortured vocals of John Cann speak of fear and morbid dread of death. With all these elements, the track acts as an example of all that encompasses the sound of Atomic Rooster: killer heavy chugging rhythm guitars riffs that interchange from slow to fast, sparse, minimalist piano, and morbid lyrics.

The second track 'Vug' is an excellent instrumental with a heavy shuffle rhythm that showcases the talent of Crane, and features some wild drumming from Paul Hammond. The bass on the whole album is actually produced, according to the album's credits, by Crane utilising a superb 'combination of strong left hand and foot pedal techniques, coupled with special sound reproduction devices fitted in his Hammond'. An interesting and unique sound is thus the end result.

This track is followed by 'Tomorrow Night', one of Atomic Rooster's famous singles and it's got a great hook. Interesting enough the track features the fade out from the original song but it keeps playing to give us a rare insight into what goes on after the song has faded out. In this case there are weird screeching sounds that actually add to the song structure.

'7 Streets' is a track that merges three riffs to create one great song. Crane's organ sounds as though he were playing in a church and is all the more effective due to this. It certainly packs a punch and is another highlight on the album.

'Sleeping For Years' has an excellent guitar solo from Cann and has become one of the band's most requested tracks live in concert, according to Crane. It has a killer riff that really gets into your brain.

'I Can't Take No More' was supposed to be a single from the album but was replaced by 'Tomorrow Night'. It has a nice little guitar riff that motorvates along nicely but for some reason it reminds me of Electric Light Orchestra's 'Don't Bring Me Down', although Atomic Rooster was certainly recording well before ELO. The track appears often on 'Best Of' compilations.

'Nobody Else' is the quietest track on the album and as such sounds very much like the type of sound on Atomic Rooster's first album, such as 'Winter'. However it is a nice change to all the guitar work previously on this album.

'Gershatzer' closes the album brilliantly. The longest track on the album at almost 8 minutes and thankfully one of the best the band has recorded. It is a strange track that is heavy on organ and drums. In fact Paul Hammond is allowed to really let loose and show off his percussion flourishes, and one has to admit he was one of the best drummers at the time.

This is an essential purchase for all prog fans who like their prog heavy with killer guitar riffs, vibrant keyboards, excellent percussion, and scintillating vocals. It is also a tribute to the legendary Vincent Crane who committed suicide in 1989 due to a deepening depression and heavy panic attacks that drove him over the edge. As a three piece, Atomic Rooster were one of the most intriguing and darkest prog bands of the 1970s. Their doom-laden lyrics about morbid fear and death paved the way for the black metal of Black Sabbath, Venom and beyond.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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