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Paternoster - Paternoster CD (album) cover





3.61 | 67 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars While the German progressive scene was quite prolific especially during the Krautrock boom that lasted roughly from 1970-75, neighboring German speaking Austria on the contrary produced very few additions to the prog universe. While a few names like Hermann Szobel, Eela Craig, Zakarrias, Vytas Brenner, Isaiah, Klockwerk Orange, Gipsy Love and Orange Power might be recognizable to erudite proggers who have scoured the vaults, most of these remained fairly obscure and wouldn't be known even by may prog lovers of the 21st century. One other short-lived act that emerged in the early 70s was the Vienna based PATERNOSTER which released only one self-titled album in 1972 and then quickly disappeared into obscurity, but what a unique album it was! The original pressings have long been sought after collector's items that have fetched hefty price tags exceeding 10,000USD.

While lumped into the Krautrock camp for its inextricable psych leanings, the album tackles a lot of ground in its near miss of forty minute playing time. PATERNOSTER is a Latinate term used in the German language and is used in prayers and means 'Our Father.' The name of the band alone prognosticates the musical content. Lyrics are sung in English and this album has been deemed one of the saddest albums of all time with some calling it what goths would have listened to had they existed in 1972! And sad it is indeed with lyrics seemingly lamenting religion and how it has fallen from grace and become the antithesis of its original intent and therefore PATERNOSTER's sole release is somewhat of a musical eulogy to mourn the inversion of the Christian ethos and the stray lambs of God that have misled by the wolves in sheep's clothing.

The band was a quartet with Franz Wippel (organ and vocals), Gerhard Walter (guitar, vocals), Heimo Wisser (bass) and Gerhart Walenta (drums). Musically, the lugubrious nature of the album resonates big time with Floydian psychedelic guitar freakouts in mostly mid-tempo Procol Harum styled sluggishness displaying the enervating effects of grief. The effect is exponentially compounded by the sad lyrics and verge-of-breaking-into-tears vocal style. The icing on the cake comes from the church organ parts that permeate the entire album like a funeral dirge with every emotional tugging note going for the lacrimation factory. While the Procol Harum compositional styles laced with Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd guitar riffs dominate, on tracks like 'Old Danube' there are some organ outburst that sound more like The Doors whereas the atmospheres can bring the trippiest aspects of Can or Amon Duul II to mind.

Overall PATERNOSTER produced a fairly unique amalgamation of sounds of the era that bring a bit of the 60s into the following decade but stands overall clearly in the more progressive pastures just outside the clutches of the neighboring German Krautrock world even emulating the softer aspects of Genesis. While obscure and virtually forgotten, PATERNOSTER captured the essence of super sad psych rock with freaked out fuzz-guitar and nice aggregations of pastoral folk, otherworldly psychedelia and more classic prog rock that takes Gothic tinged organ frenzies to unthinkable heights that create some of the most depressing atmospheric effects of the early 70s. One that has been celebrated in the underground for decades but much in need of rediscovery. It's amazing how four guys pulled off all the mind blowing atmospheric tricks as if they were heading towards a post-rock sort of paradigm. Perhaps the bizarre vocal style may scare some away but seem to fit the surreal musical portrait that this sonicscape constructs.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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