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Grobschnitt - Rockpommel's Land CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.87 | 285 ratings

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5 stars Released in 1977, well after the prog bubble had been well and truly burst by punk's onslaught, Grobschnitt's fourth album would prove to be the band's glittering farewell to the genre. But what a way to say goodbye. After the relatively disappointing and curiously short 1975 album 'Jumbo', 'Rockpommel's Land' would see the German group not only hit the gorgeous symphonic heights of 1974's 'Ballermann', but also surpass them. 'Rockpommel's Land' would prove to be an extravagant, fairy-tale themed double concept album featuring the band's trademark lush keyboards and soaring guitars, telling the somewhat surreal tale of a young boy who is whisked away from boring reality by a giant bird and taken to a far away land dominated by the nefarious black-shirts and inhabited by wizards, giant stone trolls and many other strange and mythical characters. The story is spread over four tracks, three of which break the ten minute mark, and the band manage to capture the magical essence of their fictional world with bravura gusto, spinning their magical yarn with an almost Spielbergian confidence that embellishes the music with genuine pathos. To put it simply, 'Rockpommel's Land' is pure prog. Grobschnitt have taken the fantasy-themed landscapes of Yes' Roger Dean-designed artwork and taken them to the next logical level, adding their own narratives and characters to Dean's iconic drawings and creating a world very much of their own making, filling it with sumptuous symphonic prog. Despite the album being released during progressive rock's downfall it would, somehow, become Grobschnitt's most commercially successful release, rewarding the band for almost a decade of highly creative hard work and capping off the group's phase of progressive studio albums nicely. 1977 and 1978 would see Grobschnitt release their two greatest albums, with 'Rockpommel's Land' quickly followed up just under a year later by the scintillating live effort 'Solar Music Live', which saw the group stretch their epic, 30- minute long track from 'Ballermann' into an album-length piece, showcasing the band's phenomenal live playing. Both albums would find the band at their very peak and their success found them writing shorter, more commercially-orientated pieces once the 1980's began and, sadly, the classic-era Grobschnitt was no more. A wonderful album filled with beautiful moments, 'Rockpommel's Land' really does whisk the listener away to an enchanting world far, far away. It may, for some at least, sum up everything that is pompous and indulgent about the genre of progressive rock but it also shows just what an exciting and creative genre it is, combining dazzling music with sumptuous visuals and pulling off that very difficult trick of creating a truly conceptual piece of music. Not only is 'Rockpommel's Land' one of the finest progressive rock albums to come out of Germany, it is one of the finest to come out of Europe. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 5/5 |


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