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Amon Düül II - Phallus Dei CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II



4.01 | 464 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Amon Duul II's "Phallus Dei" is definitive Krautrock with raw guitar, improvisations and psychedelic effects. Kanaan begins with Leopold's frenetic drumming and crashes of guitar and some unsettling vocals from Renate. The psychedelic underground is an influence and Sitar guitar fleshes out the Eastern drug induced influences. The freak out instrumental sections are sensational touches, and it all culminates in a finale with some flashy time sig changes. The bassline is particularly forceful and improvisational.

Dem Guten, Schönen, Wahren continues the trend with spacey effects and ethereal vocalisations. The chilling atmospheres are akin to the type generated by Magma or Can who were all into this type of macabre music. It all sounds like a Gothic Rammstein these days but this Krautorck was essential to the movement as was Can, Neu! and Popol Vuh.

Luzifers Ghilom has a driving rhythm and some fantasy language that sounds perfect to the music. The time sig changes are terrific on this track and it focuses on bassline embellishments and manic vocal intonations.

Moving onto the side long 20 minute epic Phallus Dei the album becomes an improvisational delight. The track goes forever but with enough variation to maintain interest. It has some dark atmospheres and begins with soaring guitars and caterwauling vocals. The ethereal soundscape builds into ominous nightmarish textures. The violins are especially unsettling like a horror movie soundtrack with someone being stalked by a killer. The sound breaks finally after a free form passage, into pulsating bass and percussive shapes. The quick tempo is full of urgency and the echoed vocals are heard as a fuzzed guitar solo takes off. The tension is created with frenetic percussion and duel soloing improvised to the max. Eventually it settles into ghostly echoed cries and some spine chilling organ. The tribal rhythms break into a fractured time sig and twin violins. There is a more peaceful sound and it even lunges into a psychedelic jig. The duel tom tom soloing section is full of primitive sounds, like some bizarre ancient ritual. It is quite unsettling to hear the expressionist wails and cries but this was an innovation rarely heard on vinyl in this era. Finally the guitars lock in again and drive the track along with vibrant melodies. After about 15 minutes the song turns into a whimsical sound like a spooky Irish jig merging with ruptured violin solos.

This album is a terrific debut full of daring and experimentation and one of Krautrock's shining jewels.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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