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Henry Cow - Unrest CD (album) cover


Henry Cow



3.50 | 193 ratings

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Equality 7-2521
3 stars Unrest contains a distinct disparity between the quality of first four songs and the remaining four. Resulting from this we have the first half of the album full of beautiful chamber influenced Avant-rock, and the second half of the album consists of largely atonal jam sessions with myriad studio effects within. The first half, the composed half, of this album left me breathless. The second half, improvised half, left me very disappointed.

The composed pieces, besides just being superb in quality, would make a great introduction to the genre for those who don't typically venture into Avant-prog. Rather than featuring a profound dissonance that many dislike and associate with the genre, these tracks have some very strong melodies. "Bitter Storm Over Ulm" could appeal to even the most anti-Avant listener due to the strong melodies from Frith's guitar and Cooper's winds. The best of the composed pieces and the album is by far "Ruins" which contains all the subtleties and nuances of a classical work and transcends anything that could be called rock. The beginning reminds me of Charles Ives' "The Unanswered Question before Chris Cutler enters and the piece breaks lose.

Any accessibility or melody the first half had gets tossed into the wind with the atonality and experimentation of the improvised pieces. Chaos dominates by this point in album, and the jams only occasionally provide something exceptional being mediocre by and large. Most of the time it just appears to be the band wandering around in the wilderness of Chris Cutler's insane playing.

The fantastic compositional skills of Henry Cow really stand out here when juxtaposed with their improvising. Every prog fan should hear the first half of this album. The second isn't bad by any means, but very disappointing nonetheless. HC have more complete albums than this, but by no means should you be avoiding this release.

Equality 7-2521 | 3/5 |


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