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Birth Control - Hoodoo Man CD (album) cover


Birth Control


Heavy Prog

3.80 | 159 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Despite showing plenty of instrumental flair and smaller moments of musical ambition on their first two albums, Birth Control's third release, 1972's `Hoodoo Man', is where everything really started to come together for the group. Although a lot of the music was still bookended with vocal sections that simply provided a launching pad for frenetic and thrilling instrumental jams/improvisations, `Hoodoo Man' was one of their first albums to really start implementing progressive rock elements, perhaps in part due to new keyboard player Wolfgang Neuser. There's a very cool variety of combinations of the musicians playing off each-other, and along with a more expansive production, lengthier instrumental runs and more clever and exciting arrangements, the band delivered their best album to date.

Opener `Buy!' is all Bruno Frenzel's heavy plodding guitar riffs and Wolfgang's Hammond organ blasts with a trademark roaring vocal from lead singer/drummer Bernd Noske. You get a brisk up- tempo middle of spiralling synths/moogs with a chilled-out dusty bluesy guitar come-down before a thrashing finale. Although Bruno takes the lead vocals of `Suicide' in slightly uncomfortable English, some sprightly drumming and upbeat Hammond organ liveliness brings some infectious jazzy vibes for almost a touch of the English Canterbury bands. A Genesis-like charge races as if a battle-cry throughout `Get Down To Your Fate', and the extended jam in the middle delivers everything from rippling electric piano runs, E.L.P-style Hammond organ fury and serrated Black Sabbath-like guitar throttle.

Frequently driven by a variety of relentless percussion, `Gamma Ray' unleashes with all manner of Hammond organ slinging (jaunty and playful like Beggars Opera one second, swirling and attacking the next) and exhausting heavy, dirty and smouldering wailing guitar grooves. Especially nice is the lusty panning distortion and splintering guitar assault in the middle jam, an unhinged vocal from Bernd and Bernd Koschmidder's bass that seductively purrs away throughout. Be sure to listen out for the scat vocalizing with call-and-response fiery guitar fill duelling in the final minutes! The gutsy rocker title track brings plenty of danger and intensity. Dominated by a stomping beat over hell-bound brooding Hammond, the band show more daring than ever before with a psychedelic treated vocal from Bernd, ghostly creeping piano and even some booming and malevolent gothic organ! After that, you can probably skip the final two minute closer `Kaulstoss', a whimsical little album filler that has the band zipping through a Scottish bagpipe tune.

The next album `Rebirth' a year later would see the band growing even more in confidence and maturity, starting to move away from the more obvious Hammond-driven elements, so it just makes `Hoodoo Man' all the more special. If you like those early heavy Hammond-drenched proto prog bands like Atomic Rooster, Rare Bird and Bodkin, etc, this album is even more adventurous than most of them. A charismatic frontman, highly-skilled musicians and killer tunes - what more could you ask for?! The band had plenty more great albums to come, but this one is one of their best, and definitely my own personal favourite!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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