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Quatermass - Quatermass CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.74 | 203 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars QUATERMASS were a British Hammond organ-driven power trio, specialising in the kind of reckless keyboard abandon heard from such prominent bands as Emerson, Lake & Palmer and The Nice - bands who were just as well-known for their frantic stage antics as their music. The line-up consisted of bass player and vocalist John Gustafson, keyboard player Peter Robinson and drummer Mick Underwood. The original "Quatermass" (1970) album on the Prog-Rock Chrysalis label, was followed 27 years later by the second "Quatermass II: Long Road" (1997) album, when drummer Mick underwood put together a new line- up of the band. The original Quatermass album was reissued on CD in 1990 with two bonus tracks included. Let's dive into the Quatermass pit now and take a trip back in time to that magical proggy year of 1970 when Progressive Rock was just emerging like a phoenix from the ashes of the psychedelic sixties.

It's a very sedate 1-minute opening to the album with "Entropy". It sounds like we're attending a solemn religious occasion in church with the delicate sound of a solo organist introducing us to the album. Don't be fooled though, because this is just a prelude to "Black Sheep of the Family", a rip-roaring, organ-driven rocker. This is a solid-as-a-rock, heavy rocking song with a good pedigree: it was originally recorded by Chris Farlowe in 1970, turned down for Deep Purple's "Stormbringer" album in 1974, and later covered by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow on their first album in 1975. Forget about piano fortes, this is a full- force organ forte, played loudly, played proudly, and played powerfully. This raucous rocker is as rock solid as reinforced concrete! And now we come to the first of the long epic numbers on the album, "Post War Saturday Echo". At nearly 10 minutes in duration, it's a multi-part suite, opening with a moody and magnificent organ piece. There's no peace for the wicked (or the good) though, because this song really explodes into life like a stick of dynamite before we're even halfway through the song. Make no mistake, this is powerful all-guns-blazing rock & roll with a take-no-prisoners attitude. Prepare to be blown away, because this music will make your day! Let's take a look at the impassioned lyrics:- The city is a ravin' neon nightmare, Freudian symbols lay my soul bare, And every way I turn, Electric hoardings burn, And words that mean nothing, Are endlessly rushing, Telling me nothing I really wanna learn." ..... This is invigorating and reverberant music with powerful lyrics to match. "Good Lord Knows" we're onto Song No. 4 now, an altogether mellower number, so you can take it easy, make a cup of tea and put your feet up to this laid-back 3-minute ballad. It's back to some good old-fashioned hard rockin' again for the next song though, the 7-minute barnstormer "Up on the Ground". This powerful organ-driven number has Deep Purple written all over it. It's a riveting, rollicking, rock & rolling number with all of the surging power of a steam locomotive!

Well, after the sonic attack of Side One, what does Side Two have in store for us. Let's find out. Fasten your seat belts and hold on tight because there's no let-up. We're going supersonic up into the stratosphere for "Gemini", a romping, stomping, branstorming song that's positively pulsating with energy. There's enough radiant power here to light up a lighthouse. It's time to "Make Up Your Mind" now for Song No. 7, another multi-part epic, running at nearly 9 minutes long. Well, I've made up MY mind that this song and the album as a whole is very reminiscent of the powerful keyboard-heavy sound of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, which has to be a good thing. This grand-sounding piece of music has all the power and resonance of the Big Ben bell. Next comes the longest song on the album so get your "Laughing Tackle" around this. It's a 10-minute long instrumental number, giving the power trio a chance to flex their musical muscles with some very impressive and superlative soloing. This epic number features the requisite long pounding drum solo, an energetic and pulsating bass guitar riff, and of course, some frantic antics from the omnipresent keyboard player, who could give Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord or Ken Hensley a good keyboard run for their money any time of the day. And so, we end this high-flown, hard as a rhinestone Quatermass album the same way as we began, with a brief gentle reprise of "Entropy". You can stop headbanging and stomping those feet now.

This grandiose and spectacular album of relentless, pile-driving British Rock is sure to appeal to fans of the sonorous keyboard-heavy sound of bands such as Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Uriah Heep. This stupendous 50-year-old album has all the power and hard driving energy of a pneumatic drill. Quatermass are a supersonic blast from the past!

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |


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