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Grobschnitt - Ballermann CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 170 ratings

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4 stars After their ambitious-yet-patchy self-titled 1972 debut - an album that mixed elements of psychedelia and prog with a raw, rocky sound - Germany's Grobschnitt re-grouped, slimmed down from an eight-piece to a five-strong unit and returned with 'Ballermann', an album apparently named after one of the group's roadies. A mammoth double-disc release, 'Ballermann' would be the first Grobschnitt album to feature the group's trademark comedy routines and the first album in which they fully realised the lush, keyboard-rich symphonic sound that would mark the rest of their 1970's output and win them a well-deserved place amidst the pantheon of symphonic prog greats and a large-and-loyal following throughout Germany. Released in 1974, 'Ballermann' would also be notable for being the first Grobschnitt album to feature their much-repeated multi-part epic 'Solar Music', a song the band would play around with for many years to come, capping off each and every one of their live shows with the piece and eventually releasing an entire live album entitled 'Solar Music Live' in 1978, one of the strongest and most popular items in their criminally small prog-orientated discography. On 'Ballermann' 'Solar Music Live' lasts a whopping thirty-minutes-plus, taking up the entire second side on the original vinyl release and therefore dominating the album. However, it is by no means the only reason to purchase 'Ballermann', as songs such as the beautifully-wrought piano-led 'Nickelodeon' and the metallic rock of 'Sahara' illustrate, showing just what a highly- creative and diverse band Grobschnitt were. Indeed, listen carefully amongst the juddering guitars of 'Solar Music Live' and you can hear Grobschnitt pre-figuring Pink Floyd, who seemed to have used the sound conjured up by bassist Wolfgang Jager(a.k.a. 'Popo') to fill out much of their 1979 album 'The Wall'. Whether this is deliberate or by accident is an interesting point. But the fact remains that 'Solar Music Live' was released in 1974 and 'The Wall' on 1979. You do the math! STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 4/5 |


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