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Quatermass - Quatermass CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.74 | 203 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
4 stars This is why I come to the archives. Discovering bands and albums that passed me by growing up that I'm now discovering via this website. Yeah, some of the performers I've heard were best left forgotten, but more often I'm hearing some killer groups from back in the day for the first time and they impress the hell out of me. Quatermass, the band, the album, and the remnants of a group that had previously lost Ian Gillian and Roger Glover to Deep Purple, is one of those cool discoveries.

This is another of those bands that earns its prog-cred by being hard rockers without guitars. Hammond led, Peter has to go ape on his keyboards to compensate, and the results musically are something not dissimilar to Atomic Rooster's first album, although I find this effort more adventurous and generally better. The vocals, in particular, are noteworthy due to John Gustafson's impassioned delivery. He's not at Ian Gillian's range or at Steve Winwood's "soul" level, but he has elements of both singers and throws in a raw emotional performance that can be captivating at times.

The 9:42 minute "Post war Saturday echo" starts off like some lost track from ELP's first album before settling into this slow blues jam that's almost reminiscent of Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Lovin' You" but even dirgier. Then a little after the three minute mark, this song soars like pterodactyls through a futuristic grid into the sky with an absolute bomb of a chorus. John puts his heart, soul, and groin on the table here, singing like he's ready to explode. It's awesome, and makes the previous couple of minutes more than worthwhile. Later in the song there's even a full on prog rock break that keeps things unpredictable. I dig this song tremendously and owe the Archives for finding it.

There are plenty of other goodies as well. "Black sheep in the family" is catchy and has a "Deep Purple without guitars" vibe (this song was later covered by Rainbow, Ritchie deduced that tune deserved some six-string wailing), and "Gemini" has a driving rhythm and fun lyrics. Proginess is ensured by the last two long tunes, especially the jazzy instrumental "Laughing tackle" that even boasts a drum solo that's thankfully not too long. I'm discovering that a lot of bands felt the need to have a drum solo in their studio efforts in 1970 releases. The orchestra in a couple of tunes is a nice touch, adding some atmosphere to the trippy "Good Lord knows".

Too bad that this band didn't quite make it and folded soon after, as they had something good going on here. Quatermass fits perfectly in the 1970 realm of exploring some variations of progressive rock to find a signature sound. As that strange year in rock music sandwiched between two iconic years, 1970 has its fair share of gems, as this album proves.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |


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