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Grobschnitt - Grobschnitt CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.88 | 181 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Before Grobschnitt conjured up the thick symphonic sound that adorned such classic albums as 'Ballermann'(1974) and 'Rockpommel's Land'(1977) they sported a kind of psychedelic rock style closer in spirit to the likes of Santana than to the British progressive outfit's such as Yes and Genesis that would influence their sound further down the line. A less polished release, this self-titled debut from 1972 was issued on the underground Brain imprint whilst the German group were still trying to find a settled line-up, hence the stylistic difference between this and the rest of their 1970s output. However, this is still recognisably Grobschnitt, only without the glutinous keyboards, overt fantasy themes and surreal teutonic humour that would soon become their trademarks. Instead, Stefan Danielak's piercing guitar is the main weapon of attack here, on an atmospheric and rather lengthy opus featuring just four - albeit extended - tracks, whilst fans of the group will be especially keen on experiencing closing piece 'Sun Trip', an unfinished, eighteen-minute-long space-rock marathon that would constantly evolve over the intervening years, quickly becoming one of Grobschnitt's most enduring and popular compositions(thanks to the fact that it was played in versions lasting upto anb hour long at the end of every Grobschnitt concert) and morphing into the thirty-three minute long super-epic 'Solar Music', an extended re-working that would initially make-up the entire second disc of the follow-up double-album 'Ballermann' before taking on a life all of it's own and eventually becoming an album in it's own right in the shape of the superb, career-defining 1978 double-live offering 'Solar Music Live'. Of course, the version here differs considerably from the (many) later versions, though the basic musical elements and cosmic ambience are already well in place. The rest of 'Grobschnitt' also furrows a similar sonic pathway, with slow-burning, sound-effects filled moments of calm building up to frantic passages of impressive instrumental excess. And the Santana connection is not a tenuous one either. Both the opening gambit 'Introduction' and follow-up 'Symphony' exhibit strong latin-spiced guitar solo's fastened onto psych-rock soundscapes, whilst delicately-played flute runs kick-start the almost medieval-sounding 'Wondeful Music'. Finally, in all it's cosmic glory, we have the album's piece-de-resistance in the form of 'Suntrip'. A powerful, multi-layered epic, 'Suntrip' finds Grobschnitt at their most ambitious, blending hard-rock riffs, strange spoken-word interludes(in thick Germanic tones) and bristling space-rock to almost celestial effect. Part psychedelic odyssey, part prog-rock concept piece, 'Grobschnitt' is a real statement of intent from a hungry young group that more than rivals their later, more famous albums. Blending the sonic sprawl of early Eloy, the fiery passion of Santana and the expansive instrumental scope of Pink Floyd, this is a remarkable debut indeed.


stefro | 4/5 |


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