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Metropolis - Metropolis CD (album) cover

METROPOLIS

Metropolis

Krautrock


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apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Why this German band remains overlooked is beyond my imagination.Metropolis were sort of a German Kraut supergroup, originally born in 1972 and apparently led by keyboardist Manfred Opitz (from Agitation Free) and bassist Michael Westphal, who had been playing together in an obscure Zarathustra group, and were surrounded by Michael Sauber on sax, ex-Mythos drummer Thomas Hildebrand and Mickie Duwe from Agitation Free on guitar/vocals.A bit later female singer Ute Kannenberg, aka Tanja Berg of Os Mundi fame joined the band along with Helmut Binzer on guitar.Metropolis recorded their sole self-titled album for Pan Records in December 1973 at Studio 70 in Munich, the album was eventually released the following year.

Metropolis' style comes the closest it gets to the offerings by TOMORROW'S GIFT, OKTOBER, early MYTHOS and the likes, an impressive amalgam of psychedelic leftovers, Kraut jams and symphonic orientations.Surprisingly though the material is very consistent with different sections in the same track containing spaced-out experiments, Classical interludes and psychedelic rockers, dominated by a frenetic Manfred Opitz and his flexible keyboard acrobatics and the dual guitars of Duwe and Binzer.They come as a blend of BABE RUTH, HOELDERLIN and MYTHOS at the very end with mid-length and long tracks, filled with orchestral moves, hypnotic soundscapes, jazzy leanings and rural flute drives.Excellent execution on organ and Mellotron by Opitz delivers the appropriate symphonic images to break frequently into female-fronted, aggresive grooves and passing often through psychedelic mannerims with keyboards, flute and acoustic guitar in evidence.The longer pieces are fantastic examples of eclectic Progressive Rock with Folk and Classical spices into a Kraut Rock wrapping, dangerously balancing between tight structures, rockin' power and loose playing.

After the release of the album Kannenberg and Binzer left Metropolis.Ahead of its time the remaining members created a multi-media show with projectors, based on a sci-fi story of author Ray Bradbury, and performed it during the 75' Christmas Eve.After a last concert in 1976 during the ''Sommergarten unter dem Funkturm'' festival Metropolis disbanded.Duwe found the ''Albatros'' concert agency and formed Mickie D's Unicorn, Manfred Opitz formed Lilli's Berlin, Westphal played with Ash Ra Tempel and Hildebrand played with the cover band Tequila Sunrise.

Unknown pearl of mid-70's Kraut Rock with symphonic and jazzy touches.Great keyboard work, inspired psychedelic atmospheres and plenty of tapping rhythms with an aggressive female voice.No less than strongly recommended, Germanofon reissued the album on CD in 1996...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1162589)
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I don't think this album has ever been released on cd so it's pretty obscure. Listed under Krautrock I have to say this seems to have more in common with American West Coast Psych as in JEFFERSON AIRPLANE especially with the male and female vocals. And that's what makes this a difficult listen for me because the vocals do dominate the sound here and they are very much in your face much of the time. Just not my thing. Love the album cover though. They were a six piece band with some musicians who had previously played in some fairly well known Krautrock bands. The female singer was in OS MUNDI, the keyboardist and guitarist were in AGITATION FREE and the drummer from MYTHOS. We get some brass and string arrangements as well. Some guests add aboe and flute.

"Birth" opens in an encouraging manner with the organ, gong and rumbling drums. Flute before a minute then it kicks in with drums, bass and keys standing out before it settles in to a great sound. Male and female vocals arrive. It sounds like mellotron before 2 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in as the vocals continue. I like the distorted keys after 4 minutes but the guitar that follows is even better. "Metropolis" sounds amazing at first with that psychedelic sound then a music box can be heard before a minute followed by a drifting and spacey sound with strings and more. Some strange sounds come and go then we get vocals before 3 1/2 minutes as a normal "rock" sound arrives. A change 5 minutes in with fast paced vocals and the harmonies really remind me of the MOODY BLUES. Female vocals and a laid back sound follow. Strings before 7 minutes but I don't like the chorus that comes and goes here. Piano 8 1/2 minutes to the end in a relaxed setting.

"Superplastikclub" is one I can't get into with those theatrical male and female vocals in an avant soundscape. The pace picks up before a minute but the tempo does change often. "Dreamweaver" opens with the organ, drums and female vocals standing out as male vocals join in this uptempo start. Again the tempo does shift a lot. I do like the guitar that comes and goes, it adds a lot to the sound here. Some nice organ around 5 minutes. "Glass Roofed Courts" starts out with aboe and picked guitar as reserved male vocals join in. Female vocals too and man this sounds so much like JEFFERSON AIRPLANE. A Spanish vibe changes that 2 1/2 minutes in then the flute joins in. Aboe later before 4 minutes. "Ecliptic' is my favourite track on here. Windy sounds to begin with as almost spoken but determined vocals join in briefly. Organ and drums take over as strings join in as well. The vocals are back 2 minutes in as it kicks into a full sound. A change before 3 minutes as the guitar solos with percussion and more. Nice bass after 3 1/2 minutes, keys too. The organ kicks in before 4 1/2 minutes and it trades off with the guitar. Nice. It turns classical, almost ELP-like after 7 minutes.

Not even close to 4 stars in my world. I really think they were trying to make something here that would sell a few copies while retaining that Krautrock spirit.

Report this review (#1579947)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2016 | Review Permalink

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