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LEGEND

Parzival

Prog Folk


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Parzival Legend album cover
3.70 | 43 ratings | 7 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. One Day (3:37) (bonus track from 72 single)
2. Marshy Legend (2:20)
3. Resignation (2:53)
4. 8 Years Later (4:40)
5. Senseless No. 6 (4:54)
6. Wall Bungalow (2:40)
7. Empty Land (5:12)
8. Groove Inside (16:00)
9. Change Your Mind (2:04) (bonus track rough demo 69)
10. Sarah Girl (1:58) ) (bonus track rough demo 69)

Total Time: 46:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Lothar Siems / guitar & vocals
- Walter Quintus / violin, bass, organ & piano
- Thomas Olivier / drums, vocals & percussion
- Matthias Müller-Menckens / flute & piano
- Joachim Reichhold / cello
- Hans Jaspers / viola

Releases information

Telefunken 3984-23108-2

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Fitzcarraldo for the last updates
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PARZIVAL Legend ratings distribution


3.70
(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
9%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(63%)
63%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

PARZIVAL Legend reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album combines the use of plenty traditional, acoustic instruments (violin,viola, flute) in a deeply middle age atmosphere. It isn't acid /psych folk music as the compositions offered by other germans as Emtidi, Carol Of Harvest but it is very closed to Ougenweide and their Pagan, traditional folk. The result can (mentaly) lead you to have the feeling that you go back to the past. Each track of the album has its very special mood, sometimes written in a plaintive tone (the delicious Wall Bungalow accompagned fo the piano, the pastoral song Empty land), epic (Marshy legend), dark & melodic. Despite that the instrumentation is essentialy acoustic and the "roots" are in traditionnal folk music, a few rock ingredients are mixed with the ensemble, creating original musical sequences and progressive harmonies. This album is not at all basic folk music and really defines what prog folk is. Moreover it is made in a very emotional mood, the musical qualities are always present in favor of fixing the attention of the listener. A deep musical journey in the past! It can easily be conceived as the legendary adentures of Parzival put into music!
Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
5 stars One of the keenest Folk Prog group to come from Germany, Parzival should appeal to most progheads especially those looking into medieval music as a main influence. In this regard, they are to be compared to countrymen Ougenweide (but Parzival sings in English), Malicorne for one side and The Pentangle, Spirogyra or The Trees for the second. Organized around a guitar-bass-drums trio (the bassist being multi- instrumentalist from KB to violin) with an added instruments ranging from the cello, flute to the oboe. Sounds tasty does it not? Ya Betcha!-)

Oddly enough the Cd starts with a bonus track, a non-album single, but a masterstroke that puts you right away in superb joyous mood and the album is in the same mould. Cellos and flute gives a rather medieval feeling to the music, but never really completely indulging in it like Gryphon would, they sound more like ELO's first superb album also. The 8 Years Later almost instrumental is an incredibly beautiful track where they are soaring away like eagles from us poor mortals. Senseless and a few other tracks have slightly acidic-sounding vocals reminding Sopirogyra's Martyn Cockerham or Comus's Wooton, but without having that eerie feel to it. Empty Land is based on Bach's Matthew's Passion, but the previous track always had another classical influence I could never place.

Their largely acoustic sound is incredibly contagious and highly joyous (I know I already said this at the start of the review but this must be stressed again here. Their lenghty Groove Inside (you guessed it, based on an improvisation) is never less than interesting but reaches the enthralling stages too especially when they get to a raga section much like the Third Ear Band (and even reminding me of Jan Dukes De Grey's Sun Symphonia), until it ends on a rather pointless and not-so-nice wink to The Beatles's When I'm 64. But only on this lenghty track does the mood become .. moody ;-)

Two more short bonus tracks (on top of the opening one) are ending the album in a rougher manner than necessary, both being demos dating from 69 and largely forgettable, this album is one of the real pearls from Germany's folk scene and the fact that it was produced by Conny Plank, certainly is no coincidence.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This album and this band has been a big disappointment to me, maybe due the different expectations I had towards them, the reality not matching my own personal taste. I got the CD version with bonus materials, and it starts promisingly with a single cut "One Day", cellos and flutes entwining together in a traditional way. But as the track really opens later, there are brought forth in my opinion annoying pop drumming, and this element accompanied by vocal and melodic harmonies appearing disturbing to my ears, I feel really quite uncomfortable whilst listening this stuff. "Marshy Legend" continues with similar style. The musicians are evidently technically very skilled, as there are witty twists in the rhythms and arrangements, but stylistically their music sadly mostly irritated me. On this track we hear also "demonic voices" familiar from Walt Disney cartoons, accompanied later with furious bellowing, until the song ends up with the annoying theme on which it started. "Resignation" gives me some associations of The Beatles, only here the orchestrations are more sophisticated than on their recordings. This mellow track is one of the better ones here in my opinion, though it sounds more like a pop song to my ear than a medieval folk tune. "8 Years Later" starts with good classical music sounding themes, soon accompanied by an electric guitar. This track rolls also quite well, until the vocal parts are introduced. Wow, that boy choir just sounds irritating to me. Without that element, this composition would have been very good. And then "Senseless No. 6" is one of the most banal anti-Vietnam songs I have yet heard, though wars should always be condemned. The short track "Wall Bungalow" is a real gem here for me with fragile piano and pretty flute melody, and lacking both menacing chorus singings and drums. These beautiful moments among the elements which I can't stand make my feelings towards this record even more complex, it's like getting a gourmet dinner consisting from caviar, oysters and BigMac hamburgers. "Empty Land" starts nicely, but moves toward pathos and tension build ups which didn't please me. Then we get the 16 minutes long "Groove Inside", and this is nearly the best track here, being a very archaic open improvisational number. Still, there is one thing hidden here, which made me really upset: Instead of ending up this great jam with dignity, the group starts to mimic a Beatles song in a very silly druggy manner. Do these things happen if the players are stoned when doing recordings? The whole piece of gold was ruined with that outburst, what a waste in my opinion. The two following 1969 demo songs are then quite forgettable tunes inspired by the band upon which they spat on their previous track. It seems that many listeners have enjoyed this record quite much, so if you're interested in early German proggy folk and music with strong melodic flute presence, give this one a listen. But I personally couldn't recommend anyone to buy it blindly, as the ancient themed name and beautiful medieval package brought a big disappointment to me.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The very acoustic & lively Legend album is really refined. Actually, progressive folk is an appropriate classification, but there is the presence of miscellaneous symphonic string mini- arrangements that give an absolute grandeur to the delightful music. The many pastoral flute arrangements may remind a less eccentric Jethro Tull. The sustained & elaborated drums and bass will please those who look for substantial and well nourished compositions. As keyboards, there are mostly only a slightly dirty floating organ and a very discreet piano. The overall sound is very warm and natural: some elegance, grace and peacefulness emanates from the ensemble despite the loaded character of the tracks. I find that the sound & style really have similitudes with the Quebecois progressive rock, comparable to the major artists of the 70's. The lead vocals have slightly the sound of the Morse Code singer. The overall music is slightly medieval, especially when there is a gentle flute playing. In my opinion, the possibility to give this record 5 stars is cancelled by the lengthy & psychedelic "Groove inside" track, an esoteric invocation-like tam-tam music: I have RARELY seen a flop like this beside other irreproachable tracks! Unfortunately, due to the 16 minutes duration of the bad track, I must remove 1 big star!
Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This is the only Parzival album I’ve ever listened to, and since this is supposed to be their best work and their only real progressive album, I doubt I’ll go out of my way to find any more. But as a period piece and especially for a German album it is interesting to hear something from that time that isn’t Krautrock, heavy rock, or proto-electronica. So props for that. I know very little about the band and their fine album artwork is clearly misleading since it houses an only average album, so let’s get on with it.

“Resignation” is Beatles-inspired except with decent cello and flute, or maybe ELO from their first or second album (which I guess is pretty much the same as saying Beatles-inspired).

“8 Years Later” is all instrumental for the first half, and possibly the best track on the album. Solidly in the progressive camp, but even here the organ, violin and viola do remind me quite a bit of a Disney soundtrack. I don’t know much about these guys but get the impression there was a fairly concerted effort on the part of renowned producer Conny Plank to try and make them commercially appealing. As a result some of the arrangements almost sound too polished, and lack all that much passion or conviction.

A good example of this is the Vietnam protest song “Senseless No. 6” which features Apocalypse Now-like discordant strings and very creepy flute along with some odd organ effects. But the vocals turn what are supposed to be biting and idealistic lyrics into what sounds more like cheesy rock theater. The blue-grassy cello at the end doesn’t rescue this track at all.

“Wall Bungalow” is an instrumental, and would be the strongest track were it much more than just under three minutes long. Great piano and for the first time on the album the flute flows across the arrangement instead of being used to punctuate it with staccato mood snippets. “Empty Land” is pure filler and the dull, thudding drums and bored strings just go on and on with no real point or climax.

And speaking of filler, “Groove Inside” does has a catchy groove to the percussion and rhythm, but this thing wanders around the disc for more than sixteen minutes with almost shockingly little variation or purpose. The flute and cello seem to play tag with a half-hearted melody line, but the fade away into a short cover of the Beatles “When I’m 64” is just goofy.

The two bonus tracks “Change Your Mind” and “Sarah Girl” suffer from poor production, but aside from that are more aligned with a psych folk sound than the rest of the album. Historically a bit interesting, but musically these are both quite forgettable.

So I’m not overly impressed here, although admittedly this album has a decidedly German feel to it that may culturally be an acquired taste. If that’s the case then I guess I can recommend it to fans of Jethro Tull because that’s probably the closest comparison. Otherwise I’ll say this is okay, certainly not great, and just barely worthy of three stars.

peace

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Parzival's roots can be found in the Bremen-based 60's group The Chamberlains, where singer/guitarist Lothar Siems and drummer Thomas Olivier played together.By 1967 they had teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Walter Quintus and formed a trio that went to an extended tour through France.After graduating in 1969 from the Beazzic Conservatory, they surfaced under the Parzival name and even went on to the Decca Studios in London to record a single.The trio was later picked up by renowed producer Conny Plank and recorded the debut ''Legend'' at the fall of summer 71' at the Star Music Studios in Hamburg.A few guests took part during the sessions, namely Joachim Reichhold on cello, Matthias Mueller-Menckens on piano/flute and Hans Jaspers on viola, while the album was released on Telefunken.

First side comes as a hybrid of Folk, Classical Music and Psychedelic Pop with notable influences from Medieval Music and a good bunch of psychedelic orientations.Entirely sung in English, these five tracks range from symphonic textures to sweet interplays between traditional instruments and some serious psychedelic solos on guitar and flute with Mueller-Menckens becoming an unexpected centerpoint with his impressive and flexible flute work, ranging from charming and melodic lines to killer solos.With a steady rhythm section and a good string section the music ranges from orchestral soundscapes to bucolic segments, featuring extended instrumental work and plenty of striking moments.Second side sounds like being performed by a whole different band.Gone are the happy melodies and harmonic lines, as ''Empty land'' is much closer to Kraut Folk and the Teutonic principles with depressive strings and hypnotic organs over Siems mournful singing and a grandiose, orchestral outro.''Groove inside'', clocking at 16 minutes, sounds like an overstretched Kraut Folk jam with scratching violins, loose flute and acoustic guitars and some tambourine in the background, being closer to Hippie Folk and creating imaginery, psychedelic atmospheres, pretty weird is that the trio abandoned any possibility for some lyrical content and offered a very long Folk manifest with pronounced traditional sounds.

CD reissue come with a few bonus pieces either coming from the band's singles or from early, unreleased sessions.''Legend'' is a nice little work of Prog Folk/Rock with a different sound in each of the original sides, first one sounds closer to Symphonic Folk, second is outlandish, rather improvised Kraut Folk with intense, psychedelic experiments.Warmly recommended.

Latest members reviews

4 stars If you are fan of European folk prog with strong arrangements oriented to strings, Parzival's Legend will be a pleasure for your ears. Perhaps I'm not a prog-folk afficionado I have to recognize this album catch me at the very first listen. Even when Parzival has many common elements with con ... (read more)

Report this review (#1361436) | Posted by progadicto | Tuesday, February 3, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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