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Amon Düül II - Carnival in Babylon CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II



3.54 | 178 ratings

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3 stars Wow.. not many reviews for this.. especially from the collab end. So lets toss some love on a generally .. yep... underrated album.

Carnival in Babylon signified a marked shift in ADII's sound and a real departure in comparison the wild sonic explorations of inner and outer space that marked the Phallus Dei, Yeti, Tanz der Lemminge trilogy. Where as those albums were heavily psychedelic, rife with gloomy gothic atmospherics. This album continued what Tanz hinted at ..which was a more streamlined sound with more concise song structures. Gone were the double (Lp) albums filled out with jams and improvisations. This a bite sized slice of ADII. A bridge between what had been with the trilogy.. and what was to come.. what I consider their masterpiece with Wolf City. I got their albums.. all of them.. in one mass search and destroy mission and to be honest.. this album didn't grab me out of the gate like some others did. However over the last couple of weeks I have been reaching for this album more and more.... have come to find in particular that one of the songs is really working it's way up my list of favorites from the group. The album is a bit of a grower. If you check it out and seem a bit underwhelmed, especially if you are a fan of other more 'acclaimed' albums, stick with it and it might just grow on you as well. It is a bridge between Tanz Der Lemminge and Wolf City and their vastly different styles....and that makes it a very very interesting album. It also helps that it is a damn good one as well.

The album kicks off with C.I.D. In Uruk which to be honest.. over the last couple of weeks has really really grabbed me hard. Something that didn't happen on first listens for some reason. All kinds of musical elements packed into five and half minutes. The mesmerizing vibraphone intro... the hypnotic backing vocals. Love the cascading melody of the backing vocals with Leopold's drumming. Great bass fills by Lothar. Great harmony section with Renate's incredible voice dominating as it should. The great CRIME of all prog had to be the under-use of her throughout large stretches of ADII's early career. The use of the organ in a slight psychedelic section after the harmonized vocals was completely unexpected and just took the song to a new place. A couple of tasteful guitar solos by Weinzierl. I suspect that in time this song may just overtake Archangel's Thunderbird as my favorite ADII track. A hell of a lot of great stuff packed into a concise song. Great stuff.

As if the first track wasn't enough to sprout a good ol' musical woody.. we have the second track. All The Years 'Round were they give Renate some space to show off her powerful, expressive voice. The song shifts from pastoral to driving and aggressive several times. Great guitar solo in the 4th section there which takes on through to the end of the song. Great stuff. Shimmering Sand is up next which some great guitar licks by Weinzierl who really shined on this album. Not much to the song itself but some nice guitar playing. Though I did like the tempo shift half way through. The song has a vaguely ethnic feel to it. Not bad by any stretch by not really all that memorable. Next up is probably the best known track on the album Kronwinkl 12. More great guitar licks from Weinzierl on this. Love the background vocal harmonies on this one. A rather straightforward song that would have been at home on Wolf City. There are little remains of the the trilogy here. Much more refined and focused.. yet still powerful and fiery. Tables Are Turned comes up next with a nice acoustic guitar intro, here you here Karrer's violin adding nice sonic touches with congo drums helping to fill out the sound and the vocals on this are wonderful with lots of harmonies and a great display for Renate to show her range. A short but sweet diversion from the typical electric guitar heavy sound of ADII. To close the album we have the nearly 10 minute Hawknose Harlequin which if Kronwinkl 12 could have fit on Wolf City.. this one could have fit on Yeti. An eerie ominous extended exploration into the depths of space.. inner or outer? take your choice.. just enjoy the ride. GREAT guitar work on this and Karrer's violin work will raise the hair on your neck. Pure gold.

As far as ranking the album. Going for 3 stars for the site... not the first album you should get Amon Duul II for that I suggest the already reviewed Yeti or the soon to be reviewed Wolf City. However this still might work well as a good introduction to the group.. being as I said. a bit of a bridge between styles and phases of the group. For me personally... this album has really begun to click for me..but still would rank it as a 3 star. The first and last tracks though are IMO as good as anything they did. Good album.. not the best.. but a quick glance of this groups album ratings should show.. they really didn't do a bad one through Vive La Trance. Recomended.

Michael (aka micky)

micky | 3/5 |


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