Amon Düül II — Carnival in Babylon
This album by Amon Düül II is extremely underrated. The only reason I can think of is that this band’s fan base grew too accustomed to their crazy music. Amon Düül II are a krautrock band that is well known from their surrealistic themes and a very distinctive, experimental style. Their music often feels to be completely out of this world — but less so in this album (yet still very much out of this world). In spite of all the listeners’ expectations, Carnival in Babylon contains music that is harmonic, coherent and understandable. This eccentric team has proven here, that they can make “normal” compositions which sound full and entertaining, yet are easier and more pleasant to the ear (if only you forget about the awkward voice of their male singer, the only reason why this album hasn’t scored full points). And there isn’t anything wrong with sounding pleasant — I had a wonderful, blissful time listening to this pack of joy.
Premiata Forneria Marconi — Per un amico
On the other hand, I was a little surprised to find that Per un amico, the second album by Premiata Forneria Marconi is considered to be a classic in the Prog Rock world (#15 on progarchives.com). Even on Allmusic, a full mark was given by most of the listeners. And I can partly agree with that, since there are some pretty amazing parts on this album, like the bestowing beginning of the first track Appena un ‘po, which to my disappointment worsened along the way. The follow-up Generale doesn’t fuse together with the previous track and disturbs the listening experience. Il Banchetto is quite good, and sounds like something Emerson, Lake and Palmer would make, but lesser. When I was listening to that track, I kept imagining all the different passages that felt as if they were left out. The album ends, however, with the brilliant Geranio, in which the alterations in the volume level become a significant part of the melody. Therefore don’t get the wrong impression: 4 stars is still a very high score, and Per un amico is an album definitely worth listening to. But in my opinion it just doesn’t stand among the best there is.
Pink Fairies — Finland Freakout
Finland mentioned! Therefore I just had to listen to this live album. The performance in question was recorded back in 1971 on the annual Finnish rock festival in Turku that is called Ruisrock (translates literally as Rye Rock), but the live album was only released recently in 2008.
I don’t know whether it had something to do with the quality of the recording, but it turned out to be just noise for the most part, even if a pleasing noise of a sort. Yet the noise had reached its momentary perfection during the guitar solo in Uncle Harry’s Last Freakout, where the distortion levels just killed my ears, but the experience was definitely worth all the damage taken. Listen to it at your own risk! For a quick access to the ear killing part you can scroll to 8.20 in the song.
Pink Fairies — What a Bunch of Sweeties
My understanding can’t cope with someone who would rate this album with 2.5/5 stars on Allmusic. Maybe he had a problem with Uranus: the album features two funny tracks that may disturb the musical experience. Another reason for such a low score might be, that the A-side of the record features the guys experimenting with the traditional rock’n’roll scheme, while on the B-side their style changes to proto-metal, and quite abruptly so. In spite of all that, this album rocks! The amount of juicy guitar is overwhelming — be sure to check it out.
Today, I stumbled upon a playlist on Grooveshark named The Day After the Sabbath, over 700 songs. I was surprised to find out it had many rare hard rock classics in it, going towards metal. Plenty of screaming guitars and furious drumming skills. After listening to about 25 songs, I failed to hear even one that would have displeased my taste — instead, I found about 10 new bands to check out later.
Upon further investigation, I found the site from which the songs were taken: http://www.aftersabbath.com/ . It features more than 100 compilation albums (and counting!), made by a guy named Rich. All the compilation albums can apparently be downloaded from there. And if you’re reluctant to do so, you can find the first 5o albums, which should be quite enough for starters, on the following playlist: http://grooveshark.com/playlist/Day+After+The+Sabbath/79920718
Eloy — Eloy (album)
This is the eponymous debut album by the German symphonic rock band Eloy, released in 1971. Later on they have adopted a more melodical approach to music, but in this album they still sound close to what most Krautrock bands did: crude and powerful. Yet, even though I usually like this “raw” sound, here it gets somewhat tiresome, feels somehow out of place, and the compositions feel like they are missing something instead. Due to this reason I couldn’t pick any track that would actually shine amongst others. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed this album, and I’m keen on exploring Eloy‘s other works as well.