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Atomic Rooster - In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster CD (album) cover

IN HEARING OF ATOMIC ROOSTER

Atomic Rooster

 

Heavy Prog

3.75 | 177 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The final of the holy trinity of the first three classic Atomic Rooster albums, Vincent Crane and his cohorts here delivered another scorching set fuelled by his brimstone powered Hammond organ on 1971's `In Hearing Of'. A winning mix of heavy proto-prog, lightly R&B, blues and funk influenced rockers and some brooding ballads, plus their delicious and borderline wicked occult tinged trademark lyrics all still make an appearance. However, despite still being very heavy, what makes the album stand out is a slightly lighter touch resulting in perhaps their most mellow, even introspective album, especially coming after all the bluster and noise of the Carl Palmer-powered debut or the aggressive stomp of `Death Walks Behind You.' It's a collection of eight piano/organ driven hard-rocking tunes, without a single poor moment on the entire LP.

`Breakthrough' may be one of the most restrained pieces to appear on an Atomic Rooster album, a classy album opener with an unhurried dramatic build delivered by sophisticated piano and Paul Hammond's commanding drumming, Pete French's raspy vocal delivering the necessary emotion to convey the pleading words. `Break The Ice' is a spiky and addictive guitar-driven rocker with call- and-response-like Hammond purrs and aggressive drumming, and Pete gets to let rip with a suitably throat-shredding vocal. Ballad `Decision Indecision' is one of the warmest Rooster moments ever to appear on one of their studios discs, with a moving thoughtful vocal and some lovely restrained piano that lifts into uplifting clouds of bliss in the soaring middle. `A Spoonful of Bromide...' is a snapping rocker, a frantic piano and Hammond organ soaked instrumental with relentless charging drumming and cymbals with wailing electric guitar full of fire from John Cann.

The classic Rooster track `Black Snake' slithers with a murky unease, Vincent Crane taking the lead vocal and asking "What's in the dark that makes you feel so wild...?". Fuelled by deceptively soothing coatings of wavering Hammond that makes you feel like you're levitating in air, the piece is simply dripping with temptation and lust. Knowing the demons the late Mr Crane went through in his life gives the track an even more ominous and unsettling quality, but his playing and his voice are so full of inspiration and passion. The up-tempo dirty rocker `Heads In The Sky' offers scuzzy heavy metal riffing and wild drumming in the style of Black Sabbath, only with more lashings of rippling and spirited Hammond organ soloing over the top. `The Rock' is a sweaty grooving instrumental with horns and feedback-drenched electric guitar eruptions. There's a sly menace to album closer `The Prince' (even more hammered home with more occult themed lyrics), with a maddening repetition to the piano and drums, not to mention some forceful screeching vocals that makes it quite overwhelming. Pay close attention to the contradictory lyrics, the protagonist clearly having made a very bad deal with a Devil and being confronted with his actions. Powerful stuff.

This particular version of Atomic Rooster would split almost as soon as the album was released, making it all the more special, unique and distinctive. You can't go wrong at all with the first three Rooster albums, and the furious spirit present on this album, as on the earlier two as well, is truly infectious. It's further proof what a talent the troubled Vincent Crane was as a musician, his organ and piano workouts positively crackling with energy, and he's ably backed up by a trio of other great musicians here who get plenty of standout moments throughout as well. The occasional lighter flourishes resulted in one of the most varied and easy to enjoy Atomic Rooster albums, and it's more evidence of what a fine band they were, making `In Hearing Of' is an impossibly strong and always consistent collection of hard-rocking organ-driven tunes, and proto/heavy prog lovers will likely already know they need to own this.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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