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Amon Düül II - Pyragony X CD (album) cover

PYRAGONY X

Amon Düül II

 

Krautrock

2.42 | 50 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
2 stars A year or two ago, I came across Rolling Stone's list of the top 50 prog albums of all time and found at number 41 "Yeti" by Amon Düül II. I marked it down as an album to check out. When I finally did check out it on YouTube, I wasn't convinced. The singing was too discordant with people singing out of tune or not in tune with one another. However, I was still determined to find something decent from this krautrock band. After skipping through different albums and tracks, I thought that there were a couple on "Pyragony 10th" that might be okay and I ordered the album. Only after was I to learn the truth about the band.

Before reaching their tenth album, Amon Düül II had undergone multiple line-up changes and were searching for a new direction for their music. By "Pyragony 10th", few original members remained and the band were really uncertain of how to craft their new sound. The music here sounds very much like a band lacking confidence in recording what they must have felt strongly about when they wrote. The songs have been given attention and care in their construction but the final result is lackluster. One vocalist sounds like a punk singer who has been asked to attempt subtlety while singing along to softer semi-mainstream songs. When "Telly Vision" comes on, I feel like it's a cross between a psychedelic Beatles rip-off and The Toy Dolls.

The album does bravely attempt to tackle a variety of styles with the Oriental "Flower of the Orient", the early Nazareth ("Exercises" era) rock and roll of "Merlin", and the softer synthesizer-guided instrumental track "Crystal Hexagon". The only song that features a part that sounds prog is "The Only Thing" and that happens shortly before the three-minute mark.

The weak production of this album doesn't help. The acoustic guitar strumming has all the life sucked out of it, and when the music actually does bring a punch, the production softens the blow like a wall of tissue paper. But not just the production, as I stated above this seems to be an over-cautious band without confidence. The CD booklet includes this quote from Ingeborg Schober's book "Tanz der Lemminge":

"The mythical and charismatic Amon Düül II known from the sixties didn't exist anymore. Until today the band searched somewhat desperately and chaotically for a new musical identity which made them try the most different styles."

Band member Chris Karrer adds, "It had been the time when the band's music became more and more song-like and the once underground group descended to the songwriter's league." The CD booklet author also points out only half the songs as having any semblance to the old Amon Duul II with the other half being like creations of any mainstream band.

Were it not for the promise of "Yeti" being a much better representation of the band and a classic prog album to boot, I would have stopped my Amon Düül II experience here with this first purchase. But I am curious and I will see what the "Yeti" is keeping that is so special.

FragileKings | 2/5 |

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