01. Two-2-II (8:15)
02. 2-Four-4 (7:30)
03. Every Day's Pain (2:54)
04. Before (3:15)
05. Between Midnight (2:41)
06. Paint It Black or White (6:14)
07. Hurry Up (2:46)
- Michael Winzkowski / vocals, guitars, percussion
- Michael Ertl / bass
- Hartmut Pfannmüller / drums, percussion
- Walter Ortel / organ, pianos, vocals, percussion
The original of Epsilon's debut LP came out on the short-lived Bacillus black & white label, before Bacillus were taken on by Bellaphon. Subsequent LP pressings were on the more well-known coloured label. At least two official Bacillus CD editions exist.
Formed by members of Orange Peel and Nosferatu (the vocalist / guitarist Michael Winzkowski), the band Epsilon published three LPs between 1971 and 1974. Their self title can be considered as their best, a nicely varied and achieved combination between heavy blues rockin' sections and coherent progressive skills. Their second "Move on" (1971) represents a more mainstream rock album with a few enjoyable moments. With the album "Epsilon off" (1975) the band turn to a straight heavy rockin' trip in a typical 70s style.
First, self-titled album of German prog-rock band "Epsilon" is definitely their best one. It's a classic example of organ-oriented monster from 70s clearly influenced by British late 60' and early 70' prog/psych movement. All songs are sang in English language and overall "feeling" of this production has nothing to do with (over)experimental Krautrock scene. This album can be easily compared with such underground, organ-oriented bands from UK as "Atomic Rooster", "Cressida", "Beggar's Opera", "Fantasy", "Still Life", "Argent", "Bodkin" and even "The Nice" (in fact musicians from "Epsilon" played The Nice's covers under "Karthago" moniker before!).
1. "Two-2-II" - the longest (more than 8 minutes) song on the album is a really good piece of music. "Two-2-II" has a very untypical for prog-rock, "bouncy" rhythm and melody which sounds almost danceable. But don't worry it's a truly fantastic art rock track with ripping organ riffs, bridges and amazing solos (often Ken Hensley inspired). Winzkowski (BTW, seems to have some Polish "roots" :-) also delivers some good guitar licks from time to time, but Hammond still dominates. Take note this hilarious clavinet solos followed by short fragment taken from rock'n'roll classic "Keep A-Knockin'", these guys knew how to have fun!
2. "2-Four-4" - another long track begin with army march-like melody played on clavinet & organ and I have to say that this fragment builds really fine, almost symphonic atmosphere. After a while organ kicks in again with powerful chords. But few moments later tempo changes again and guys start to play juicy blues-rock a la "Led Zeppelin" with suitable for this type of music vocals. We can also listen to jazzy piano solo here. In the end "Epsilon" reprises melody from the beginning. Really enjoyable track with many different tempos and signatures.
3. "Everyday's Pain" - fast hard rocker based on fat organ chops. In the middle smokin' B-3 solo which shows that Walter Ortel surely could play Keith Emerson's material in the past. Great song.
4. "Before" - it's a really fantastic instrumental with Santana-influenced, bossa-nova-like rhythm & melody. However instead of electric guitar we can listen to ear pleasing organ, acoustic guitar & piano solos. Almost my favorite track here.
5. "Between Midnight" - surprisingly it's a romantic ballad with piano-oriented melody and very good acoustic guitar lines. Very catchy and relaxing. Nice interlude between all of these hard&prog compositions. Sounds like "Procol Harum" a bit.
6. "Paint It Black Or White" - stunning cover of "Rolling Stones'" classic hit "Paint It Black"! In fact it's almost completely different than the original, more psych oriented, just like "Beatles" covers of early "Deep Purple" and "Vanilla Fudge". This version really gives completely new dimension for the song. Main riff played on organ sounds amazing and this psychedelic solo in the middle... Love it!
7. "Hurry Up" - Oh my..., why they had to close this great album with such horrible turkey. Piano-oriented woogie-boogie is not what I expected from these guys. Thanks God it's short. "ELP" and "Argent" also liked to include such duds on their albums, so I won't blame "Epsilon" so much...
Overall it's a highly enjoyable effort which should please fans of organ-driven heavy prog and classic rock. Their next album "Move On" is more guitar-oriented and it's focused on more simplistic arrangements and song structures. However it's not bad (in fact it's quite good hard rock album with some nice prog/art rock elements), you should better start from this debut record. Besides, their 3rd and last release called "Epsilon Off" is a mainstream rock album with very generic, keyboards-free songs with no interests for more ambitious listeners.
Anyway if you like Epsilon's debut, you should also check other early 70s, Hammond oriented German prog bands: "Tyburn Tall", "Twogether", "Trikolon"/"Tetragon", "Murphy Blend", "Sixty-Nine", "Amos Key", "Twenty Sixty Six and Then", "Odin", "Frame", "Pell Mell", "Virus", "Magma" and "Frumpy", along with more famous ones, like: "Jane", "Birth Control" and (early) "Eloy".