Friday, May 20, 2016

Atomic Rooster - 1983 - Headline News

Atomic Rooster 
Headline News

01. Hold Your Fire (4:45)
02. Headline News (5:18)
03. Taking A Chance (3:11)
04. Metal Minds (4:25)
05. Land Of Freedom (3:53)
06. Machine (5:24)
07. Dance Of Death (4:33)
08. Carnival (4:35)
09. Time (6:35)
On CD-only:
10. Future Shock (4:26)
11. Watchout/Reaching Out (5:13)

- Vincent Crane / Hammond C3 organ, Bluthner grand piano, Prophet 5, Mini Moog, Clavinet, vocals, bass, percussion
- Bernie Torme / guitars
- Paul Hammond / drums, percussion

+ David Gilmour / guitars
- John Mizarolli / guitar
- Jon Field / percussion
- Tareena Craze / backing vocals (5, 6)
- Jean Crane / backing vocals, lyrics on 3 tracks

“Headline News” proved to be the last studio album of Atomic Rooster. The songs are extremely strong and well written; most of them easily comparable to the best Atomic Rooster did in the 70s.

‘Hold Your Fire’ is an excellent song, with a pulsing bass synth riff to complement the stirring synth and organ chords. Notably, Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd plays a great guitar solo on this song, and it has a great if doomy lyric from the late great Vincent Crane. Yet, the drums are mixed too high, and have a somewhat unresonant and dull sound. Yet, this could have fit like a dream on one of their 70s albums.

The title track has a quite complex riff and rhythm, with the organ and guitar (from Bernie Torme of Gillan) being especially strident here, and Crane’s chilling vocals at the end reveal his debt to his original employer, Arthur Brown. Again though, the recording is awful, and almost ruins a great track.

‘Taking A Chance’ is a more basic riff rocker, and notably has a better production than most of the album, yet isn’t as strong a song, typically.

‘Metal Minds’ has the familiar sonic mire though, yet it can’t hide a song of immense quality due to the ominous organs and doomy guitar riffs.

‘Land Of Freedom’ is an excellent song all around, with an oddly chilling synth voice motif that sounds quite eerie to me. However, the melody and musicianship are absolutely tremendous, and I enjoy this track hugely.

‘Machine’ is something of an unsung classic for me, being a very weird and proggy rock track that easily matches their best work. The chilling voices and complex riffing are heavy prog rock at its very best.

‘Dance Of Death’ is a slow and brooding track, with a fairly low key vocal yet it reminds me of the classic ‘Black Snake’ from around a decade earlier.

‘Carnival’ is an oddity, with a quite proggy mid section with high backing vocals and crunching guitar chords, and is quite enjoyable, as is the longer ‘Time’, though by now the atrocious production will have tested your patience.

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