Friday, July 13, 2018

Birth Control - 1972 - Hoodoo Man

Birth Control
Hoodoo Man

01. Buy! (7:10)
02. Suicide (6:16)
03. Get down to your fate (7:58)
04. Gamma ray (9:44)
05. Hoodoo man (8:25)
06. Klaustoß (2:40)

Bonus tracks on 2005 reissue:
07. Nostalgia (single A-Side) (3:37)
08. Gamma Ray, Part 1 (Single version) (3:30)
09. Gamma Ray, Part 2 (Single version) (3:53)
10. Hope (Live 2004: Bluesgarage Isernhagen) (5:54)
11. She's Got Nothing On You (Live 2004: Musiktheater Rex In Lorsch) (4:59)

Bruno Frenzel / guitar, vocals
Wolfgang Neuser / organ, keyboards, synth, church organ, vibraphone
Bernd Koschmidder / bass
Bernd Noske / drums, percussion, vocals

George Mac Knickerick / bagpipes
Peter Föller / vocals (11)
Peter Engelhardt / guitar (10,11)
Sascha Kühn / keyboards (10,11)
Cyborg Haines / bass (10)
Sascha Delbrouck / bass (11)

Whilst the first six albums from this taboo-baiting outfit are all well worth exploring, it is probably 'Hoodoo Man' which best personifies the lightning-hot heavy rock sound Birth Control were, during their earlier days at least, so adept at producing. Featuring yet another controversial sleeve design - this time it's a gruesomely overweight woman toying with what can only be described as some kind of bizarre, wind-up skeletal junkie - 'Hoodoo Man' finds the German outfit in blistering form. Indeed, everything about 'Hoodoo Man' simply exudes confidence, the improved production quality showing off the group's razor-sharp brand of manic, high-tempo power-prog to ear-shattering effect. This time around then the focus is very much on bristling grooves, crazed organ solo's and pumped-up riffs, the evil, psych-tinged sound of 'Operation' now fully mutated into a powerful new strain of galloping proto-metal best emphasised by the crushing rhythms of 'Suicide', the gloriously anthemic strains of fan-favourite 'Gamma Ray' and, best of all, the charging organ-drenched groove of 'Get Down To Your Fate'. A remarkable song, 'Get Down To Your Fate' is Birth Control cruising at full steam, rushing breathlessly through eight minutes of heavy prog mayhem as frenzied organs, chiming guitar licks and drummer Bernd Noske's throaty vocals swirl into a manic whole that never lets up for a minute. As progressive as it is heavy - bluesy foundations underscore the more experimental elements - 'Hoodoo Man' pulls of the very difficult trick of allowing its creators to wander freely among the seared landscape reaped by their own sonic carnage, yet never losing focus and heading off into those frustratingly over-elaborate prog cul-de-sacs that many groups fall into, ultimately going nowhere. Not Birth Control. Every track here has a purpose and a power, the dynamic tone set by opening gambit 'Buy!' meticulously maintained throughout. By their own admission, this was always a group in search of the easy shocks, an image that has at times undoubtedly overshadowed the actual music being cooked up, yet here the combination of deliberately provocative imagery and pulsating heavy rock makes for a wonderfully heady brew. Among their very best, 'Hoodoo Man' comes highly recommended. Heavy stuff indeed. 

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