Atomic Rooster - The devil hits back - 1999


After many poor compilations, finally someone has decided to put together a good summary of these masters’ work to allow the whole world to understand the mighty Atomic Rooster. Ah!, don’t you know who were Atomic Rooster? I will answer this question: Atomic Rooster are the impersonation of the sound of the excessive Hammond organ, a discharge of hard-progressive adrenaline from the 70’s. The best known fact on this band is maybe that one of its founders was Carl Palmer, but that is not the whole story. Atomic Rooster is the child of Vincent Crane's (keyboards) fevered mind. He had previously destroyed our brains with its Hammond organ in "The Crazy World" of Arthur Brown, and after, together with Palmer and John DuCann (vocals, lead guitar) gave birth to what would be later known as heavy metal in the album "Atomic Ro-o-oster". After this album their music began to rise positions in music charts, thank to the master piece "Death Walks Behind You" and the singles "Devil’s answer" and "Tomorrow night", ending up touring with bands such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath or the Rolling Stones. The peak of their success would come with "In Hearing of...:", but the continuous line-up changes in the band made Crane break the band and move to a number of collaborations and solo projects. A reunion of Atomic Rooster’s original line-up was scheduled for the 90´s, but unfortunately Crane died in San Valentine's day in 1989.


Obviously, as also seen with other progressive hard rock bands at the beginning of the seventies, this is not strictly progressive rock, but it shows its positive influence in some compositions and a brilliant technique. Nevertheless, the band represented a clear advance for the instrumental development of the Hammond organ, maintaining its faithful and peculiar sound along all the albums, and being the core instrument while resting on a piercing guitar and innovative drums full of rhythm and details. In my view, the best comparison, although not completely right, would be with the most progressive Deep Purple, although their songs never exceeded the five minutes duration.

The selection of songs in this compilation is absolutely impressive: "Devil´s answer", "Looking for you", "Tomorrow night", "Lost in space", "The end of the day", and up to 12 classic tracks. For the more knowledgeable, the collection closes with three pieces taken out of a live German radio programme: "Save me", "Tomorrow night" and "Breakthrough", with an amazing sound and production.


Not too much I can add. Atomic Rooster is one of those wonderful unknown bands that is always a pleasure to discover and listen between your Yes or Pink Floyd albums. Certainly this compilation is a pleasure -and at an affordable price- and is of great interest for all lovers of piercing keyboards, followers of the hard-prog 70´s, and in general for lovers of good music. Absolutely recommendable.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - January 2000 -   - NNC