Atomic Rooster – Death Walks Behind You, 1970

Death Walks Behind You is Atomic Roosters second album and finest hour. Backed by Vincent Crane with wizard like control over the Hammond organ, John Du Cann(formally Cann) with dizzying guitar licks a la Eric Clapton, and Paul Hammond with an aggressive and hammering style of drumming.

With Atomic Rooster as the sole words on the cover and an impression of Nebuchadnezzar for the album art you’ll be unprepared for what this album has to offer.

Tracks:

01. Death Walks Behind You, 7:28 This song starts of with a rather ominous piano intro, which becomes down right creepy with Du Canns double stop bends and what sounds like a squelching amalgamation of cells. It finally crescendo into the full sound around the one minute mark. With a heavy combination of Vincent’s Organ and John Du Cann’s riffing, repeating the name of the track “Death Walks Behind You”. The rest of the song carries on for a run time of 7:28 without getting any less dramatic.

02. Vug, 4:57 A purely instrumental track, and arguably the most progressive sounding on the album. The organ somehow manages to be the backbone and the lead instrument here, akin to Ray Manzarek of The Doors.

03. Tomorrow Night, 3:56 A rather cheesy song with a catchy hook, some cool guitar riffs and drumming.

04. 7 Streets, 6:40 Introduced with church like organs leading into heavy riffing and the organ upping the tempo this track is reminiscent of Uriah Heep.

05. Sleeping for Years, 5:24 The first song that is lead by John Du Cann’s guitar, and not organ, has a sludgy guitar riff and a great heavy drumming. The best solo this album has to offer can be had on this.

06. I Can’t Take No More, 3:32 My personal favorite. Similar to Tomorrow Night with a “pop” sound. I feel this song could have done well as a single. The faux-bass(Vincent Cranes left hand) has a Don’t Bring Me Down – ELO vibe going on.

07. Nobody Else, 4:58 Introduced with ballad like and melancholic playing from Crane with a neat vocal part by Du Cann. This picks up tempo with a great guitar solo by Du Cann before eventually falling back into the ballad-esque mood.

08. Gershatzer, 7:58 Closing off the album with the longest track, an instrumental piece, opening with a full organ sound and a showcase of Vincent Cranes fluency over the Hammond organ as a solo organ piece. Eventually giving way to a break with Paul Hammonds drumming ability, which is best displayed here than anywhere else on the album, and then to organ and drum trade-offs.

Rating: 7/10

Genres: Hard Rock, Heavy Prog, Proto-Goth

Personnel:

John Du Cann: vocals, guitar, bass

Vincent Crane: Hammond organ, backing vocals, piano, keyboard bass

Paul Hammond: drums, percussion

Run Time: 45:27

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