Atomic Rooster

Picture of Atomic Rooster

Death Walks Behind You

Atomic Rooster - Death Walks Behind You ©1970 B&C Recordings
1. Death Walks Behind You
2. Vug
3. Tomorrow Night
4. 7 Streets
5. Sleeping For Years
6. I Can't Take It No More
7. Nobody Else
8. Gershatzer

One of these days you'll be playing some trivia game with someone, and they will ask you to name the band with which Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer got his start in music. Because you've read this review, you'll know that it was Atomic Rooster back in the 1960s. In fact, many other bands have had former members of Atomic Rooster in their roster at one tie or another. Atomic Rooster changed musicians and styles more frequently than some folks change their socks. The full history of the band is available at their web site.

Atomic Rooster is one of the more important bands in the psychedelic metal movement of the late 60s and early 70s. Death Walks Behind You is probably the most important album they released. The title track from this album defines the idiom "classic rock." The band has influenced artists such as King's X and Big Elf.

Their core sound centered on the Hammond organ and a lot of bass guitar. This album is one of those must have albums for understanding the primordial roots of progressive metal. Bands like Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Mountain and others that relied on the Hammond organ sound were the pioneers of a sound more melodic and symphonic than that of the early heavy metal sounds of Black Sabbath. These guys were on the first wave of the new wave of British Heavy Metal.

The disc is a fun spin. The sound is certainly not as technical as what you'll find with today's production techniques. Rather it is raw and energetic. The sound has soul and a vibrancy all its own. It is very similar to the early Uriah Heep, Deep Purple sound of the early 70's. It is heavy and melodic. The melodies are very linear but wonderfully catchy. The songs are very accessible and stick in your head for a long time after a listen. If you've an urge to listen to some "real" music, this disc is for you. You won't be listening to a technical masterpiece or something with the slick polish of a smooth production. What you get is a disc of music for the fun of music. No matter your metal tastes, these are your roots and are deserving a listen if only for that reason.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 08/2001

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