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The First 10 Explosive Years, Vol. 2

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Album Review

Following on, of course, from the first volume of First 10 Explosive Years, this 18-track collection is again devoted to exploring guitarist John du Cann's two stints with Atomic Rooster, between 1970-1972 and 1979-1982. First impressions suggest that it is more heavily weighted toward the latter period than its predecessor — all but two of the songs from 1980's Atomic Rooster comeback album are included, together with the rare 1982 single "End of the Day," all restating the often-overlooked drama and dynamics of that particular set. "I Can't Stand It" still has "hit single" written all over it. Nine cuts from the early years, meanwhile, remind listeners why it was actually worth the band's while re-forming all those years later. Even at the height of the progressive rock boom, Atomic Rooster packed a punch that utterly belied their adhesion to the then-fashionable guitar/organ/drums lineup and, though they never received the attention that awaited others of that ilk, clearly their efforts were not forgotten — the late-'70s New Wave of British Heavy Metal adopted Atomic Rooster even before they re-formed, and the brain-damaging likes of "VUG" and "Friday the 13th" prove that such enthusiasm was not misplaced. Elsewhere, "The Rock" (the original B-side to the hit "Devil's Answer" single) packs an almost funky vibe, while the immortally titled "A Spoonful of Bromide Helps the Pulse Rate Go Down," from 1971's In Hearing of Atomic Rooster album, has a virtuoso flair that, pursued to its logical extreme, could have spawned an entire new genre of "death jazz." That neither Atomic Rooster nor anyone else ever bothered pursuing that particular direction is a blessing for which listeners should probably be grateful — but it is fun in small doses.

Biography

Formed: 1969 in England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Atomic Rooster was a British progressive-rock group formed in 1969 with an original lineup of Vincent Crane (organ), Nick Graham (bass), and Carl Palmer (drums). Their debut album, Atomic Rooster, hit number 49 in the U.K. in June 1970, after which Graham and Palmer left the group. Crane maintained the name and recruited guitarist/singer John Cann and drummer Paul Hammond for the second album, Death Walks Behind You, which hit number 12 in the U.K., where it featured the number 11 single "Tomorrow...
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The First 10 Explosive Years, Vol. 2, Atomic Rooster
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