Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Amon Duul II - Yeti

Amon Duul II

Released 1970 on Liberty
Reviewed by zmnathanson, 22/03/2009ce

Among the influences and its fans including Julian Cope (thanks for getting me into this band!), a band that was completely ahead of their time and never got the experiemental scene of the early '70s going in their hometown in Germany. Alongside Krautrock legends including; Tangerine Dream, CAN, Faust, Ash Ra Tempel, and NEU!, the band that deserves the attention the most is defintely Amon Duul II. From the ashes of the Amon Duul, Amon Duul II had a taste of bizarre science-fiction rock music, psychedelic jam sessions, and folky fiddlers pounding away like fucking psychopaths at the end of the flower generation of the '60s and into the '70s.

The group followed up their freak-out album which was an answer to the Grateful Dead with the release of Phallus Dei (God's Penis) in 1969 and into their second album Yeti, a dynamic strange album which features a cover of the grim reaper looking more anti-hippie than ever, they pushed the envelope very, VERY, VERY FAR! With guitarist and violinist Chris Karrer, guitar and pianist John Weinzeri, bassist Lothar Meid, drummer Peter Leopold, keyboardist Falk U Rogner, and germany's answer to Grace Slick of the '70s, Renate Knaup-Krroetenschwanz to the mix, was a pefrect combination of heavy volume acid folk music gone horribly wrong.

Amon Duul II at the time were a cult band in the '70s drawing word-of-mouth from supporters including David Bowie and Rolling Stone critic Lester Bangs in which he says 'There has never been a group quite like Amon Düül II before, and there may never be another to transmute so many sounds ever again.' Turns out that he was 100% right. I mean you'll never see them performing at gigantic stadiums and selling out to the fucking mainstream bullshit you see on MTV and VH1. Anyway, back to Yeti. This album, turn this motherfucker up to 100 and make sure you take a shitload of acid and LSD while putting you're headphones on to this stoner krautrock masterpiece over 13 tracks to make you go apeshit over.

With fuzztone guitars and vocals, sinister violin sounds coming from an alternate soundtrack of the Wicker Man, Yeti was germany's answer to the Prog Rock genre and of course the beginning of the Krautrock-era. Strangely, Musically, it pushed the buttons that derserved to be pushed arrangement and composition's that you'll never hear in any Frank Zappa album. The 3-minute garage rocker Burning Sister which had become a kind of a live favorite for them in their Live in London album, is certainly a proto-hard rock killer with psychedelic guitar solos and dynamic drum work to fill the void as it segues to Halluzination Guillotine to close up the sequel with its trippy vocals, bass lines which almost sounded like Pink Floyd's Careful with that Axe Eugene as Chris does a dark montone singing vocals as he sings about the 15th centuries gorefest killings while Renate does some witchy vocals that seemed like it was too scary for halloween, but perfect for a horrorshow.

Gulp a Sonata is basically guitar and Renate and Chris own take to do their own homage of Operattic vocals and the fiddle sounding like a movie soundtrack as it goes into the 6-minute Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm, a pasaging trouble funeral music gone haywire, not bombastic than Steve Howe's guitar and Darryl Way's fiddling can't stop it, the track goes into an darker folk music with its Anti-Vietnam message as it goes into a space trip mode at the very end into a freak-out mode and then repeating the notes from the opening introduction of Burning Sister as it ends with the fiddle; it seemed that Karrer decided to leave that at the last minute to give you a suprise moment for a brief second. She Came Through the Chimney starts off as an Indian pasage and its Quicksilver Messenger Service guitar solos while Karrer does some disturbing noises on the violin that would make your ears screech and bleed really hard for this insturmental passage.

And then we go right into a proto punk rock style with Archangel Thunderbird as Renate takes over the vocals which almost sound very gothic and very Night on Bald Mountain for her to sing her heart out which has more of darker view of the apocalypse of war while Cerebus becomes more of a fast-sped Robert Fripp acoustic folk music at first and then becomes a fuzztone dimension. The Return of Rubezahl becomes an egyptian rock sound and almost coming out of a japanese rock album for the industrial-era as it moves into Eye Shaking King, a dark vicious piece which has a fuzzy vocals that you almost couldn't understand what Karrer is saying but the instruments follow him into a pool of blood parade that would have made Robert Calvert and Hawkwind proud while Pale Gallery features Rogner's 2-minute homage to Tangerine Dream's Electronic Meditation on the keyboards.

Then we go right into the mysterious groundbreaking quality of epic proportions with the self-titled track for 18-minutes of an alternate crossover of a heavy psych sounds of Frank Zappa meets Varese in German style. It has the same combinations of Phallus Dei, but more black and very oddly normal than your typical Krautrock album. It begins with the drums and guitar doing their homages to Africa and India as the keyboards sound almost like something out of Interstellar Overdrive and then guitarists Kerrer and Weinzeri take over a do a battle of the guitars and it isn't just a guitar battle, but more of who's got the guts to battle over who does a heavy job to be the best cult guitar player ever egyptian style! Then the drums come in to calm them down and the bass comes in as Karrer and Renate sings about the god while Weinzeri does some heavy virtuoso guitar solos than ever before alongside Michael Karoli, Hendrix, and Manuel Gottsching.

And then the last 3-minutes, it calms down into a laser show with the wah-wah setting the scenery of psychedelic colors on the instrumentations to set a dynamic and shattering movements that seemed very odd for the 13th century that seemed ancient for the slaves to play with their heads and looking over the horizon to see this band playing their hearts out for them to be free and enjoying the music which almost reminds me a little bit of Pink Floyd's Fat Old Sun. And then it becomes even more aggressive with Yeti Talks to Yogi. This is an improvisation that you MUST hear from beginning to end. In the midsection Leopold takes over on the drums like a mad scientist while the guitars rhythmically does a chugging on the wah-wah a few seconds as Falk's keyboards do some groovy ambient noises to fill up the entire album very Rick Wrightish that was almost left off the Ummagumma composition, Sysyphus. And then the guitars come in as the Bass does some solos to do something that seemed weird but fucked up in a good way.

And then it becomes aggressive again with the instruments fighting one by one as the vocalists do a heavy background style that almost deals with death and the end of the world. The last track Sandoz in the Rain is again very acid folk meets Comus' First Utterance. Guitars seemed like their doing their own compositions strumming and fingerpicking at the same time while the flute does an indian solo while Karrer sings like a madman and very calm that could have defintely been a part of Black Sabbath's Solitude from the Masters of Reality album. Strange, Vicious, and Dark at the same time. This is Amon Duul II's essential lost treasure of Krautrock and Prog's adventures in the mysterious dark cave.

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