Amon Duul II - Phallus Dei (1969); Biography by Steven McDonald

Amon Düül preferred the commune life to the hurly-burly of the music business, releasing several albums edited from recordings of a single extended jam session conducted in 1968. Several commune members with greater musical ambitions formed Amon Düül II -- they saw no reason to struggle for a new name, or argue over the original. The new group was helmed by John Weinzierl, Chris Karrer and Renate Knaup-Kroetenschwanz, and set to work to produce an impressive debut with Phallus Dei. This was followed quickly by the double album Yeti, the cover of which features one of the band's roadies.

Review by Ned Raggett 4 1/2 stars

"Kanaan" starts the album wonderfully, a melange of rumbling rock power, strings and sitars, Lothar Meid's almost Bowie-ish vocals with Renate Knaup's wordless chanting in the background, that's just as intoxicating many years after its first appearance as it was upon release. The slightly jazzy concluding minute avoids sounding forced, blending in beautifully with the song's general flow. "Dem Guten, Schoenen, Wahren" takes a truly wacked-out turn, with Meid's bizarre falsetto coming to the fore, swooping around the main melodies without regard for them in yelps and chants, while the music chugs along in what almost sounds like a beer-hall singalong at points, taking a more haunting, beautiful turn at others (the heavily produced violins are an especially spooky touch). "Luzifers Ghilom" brings out the psych-folk origins of the band a bit more with Shrat's bongos, while the rest of the band pulls off a nicely heroic rock piece that never sounds too inflated or stupid, with appropriately nutty vocal breaks and interjections along the way -- the sublime and the ridiculous never sounded so good together. "Henriette Krotenschwanz" ends the first side with a brief choral military march (if you will). The title track takes up the remainder of the album, a complex piece which never loses a sense of fun while always staying musically compelling. After a quiet start, the opening minutes consist of a variety of drones and noises constantly brought up and down in the mix, leading to a full band performance that builds and skips along with restrained fuzz power. Everything builds to a sudden climax halfway through, where all the members play a series of melodies in unison, while drums pound in the background. After a quick violin solo, everything settles into a fine percussion jam, with the full band kicking in shortly thereafter. With Karrer's crazed vocals showing where Mark E. Smith got some good ideas from, Phallus gets the Düül II career off to a flying start.


1. - Phallus Dei
2. - Kanaan
3. - Dem Guten, Schonen, Wahren
4. - Luzifers Ghilom
5. - Henriette Krotenschwanz
6. - 'TouchMaPhal' (Bonus)
7. - I Want The Sun To Shine (Bonus)

Playing Time.........: 01:02:31
Total Size...........: 354,87 MB


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Amon Duul II - Phallus Dei (1969) (2006 SPV)

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