Week of August 18, 2002

Dies Irae

Cord Wahlmann - vocals, harmonica 
Robert J. Schiff - bass
Harald H.G. Thoma - guitar, vocals 
Andreas F. Cornelius - drums 

"1st" (Pilz 20 21114-7) 1972
(ressued on CD by Ohrwaschl, OW026)

This was a great "heavy progressive" quartet from Saarbrücken (near the French border). Their first and only album (entitled, "First") was recorded in just two days (during June 1971) in the Star Studio, Hamburg and produced by the then Pilz' label manager Jurgen Schmeisser. Konrad Plank was (as ever) engineering. Musically they were inspired by several British heavy rockers. The harmonica gave many tracks a bluesy feeling, comparable to the first Black Sabbath album. This group proved to be an inspirational source for the lyrics as well, dealing with drugs and the occult. Included were titles like "Lucifer", "Harmaggedon Dragonlove", "Witches' Meeting", "Red Lebanese" and "Trip". The last mentioned track was the highlight of the album: an eight minute long spacy instrumental crescendo building up to a frenzy, almost like the early Ash Ra Tempel. However, Dies Irae's finest moment was not to be found on their album. A staggering version of "Silent Night" with air defence sirens and bombing noises was Dies Irae's fantastic contribution to the Heavy Christmas album! When Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser later took over the responsibility for Pilz, he changed the label's musical focus more towards folk-rock, releasing classic albums by Hoelderlin, Emtidi, Broselmaschine and Popol Vuh. Dies Irae were indeed hardly folk-rockers, rather folks playing hard rock! They were consequently dropped by the label. Their album is indispensable for heavy progressive collectors, even if not in the same class as Armageddon! It's not very rare, but much in demand.

Taken from Cosmic Dreams at Play - A guide to German Progressive and Electronic Rock by Dag Erik Asbjørnsen, Borderline Productions, ISBN 1-899855-01-7

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