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Review Of "Ewige Blumenkraft" By Colour Haze
When looking at the historiography of Rock music, there are basically two countries, which always figure into the sundry narratives discussing it. These countries are, of course, The United States and Great Britain. This is both understandable and appropriate, as the most influential and successful bands hailed from either one or the other of these lands. However, there was, nonetheless, Rock music made in other parts of the world as well, some of which became influential in its own right. One such country, who spawned influential bands, was Germany. Combining a sort of mechanical minimalism with soulful melody, a slough of German groups emerged out of the early 70s to influence everyone from The Red Hot Chili Peppers to Radiohead.
Sadly, these groups (Can, Guru Guru, Novalis, etc.) are largely unknown in America. In their own country, however, they were able to inspire a new generation of bands to come forth, one of which is a giant of the Post-Commercial Era called Colour Haze.
Like The Quill, Colour Haze has been around for twenty years and has produced a catalog of massively stupendous albums, one of which is Ewige Blumenkraft (German for “eternal flower-power”).
For the fans of AOR Rock, who feel forlorn in today's musical climate, this band has everything needed to soothe their weary souls.
Like a caravan of stampeding hippies, Freakshow, the album's first track, comes bursting forth with raging insouciance. Going from jangling chords to heavier parts, it still maintains its joyous mood throughout. Unlike many guitar-heavy bands, who tend to stay in the same somber mood, Colour Haze does a very good job of running the emotional gamut on its albums, as this first track illustrates.
Combining German Rock's mechanical minimalism with heaviness, Almost Gone is also a lesson on how to lay down a smoking groove with great aplomb. Play this at a party, and one will see a conga-line from Hell take shape.
Switching to a more dramatic mood, Smile 2 starts off with tinkling, staccato guitar and bass-figures, which then give way to a massive avalanche of sound. Though full of atmospherics and melody, a song like this proves the band is not lacking in heaviness.
Continuing in the more dramatic vein of songwriting comes Outside, whose main riff is one of the most poignant guitar-melodies I have ever heard in my life. Unlike many heavy bands, whose songs contain a clean, atmospheric part alongside a heavy part, Colour Haze is able to be atmospheric during the heavy part of the song, and Outside is a fine example of that. This song also showcases guitarist Stefan Koglek as the master of the semi-hollow body guitar. Most guitarist in heavy music eschew semi-hollow bodies because their sound is deemed too thin. Koglek, however, is able to create a sound as warm and thick as anyone, while also taking advantage of the guitar's unique, vocal-like qualities.
The fifth track (and this reviewer's favorite) is the song Goddess. If one was to look up the meaning of “epic Rock” in the dictionary, there should be an audio excerpt of this song as part of the definition. The rousing vocal-line, which Koglek sings during the chorus, is the epitome of what a chorus of a Rock song should be. This track would be great as the soundtrack to the climax of a High Fantasy film.
Reverting to a more atmospheric mode, House Of Rushammon starts off with shimmering, meditative guitar-figures and then shifts into dark, funereal realms, the kind of feel most “Gothic” bands wish they could aspire to in their own writing.
Going into heavy-groove mode once more, Reefer is a gleeful romp celebrating all things marijuana. Simple and slow, Colour Haze shows, like many a “Stoner Rock” band shows, one does not have to sound like a swarm of angry locusts, whose buzzing has been dropped down an octave, in order to make a great Heavy Rock track.
Like House Of Rushammon, the song Freedom has a dirge-like quality to it, but spiced up this time with guitar-licks that are part Deutschrock, part Raga, and part Hendrix. Replete with a meditative guitar-solo, the song also shows how Koglek can take the most hackneyed-sounding Rock-lines and make them sound completely fresh, no mean feat after sixty years of Rock guitar.
Another heavy track, Smile 1 brings to the fore something that is a forte of Clour Haze: the ability to create a mood that is equidistant from (or transcends) happiness and sadness. It is this mood that colors (dare I use the pun?) many of its songs.
Lastly, there is the track Elektrohasch. Like Ryan Kickland, Colour Haze has a penchant for sprawling psychedelic jams, and like Kickland's jams, Elektrohasch fails to disappoint. Here Stefan Koglek really gets to strut his stuff as technicolor guitar-figures ever undulate before one's ears.
Here is another band in grave need of our support; let us do all we can to help Colour Haze out.
Now keep calm and buy vinyl.
Colour Haze Official Site
- haze - C O L O U R ✼ H A Z E
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