Atomic Rooster – Death Walks Behind You

Quickly following on their mighty debut from the same year, Atomic Rooster‘s Death Walks Behind You confirmed their spot within the top ranks of 1970. The ace component is John Du Cann, who must have been the first guitarist of the nascent hard rock boom to bring subtlety and restraint to that idiom, knowing where to shred, where to bulldoze, and ultimately which junctures to reel himself in. Vincent Crane’s menacing organ and spine tingling piano lend a demonic edge (apropos to the Arthur Browne heritage) while the vocals exhibit a like-minded balance of power and restraint, avoiding both the wailing melisma of so many other demonic bands (like Writing On the Wall) or the ham-fisted machismo of, say, Ian Gillan, which in the end transcends this from a period relic and into an all-time classic of British rock (which also happens to ‘roll’ quite well, a rarity in early hard rock.)

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