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Monday, June 6, 2011

Ache - De Homine Urbano / Green Man

The Danish scene was a magical-era of the late ‘60s in the psychedelic and prog territory. Bands like Burnin’ Red Ivanhoe, Culpepper’s Orchard, and of course The Savage Rose, blew the outside world away. But it also can remain a mysterious atmosphere. Take a band like Ache who was formed in 1968 by keyboardist, Peter Mellein, a graduate at the Danish Academy of Music. He was influenced by what was going in England during that time period and soon he formed the band and created a dark yet haunting debut album that would have the ballet dancers knock their socks off and dance to different time changes.

Originally released on the Philips label in 1970, De Homine Urbano was their concept to write a ballet rock instrumental and it works fine magically. The music was dark, evil, hidden, and sinister that would have filled the theatre to a shocking surprise at the end, combining with dooming guitar sounds and venomous organ sounds, it would have made Ache’s musical composition pieces set to a horror score, but the passages and time signatures that would have listeners say, “How the hell did they do that?!”

The opening 19-minute title track, starts out as mourning guitar sounds and the organ starting off the ceremony in a gothic cathedral, then goes into a field day, fuzz tone territory, swirling adventures, and the last 5-minutes of the piece is their homage to Procol Harum’s In Held ‘Twas In I. The 18-minute sci-fi rocker, Little Things, is an early reincarnation of Julian’s Treatment’s A Time Before This filled with spoken-words narrative, adventurous storytelling complex songs, filling that with; organ, crash of the ride cymbal, demonic guitar and bass lines come in together, this is a ride that you’ll never forget.

The theatrical movement was in the band’s mind and that was where the direction they wanted to go and that resulted in their second album. 1971’s Green Man kept in touch of the dark theatre in the realms of Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft and concentrated on the focus on musical rock theatre. Instead of 18 and 19-minute epics, let’s say the tracks are a little shorter; however it kicks plenty of asses. They are very much rock operatic though, Ache’s music still carries the sound of the debut album, but more of a darker version of Sgt. Pepper.

Songs like the melodic turned thunderous passages opener, Equatorial Rain and the soaring bluesy flashback narrative story of a young girl named Sweet Jolly Joyce makes the Pretty Things wish they could have put this song in S.F. Sorrow. And while the 5-minute epic, The Invasion is a swirling whirlpool of terror mixed with guitar solos and Hammond touches that sends passages into darker territories, the sinister single in the realms of Procol Harum, Shadow of a Gypsy, still carries like a real punch in the gut with its mysterious lyrics and darker territories that would have made the band open for the English band.

The title track goes into an acoustic/harpsichord classical adventure as it goes into a raga-rock clapping psychedelic hippie power house while Acheron clouds into Morrison Hotel-era of a Jazz Blues Rock section before closing the album with a funky groove improvisation of the Beatles classic, We Can Work It Out as they go into a psychedelic jam for the last 5-minutes. These albums stood the test of time and gave the beast a chance to run free and go buck wild. Obscure Prog at its finest.

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