BIRTH CONTROL

Hard Rock / Non-Metal / Heavy Psych • Germany
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Birth Control is a German Krautrock band known for their progressive hard-rock sound and provocative album covers.

Birth Control formed in the middle of 1968 in Berlin from two other bands, the Earls and the Gents. The initial members were: Bernd Koschmidder (bass), Reinhold Sobotta (organ), Rolf Gurra (saxophone and vocals), Fritz Groeger (vocals), Klaus Orso (guitar), Reiner Borchert (guitar), and Hugo Egon Balder (percussion).

After a series of disappointing albums in the early 1980s, the group disbanded, but reunited in 1993 with only drummer/lead vocalist/band leader Bernd 'Nossi' Noske remaining along with new members. The band continues to tour in Germany and release new albums periodically. As of recently, former members Peter Föller (bass, vocals) and Zeus B. Held (keyboards, reeds) from the band's classic period have been making special guest appearances at gigs. Sadly, original guitarist/songwriter Bruno Frenzel died on September 21, 1983 from a long illness.

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BIRTH CONTROL Discography

BIRTH CONTROL albums / top albums

BIRTH CONTROL Birth Control album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Birth Control
Heavy Psych 1970
BIRTH CONTROL Operation album cover 3.11 | 6 ratings
Operation
Hard Rock 1971
BIRTH CONTROL Hoodoo Man album cover 4.15 | 9 ratings
Hoodoo Man
Hard Rock 1972
BIRTH CONTROL Rebirth album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Rebirth
Hard Rock 1973
BIRTH CONTROL Plastic People album cover 3.34 | 3 ratings
Plastic People
Hard Rock 1975
BIRTH CONTROL Backdoor Possibilities album cover 2.71 | 4 ratings
Backdoor Possibilities
Non-Metal 1976
BIRTH CONTROL Increase album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Increase
Hard Rock 1977
BIRTH CONTROL Titanic album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Titanic
Hard Rock 1978
BIRTH CONTROL Rock On Brain album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rock On Brain
Hard Rock 1978
BIRTH CONTROL Count On Dracula album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Count On Dracula
Hard Rock 1980
BIRTH CONTROL Deal Done At Night album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Deal Done At Night
Hard Rock 1981
BIRTH CONTROL BÄNG! album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
BÄNG!
Hard Rock 1982
BIRTH CONTROL Two Worlds album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Two Worlds
Non-Metal 1995
BIRTH CONTROL Jungle Life album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jungle Life
Hard Rock 1996
BIRTH CONTROL Getting There album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Getting There
Hard Rock 1998
BIRTH CONTROL Alsatian album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Alsatian
Hard Rock 2003

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BIRTH CONTROL Reviews

BIRTH CONTROL Operation

Album · 1971 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
A rough take on the bluesy hard prog that Birth Control would refine further on the subsequent Hoodoo Man - it even shares that album's style in grotesque cover art. Here, however, I feel like Birth Control's sound hasn't yet come together. Reinjhold Sobotta is OK on keyboards, but I feel like Wolfgang Neuser's performance on Hoodoo Man is superior - in fact, it was rather key to my enjoyment of that album, and I'm really feeling his absence here. This is OK if you really like the early Uriah Heep and Deep Purple style, but even then I'm not sure why you would put this album on if you had the better releases by those bands (or Hoodoo Man) to hand.

BIRTH CONTROL Hoodoo Man

Album · 1972 · Hard Rock
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Warthur
Though some prog fans may prefer later Birth Control albums such as Plastic People or Backdoor Possibilities, perhaps due to the more mannered, polished, and symphonic-leaning keyboard playing of Zeus B. Held, I greatly prefer the raw, dirty, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep-derived heavy psych-rock of Hoodoo Man, which derives much of its pleasures from the keyboard work of Wolfgang Neuser. This would be Neuser's sole album with the group, which is kind of a shame, because he's able to range from bluesy Deep Purple-esque playing to more classical-influenced organ work reminiscent of the more hard rocking moments of early ELP with ease. The distinctive Hammond organ sound would drain away from Birth Control beginning with the subsequent Rebirth, which is a shame because this album is pretty decent... shame about the horrible cover art, though.

BIRTH CONTROL Plastic People

Album · 1975 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
The title of this one might make you think of the Mothers of Invention, who opened Absolutely Free with a song of the same name, but Plastic People isn't Birth Control's take on Frank Zappa: instead, it occupies a sort of borderline between symphonic and space rock styles, of the sort which Eloy were also exploring at around this time. Zeus B. Held's keyboard playing is particularly prominent, and the album is a pleasant listen which will appeal to fans of the more symphonic and less Krautrock end of German prog, though a lack of really compelling and strong compositions means Birth Control don't hit the fourth star this time around.

BIRTH CONTROL Backdoor Possibilities

Album · 1976 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Birth Control followed up Plastic People by toning down the hard rock side of their sound and diving straight into symphonic territory with Backdoor Possibilities, to the point where at points Bernd Noske's vocals sound like he's trying to channel Greg Lake. However, musically speaking the band only show a fairly superficial understanding of the trappings of the symphonic prog genre.

Rather than trying to get an in-depth understanding of the sources other symphonic bands were drawing on in creating their sound, the album sounds like Birth Control wrote the songs by saying "OK, we'll have a Genesis bit here... and we'll try for a Gentle Giant bit there..." and so on - and their attempts to draw on the sound of other prog bands in creating this melange are rather unconvincing. On the whole, not an album I enjoyed, and an album which even those who quite enjoyed Plastic People should probably approach with caution.

BIRTH CONTROL Hoodoo Man

Album · 1972 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Bmiler
Birth Control followed Operation with Hoodoo Man. This time they moved to a much bigger label, CBS. Their previous album was on the very unlikely Ohr label, a label you associate with the early stuff of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, plus Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Duul (not Amon Duul II), Mythos, Floh de Cologne, and so on. Beside there was a lot of controversy surrounding Rolf Ulrich Kaiser, the owner of this label (as well as Pilz, and Ohr's successor labels, Die Kosmische Kurier and Kosmische Musik), particularly regarding the Cosmic Jokers.

Hoodoo Man proves, once again that these guys can rock! Just take a look at "Buy", the band attacking mindless consumerism. It's hard to believe something recorded in 1972 can hold so much relevance to this day, especially here in America. I also love that synth solo. "Suicide" is a nice jazzy piece, with electric piano. This might have more in common with jazz-leaning prog (the band often leaned towards prog to begin with, and Plastic People and Backdoor Possibilities are very much prog). "Get Down to Your Fate" is another that rocks, really love those organ riffs. "Gamma Ray" has a more funky feel to it, with the organ playing. Apparently it was released as a single and became a hit. "Hoodoo Man" is a more complex piece, still heavy but with prog leanings, while the last piece is an instrumental jam, with a famous Scottish bagpipe song played on synth at the end. There's some Scotsman named George MacKnickerick credited to playing bagpipes, but no real bagpipes to be found here.

For those who love early '70s hard rock, who don't mind the occasional prog leanings, you really can't go wrong here.

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