AINIGMA — Diluvium (review)

AINIGMA — Diluvium album cover Album · 1973 · Heavy Psych Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Another one of those super ridiculously rare examples of Krautrock came from the one and only album DILUVIUM from the band AINIGMA. This band of three youngsters that consisted of Willi Klüter (organ, lead vocals), Wolfgang Netzer (guitar, bass, vocals) and Michael Klüter (drums) formed in the Bavarian border town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1972 and released its sole album as a private press the following year. Their hometown is best known as the venue where the 1936 Olympic games took place not too far from Innsbruck, Austria.

Having all been interested in music at an early age, this trio jumped on the exploding Krautrock bandwagon and crafted an album’s worth of fuzzy guitar driven heavy psych however while by 1973 when most bands in the scene had perfected their game and created some of the most mondo-bizarro space trips across the universe and back, AINIGMA retained a 1960s charm which made DILUVIUM sound more like a relic from 1968 rather than something that came out during the fully mature progressive rock scene of the early 1970s.

DILUVIUM featured five tracks including the near 18-minute title track. While lumped into the Krautrock world, AINIGMA sounded like a fuzzier version of Cream or Blue Cheer with strong melodic hooks driven by robust organ swells but what really sets the band apart was the buzzsaw guitar distortion, an attribute that made the second wave of black metal stand out in the early 1990s. This album is one of the earliest uses of such heavily distorted power chords fuzzing and buzzing out into oblivion. The tempos also bring the world of doom metal to mind as everything ranges from slow to mid-speed.

In fact if the pacifying organ melodies were removed from the equation, DILUVIUM could possible qualify as a lo-fi black metal demo if it were not for the weakest aspect of the entire album, namely Willi Klüter’s lackadaisical (clean) vocal style which gets the job done and aren’t really offensive but they don’t really rise above and beyond the call of duty either but then again, the vocal style also adds a bit of that classic Kraut detachment and softens the intensity of the organ solos, guitar fuzz and bass and drum bombast.

Often compared to the psychedelic bombast of Vanilla Fudge with a blues rock propensity in the vein of Frumpy and Atomic Rooster, AINIGMA wasn’t afraid to let loose and whip out some crazy drum solos, organ freak outs and progressive time signature deviations from time to time but for the most part, DILUVIUM is a rather straight forward melodic romp through some fo the most fuzzed out guitar rock with creepy organ sounds leading the way. Had the band stuck it out and continued and perhaps with a stronger vocalist, could’ve been more than just a historical relic relegated to the obscurity bin.

Although the original vinyl has been a pricey collectable in the decades since its initial release, the album has seen many reissues with three distinct album cover designs. DILUVIUM has also been released with bonus tracks in 2006 on CD courtesy of the outstanding label Garden of Delights label. This one is for those who love those DIY underground albums that were unadulterated by any record company whims and showcases a young band in a fiery passion. Unfortunately this album doesn’t really stand out in the crowded German scene from the early 1970s but is by no means a throwaway album. Except for the average limited vocal range of the Will Klüter, the music on this one is pretty damn good.
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