Necronomicon-Schriftzug



On the release of NECRONOMICON's first LP, Petra Bosetti wrote in her review for the newspaper "Aachener Nachrichten" (Aachen News):
" With their LP, Necronomicon show convincingly, having put some efforts into the lyrics, that you can easily sing in German, without the lyrics sounding strange or wooden. For Necronomicon the music does not only exist as means of transport for the text, but it does exist for its own purpose. The hard rock they are playing is strongly reminiscent of their ideals (most of all Uriah Heep), and is often interrupted by interesting intermezzi. Whereby especially the introductions show Necronomicon's originality. In a direct comparison of "Tips zum Selbstmord" with other self-made productions, it can be said that this initial release definitely is exceptionally well done. A fact which is also showing in its remarkable sound quality as well as--apart from some small inconsistencies--in its sparkling technique of play. It only remains to be wished that the very well done first LP will help Necronomicon to attract a label."

Later on in the same year the LP and the group was presented to a bigger audience in an interview of the SWF's "pop-shop" by Frank Laufenberg.

In 1990 a limited numbered edition of 500 copies of "Vier Kapitel" (Four chapters) (Little Wing of Refugees LW 1010/1011/1012/1013) was released. The outstandingly well-done 4LP set is since long sold out. The third LP of the four ones contains "Tips zum Selbstmord" and was taken from the master tape. On the other three LPs you can find prior unreleased recordings from 1971 through 1974. The whole edition doesn't come in a jewel box, but in book form, like "Living in the past" by Jethro Tull. Finally, an extract taken from the accompanying text of "Vier Kapitel":
" The rivalry between Norbert Breuer and Walter Sturm prooved to be productive for the band. Sturm, an admirer of Lovecraft, gave the group its name, and under his influence, Necronomicon began to play a heavy, guitar based, progressive rock. Norbert Breuer, who was more into politics, was responsible for the political lyrics. Thus, Necronomicon pioneered a new trend: they melted the themes of the antiauthoritarian movement into rock music. At last they fell between all stools. Musically Necronomicon cared less about virtuosity and the talent for improvisations, but were more into the construction of complex arrangements. These were based on Walter Sturm's heavy guitar and cleverly made vocal movements in a Byronical tradition. According to the spirit of the times, the tracks became longer and longer. Not only Necronomicon kept on being a quite extraordinary rock band, but they also became themselves a synthesis of the arts. This they owed to Harald Bernhard, an artist, who was capable of converting their music graphically into an artistic concept, as it can be seen on their concert posters, the promotion material, and their LP cover. On all these you can find graphical translations of what they claimed musically: it is, again and again, the varied theme of the always available and exploited human body. There is no other German rock band of this time, who, and in such an impressive way too, is wondering about the esthetical relation between content and form, like Necronomicon did. Because of the already mentioned reasons, the LP was rather taken as an annoyance, although it was even to be heard on radio in a programme of the Südwestfunk. An interview held a little bit later with Frank Laufenberg, the German pope of rock music, ended disastrous: In his show "Pop-Shop" on SWF 3 he was fed up so obviously that he tried to understand the music on the level of a sociology class and even put the emphasis of his program on the discussion about the exact number of the world population."

About 25 years after the foundation of the group, Dag Erik Asbjørnsen in "Cosmic Dreams at Play" (Glasgow 1996) made a review of the band's history and their style of music: " Famous for their eponymous album which is sought after by collectors world-wide, Necronomicon came from Aachen, a city near the German borders with the Netherlands and Belgium. They adapted the name Necronomicon from an H.P. Lovecraft novel and built up a spectacular live repertoire during 1971. It featured complex heavy progressive song arrangements with awkward German lyrics that dealt with ecological problems, the threat of a nuclear disaster, the end of mankind and pure despair. A demo recording of a performance at the Mensa, Aachen, 1971, was unearthed by the archaeologists at Little Wing and released as parts one and two of their lavish 4-LP + book Necronomicon-set (LW 1010/11/12/13), released in 1990 in co-operation with the band.
Part one consisted of previously unheard compositions and part two of different versions of the songs that later would appear on their only album: "Tips Zum Selbstmord".
/ Necronomicon proved themselves to be a band with the same seriousness and sense of large scale works as the most extreme Italian bands. Sadly, the technical quality of these early recordings was on the same level as certain bootlegs and the performance a bit rough in places. Even so this historic document is absorbing. With the economic support of a friend, Necronomicon set off to a semi-professional studio in the Netherlands (in March and April 1972) to record what has become the ultimate collector's item for purveyors of German progressive rock: "Tips Zum Selbstmord", released in a lavish multi fold-out cover, in the shape of a cross. The highly talented drawings were done by Harald Bernhard and pictured tortured bodies and painful faces, building up an intricate whole, reminiscent of some nightmarish Hieronymus Bosch work (but no fantasy monsters!). Few would deny that this is one of the best and most unique German records of the early seventies. There were biting guitar leads throughout, shimmering, painful vocals, a garage organ trying to battle with Bach, sudden shifts of tempos and moods, including passages of more primitive heavy garage rock. For the want of hotter comparisons: imagine the best elements of vintage Uriah Heep with the lyrical awareness of a political rock band like Floh de Cologne. Perhaps this is the music that Wagner would have made if he had lived in 1945 and experienced the bombing raids over Germany, freaked out in the sixties and decided to be a rock musician and then had bad trips for years due to the daily news on TV! Remarkably enough, the album was recorded on just two backs, approximately recorded live in the studio. It was released in a limited edition of 500 copies and is probably THE most hunted German record. The odd copy that turns up sells easily for 1,700 OEM or more. It is cheaper to purchase it as part 3 of the Little Wing 4 LP box!
From 1972 to the end of 1973 the group worked on new material with a revised line-up: guitar player Walter Sturm quit to join Rufus Zuphall, Fistus Dickmann was replaced with Dieter Ose and Detlev Hakenbeck replaced by Gerd Libber. Some of the new compositions lasted for sixty minutes! In fact, such material proved to be almost impossible to play live, and the songs were consequently edited down to a length of 10 to 15 minutes. As such, they were recorded live in their rehearsal room in 1974. Walter Sturm had now returned to the band. Little Wing compiled 45 minutes from the only remaining source, a low quality cassette. It's only interesting for collectors as another historic document of their development. The desperation had now faded to mere resigned statements about mankind's cynical nature. As such they were now closer to other refined political rock bands."

Another review of the same record by Rolf Semprebon (All Music Guide): " A group like Necronomicon typifies some of the mystic and magic around a lot of early 1970s Krautrock in the way they take the idealism of the late 60ies hippy era, and filter it through a Teutonic angst that has more in common with late 70ies punks and more recent movements like grunge. The title of their one and only record, "Tips Zum Selbstmord" (How To Commit Suicide in German), certainly seems more in step with punk's nihilism, even as it raised a few eyebrows when it came out in 1972. In early 1971 the group formed in Aachen, Germany, near the borders of both the Netherlands and Belgium.
Taking their name from an H.P. Lovecraft novel, the initial group consisted of Norbert Breuer on guitar and vocals, Harald Bernhard on drums, and Walter Sturm on guitar and vocals. They soon recruited organ-and-keyboardist Fistus Dickmann and bassist Detlev Hakenbeck and constructed an elaborate live repertoire of heavy progressive rock songs with long, complex structures and arrangements. Whereas many German bands at the time sang in English, Necronomicon sang in German, and their lyrics dealt with environmental problems, air pollution, the nuclear arms race, and the suppression of women. With over-the-top acid guitar riffs and more Pink Floyd-ish psychedelic moments, the group's music was dark and powerful. By February of 1972 Bernhard Hocks had replaced Hakenbeck on bass and the group received financial support to record an album. In that month or March 1972 they entered a semi-professional studio in the Netherlands to record Tips Zum Selbstmord. The record was self-released not long after that, in a limited edition of 500 copies with an elaborate multi-paneled cover that folded out in the shape of a cross, with illustrations done by drummer Bernhard depicting nightmarish images of tortured bodies and anguished faces. The record has since become one of the highest priced collectors items among German rock records of that era.
In late 1972 Necronomicon went through some lineup changes; Sturm quit to join Rufus Zuphall, while Dieter Ose replaced Dickmann on organ and keyboards, and Gerd Libber replaced Hocks on bass. Throughout 1973 they worked on new material, and some of their compositions at this time were nearly an hour long, and almost impossible to play live. In 1974, Sturm returned to the band, and the group even recorded a demo cassette live in their living room. By now the group was playing more melodic progressive rock with much less anger and angst. The group may have existed as late as 1981 though no other recordings were made. In 1990 the Little Wing of Refugees label released the 4-record set Vier Kapitel that included "Tips Zum Selbstmord", two records worth of live material from the early days in 1971, and 45-minutes from the 1974 cassette. Though on most of it the sound quality is not very good, the brilliance of Necronomicon's music still shines through. Little Wing eventually released Tips Zum Selbstmord by itself on CD in 1996 with a generic cover."

At the occasion of the reintroduction of "Tips zum Selbstmord" on CD (2004; Garden-of-Delights), AQUARIUS wrote:
" At last, again, reissued: a masterpiece of suicidal, political Krautrock heaviosity from 1972. NECRONOMICON. Freaky then, freaky now. Psychedelic hard rock that was about as 'extreme' as it got at the time... definitely if Terrorizer magazine had existed back then, these Germans would have made the cover. Not that this extreme by today's blackened metal standards, as there's enough pretty and melodic elements included amongst the fuzz riffage to satisfy the mellower hippie types in the Necronomicon freak-scene. And, they're no Black Sabbath. Still, pretty far gone for '72. The title: How To Kill Yourself. Now that's a bad trip. The very first track, the seven-minute "Prolog", almost makes the remainder of this album superflous, as it's a full, epic encapsulation Necronomicon's heavy prog excess. Theirs is an album replete with stinging acid guitar, heady Hammond organ, and monkish chanting. Ecclisastical choirs wail over trudging, yearning guitar and organ -- shades of Magma and J.A. Caesar.
It's like Amon Duul II murdering Pink Floyd and riding their animated corpses all the way to hell. Again, not in any way metal, but what you might call Wagnerian garage-psych. This was first reissued on cd some years ago by Little Wing of Refugees (with a different, generic cover). When we first got it in at Aquarius then, we were all ready to be disappointed 'cause what band ever lives up to an H.P. Lovecraft inspired name like Necronomicon? Well, Shub Niggurath did, and so do these guys. I've had a copy lurking in my cd collection for years now, and now am happy to replace it with this new edition, complete with four bonus tracks and the usual, deluxe Garden-of-Delights packaging (a cd booklet thick enough to barely fit in the jewel case, full of text and full color graphics). Actually, come to think of it, who knows? With a '70s era psych import LP like this, we might have once stocked it REALLY long ago, way back in Aquarius' storied past, when it first came out on vinyl... well no, not this, the private press original was/is waaaay to rare. And too weird. Definitely an obscure but A-list kraut/psych album for those with occult tastes..."

March, 2013: Review of the new record "Haifische": www.ragazzi-music.de