Angel Air Records has been doing an honorable job these last few years unearthing previously unreleased live and studio recordings from proto-metal veterans Atomic Rooster. This rare concert from 1980 features the classic line-up of Vincent Crane on Hammond organ, John Du Cann on guitar and vocals, and Paul Hammond on drums. While the sound quality is average (along the lines of a good bootleg) there is no denying the raw power and energy this band was able to muster on the stage.
Many Atomic Rooster favorites are covered here, including “Death Walks Behind You”, “Tomorrow Night”, “Seven Streets”, and the bands lone hit single “Devil’s Answer.” While earlier live recordings showed the band a bit tighter and Du Cann’s voice in better form, there are still tons of monolithic riffs here, like on “In the Shadows”, and evil Hammond sounds from the master Crane. Some of the more effective tunes in this set happen to be “Gershatzer” and “I Can’t Take No More”, where the band gets to stretch out a bit and jam. Du Cann’s guitar style is like a cross between early Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page, and his bluesy riffs and solos are all over tracks like the raw ‘They Took Control of You” and the tasty instrumental “Watch Out”, where he trades licks with Crane’s funky Hammond lines. Hammond makes his presence felt throughout the set with his maniacal style that for many fans helped ease the loss of Carl Palmer back in the early days of the band.
For Atomic Rooster collectors, this is a must have, but those new to this influential band would be better starting with their first three studio albums first. Despite the average sound quality and cheesy booklet notes, this is a nice package, and a decent live document of an important band in heavy metal and progressive rock history.