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18 Jun 2016

Necronomicon “Tips Zum Selbstmord” 1972 German Private Heavy Psych Monster

Necronomicon 1976 from left to right Walter Sturm (Gitarre, Gesang) Bernd Oppitz (Bass) Dieter Ose (Keyboards, Gitarre, Gesang) Harald Bernhard (Schlagzeug, Percussion)

Necronomicon “ Tips Zum Selbstmord” 1972 Mega rare German Heavy Psych Monster


official web site....
Cosmic Dreams:
Famous for their eponymous album which is sought-after by collectors World-wide, Necronomicon came from Aachen, a city near the 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 to record (in March and April 1972) 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.......

“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.“… .......

 It's always difficult reviewing Krautrock, simply because Krautrock, as a genre, tends not to patch directly into the generally accepted definition of Prog Rock - it's much closer to psychedelia. It also tends to be inconsistent - when it's good, it can be stunning, but when bad, falls into directionless, amateurish noodling that can be plain embarrassing.
When approaching this album, I had to rid myself of all the hype surrounding it - much of which, one might suspect, comes from people who own a copy and want to make a fortune selling it on, and take it for what it is.

What it is, is a concept album by a group of guys who had been together for little over a year, performed a few gigs and, thanks to the economic backing of a friend, managed to get into a small studio armed with basic recording equipment (a 2-track Reel-to-Reel) and release what would turn out to be one of the most expensive Prog Rock albums ever.

So it's with calm ears and a fresh pair of Sennheisers that I dive into this highly prized work which, for those who don't like long reviews, really is very, very good indeed - but probably not worth the £1,000+ price tag of an original. It's definitely worth the £15 or so of a repress or CD if (and it's a big IF) you are already a fan of Krautrock.

In summary, so you can skip the tech stuff, it's a Masterpiece for what it is. I hardly ever make this distinction, as I prefer to guage against the "Classic" Prog bands - the justification is in the review below, and no apologies for the length ;0). Note that it's only just made the grade, but it doesn't deserve lower than a 4.8, IMO.

A highly reverbed and slightly manic voice improvises as if testing the microphone, then vocalises the first riff in "Prolog", which is picked up with a bang by the band, and, surprisingly, dropped in a heartbeat, the guitarist appearing to start it, but then tailing off, as if in shame - or possibly disgust. It could be either, given the subject matter of the lyrics. A deeply reverbed and wah-drenched, partially Hendrix-inspired solo follows, angular and jerky, pained and edgy.

A hard series of chords punches through, and a new, tight, heavy riff follows - great headbanging stuff, but you do have to be able to cope with the rough production and knowledge that the band played this entirely live in the studio.

A keyboard joins in, and we get flavours of Iron Butterfly before the vocals come in - and these are of a great quality, with good tones on the high notes and reasonable harmony. There's nothing new or particularly interesting about the ensuing guitar solo - what is of more interest are the unfolding and very powerful riffs - there's a whole wonderland of stealable material in here for bands running out of ideas and needing a little-known source...

The dark tension and clear layers make for a very emotionally draining landscape, and the sudden ending makes you feel like you've fallen off a cliff.

"Requiem Der Natur" begins with huge, hollow and sinister keyboards, coloured with sparkly sounds, before a mellow acoustic guitar brings us to an earthy and folky flavoured section of beautiful drifting sound with flavours of Pink Floyd circa 1968- 1970, but also Necronomicon's very own, very dark style.

Around 3:30, there is some deep, chanting vocal "Ahhs", joined by mid and top- range voices in a quasi "Monks meet operatics" kind of style, building and building until the recording equipment can't cope. Just as you think the equipment will expire, around 4:45, the music drops into a sort of jazz-fusion style, with the band right at the edges of their abilities, but pushing very hard in order to express the music - you'd hardly believe the band had only been together for a year, as it operates as a very cohesive unit, each member giving each other the necessary space to grow and improvise - successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully - but that's always the case with live improv.

A "Big Bottom" style bass solo follows - although, to be fair, the bassist tries really hard to make the improv interesting and exciting - and succeeds to a fair degree, especially when he gives the cue for the keyboard and guitar re-entry - it really isn't apparent, and you have to listen hard several times to get it, it feels so natural.

The Choir section returns - and it feels perfectly natural that it should do so - framing the jazz section very nicely - giving a masterclass in how form can be made to feel spontaneous.

The title track begins with one of the most original intros I've ever heard - incredibly simple (but the best ideas often are), then kicking into an uptempo rocker with falsetto from hell that makes Matt Bellamy sound like a Contra bass... There are lots of goodies in here, including tempo changes, guitar solos, enthusiastic guitar panning, and a dark groove that would provoke many nuns into dancing around mooonlit fires sans habits... in my twisted imagination, at least. There are one or two "baddies" in here too - but easily overlooked.

"Die Stadt", apart from having tuning issues in the acoustic guitar, smacks a little of early Kraftwerk, but darker, naturally, and the intro appears to be a proclamation - Hawkwind style. When the big riff kicks in, it reminds me very much of Mountain in texture, but, true to form, Necronomicon break it all down, with a "cat on a hot tin roof" approach that demonstrates exactly how to go off at tangents and really mean it. One or two timing issues (!) do not spoil the infectious grooves that they settle into, with the now familiar dark keyboard washes and walking bass lines - I get a flavour of Hawkwind's "Master of the Universe" in places. I'm assuming that the spare acoustic was used for the outro ;0)

"In Memoriam" is so dischordant, it too appears to have tuning issues, but these are soon resolved, and it's apparent that the heavy dischords are totally intentional. Very rough at the edges to start with, this piece dives around, and a mixed bag of good and truly superb ideas are thrown out, with decorative fill/synchronised runs that pre-empt Prog metal. Once the band have got into their groove, this really is a piece that every fan of Krautrock should hear - deeply and highly emotional, yet carefully worked out, with plenty of space for improv. Almost perfect, despite occasional timing issues. The ending is particularly notable, although I have to admit the falsetto annoys me too.

Requiem Vom Ende rounds things off consistenly nicely, despite more tuning issues, which we just have to swallow and live with - after all, it's the music that's important. And what we get from the music is more cavernous sounds, thoughtfully meandering bass, then big, crashing chords of chaos, and over-reverbed voices clearly proclaiming rather than singing, carrying an authoritative tone, but dropping back to a wistful, almost mournful air, carrying a strong flavour of Floyd.

Now, around 3:00, is the most powerful moment on the album, a throbbing, pulsating orb of music that grows (and might arguably have benefitted from losing the falsetto voice), grows, drops, and recapitulates. It's at this late point in the song I realise that the main riff is a combination of "Pictures of Matchstick Men" and "Hey Joe". An inspired welding together, that results in a spacious riff with a familiar feeling groove.

I won't cover the very end - I'll leave that entirely for your discovery ;o)

Here's a clue - it's not at all disappointing!

All in all, a most excellent addition to any Prog Rock collection - which doesn't mean you're going to like it. My advice is to get familiar with Krautrock before approaching this album, as those unfamiliar with the genre are likely to be highly disturbed by it.

It just scrapes into the Masterpiece category, because I'm concentrating on the music alone, and ignoring technical and execution issues simply because of the low budget live recording.

A real mind-blower - but be careful, as in the wrong hands it could be mistaken as simply a Certif1ed ............

This album offers some excellent moody and manic psychedelic heavy rock for a listener, who is not driven away by the challenging start of the record. The sound texture of this music reminds slightly the tones of very first Uriah Heep albums, having a lesser keyboard presence and more stinging acid rock guitar in style of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Also the end result is not as accessible as the songs from the referred bands. Compositions are built from strong riffs and the improvisations are done within these frames, so there's no full free jamming found from the album. The melodic themes are also often ran through with a very neurotic piety, boosting the lunatic overall feeling of the album, focusing on aggressive, dark, fuzzed out and moody areas of mind. There are some more quiet acoustic movements also included, but mostly the music runs with a menacing rock drive. I don't understand the lyrics very well as they are sung in German, but they are quite political, and I later learned they are about the nuclear arms race. The singing is not maybe the strongest link in this music, but it has a quite broad scale, as there are some very low vocals, some from standard pitch, some are spoken, some high pitched "fjord vocals" like Heep's vocals were described by some witty critic, and sometimes these join together to build large voice harmonies. If you like to hear hippies to "kill a guitar" in a good style, you are into darker music like Black Widow, and are also fond of continental European 1960's/1970's psychedelic rock style, this classic record might please you certainly. There's lot of enthusiasm in the music, but also some funny moments where the intended rhythms are nearly reached, but not totally, so an ability to overlook some technical mistakes is needed also to appreciate this music. For the vinyl fans there's a LP reissue by Little Wing label released in 1990's in the markets, as the original's price might make you need some "Tips Zum Selbstmord" after the purchase. Eetu Pellonpaa ...........

NECRONOMICON named themselves after a H.P.Lovecraft book mainly because the themes they were touching upon lyrically were much the same as those in that book. The title of this album according to the liner notes means "Some practical ways on how to commit suicide" and refers to what mankind is doing to the planet by exploiting and destroying it. The vocals are sung in German, and like the music they are not pleasant. The music does have that heavy garage rock sound, very raw with those violent guitar leads.
"Prolog" opens with someone humming and laughing and carrying on. Suddenly the raw guitar comes in mimicking a line he just sang. Nice. Dirty, grungy guitar melodies follow. I'm thinking Iommi 2 1/2 minutes in as he lays down some heavy licks. At one point i'm saying to myself "So that's where Eddie(VanHalen) got that lick from". Organ joins the fray 3 1/2 minutes in. Vocals come in as the drums crash and the guitar cranks out the blistering leads. I'm in heaven man. Check out the bass 6 1/2 minutes in as organ rips it up and the guitar is on fire. "Requiem Der Natur" has a spacey, haunting intro. Gentle guitar replaces it after a minute. Reserved vocals,bass and organ join in this pastoral soundscape. Drums and electric guitar after 3 minutes start to build powerfully. Vocal melodies join in. Nice. A change before 5 minutes as bass, drums and raw guitar takes over. Organ a minute later. They seem to be just jamming here. Check out the bass as drums pound after 7 minutes. Guitar is back 8 1/2 minutes in, but it's the vocal melodies that follow that really dominate. Very cool sounding as drums and guitar fight to be heard. Guitar is ripping it up ! What an ending !

"Tips Zum Selbstmord" opens with powerful guitar leads as the drums come in. What a fantastic melody as vocals come in almost screaming. He's singing now but it's brief. Then the drums pound as the guitar tears it up. A change in tempo 3 1/2 minutes in, then it really picks up speed 4 minutes in with vocal melodies then vocals. Organ joins in. "Die Stadt" opens gently with fragile vocals and quiet guitar. Spoken words as well. The song kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes as he spits out the lyrics and SABBATH-like heaviness comes in. Great guitar 2 1/2 minutes in as bass throbs. Heavy guitar 3 minutes in changes as the tempo picks up as the guitarist then lights it up. Excellent bass. It ends as it began. "In Memoriam" opens with more in your face guitar before it becomes mellow with reserved vocals. Nice contrasts throughout. Love the organ after a minute and later, even if it's down in the mix. He screams out after 5 minutes. "Requiem Vom Ende" opens with some great sounding guitar that is replaced by vocal melodies quickly and organ. Back to the guitar as drums pound. Vocals trade off with some wicked guitar over and over. A calm 2 1/2 minutes in with vocals. This is sinister sounding as it builds in intensity. Cool vocal melodies join in. Back to those incredible heavy guitar leads that trade off with vocals over and over again. Some fat bass lines before 6 minutes. Themes are repeated until we get a few good screams after 7 minutes as song comes to a close.

This is a monster if there ever was one. Dark, heavy and aggressive.These guys take no prisoners........ by Mellotron Storm ................

 In general I'm attracted by any reference to H.P. Lovecraft who is one of my favorite writers. Unfortunately I still have to find a band able to reproduce the dark evilish mood of his novel, with the exception of the Arzachel's Azatoth.
So forget HPL, I think the lyrics are about his horrors and nightmares, but the music is "just" heavy psychedelic.

So, ignoring "the book of the names of the deads" and the fool Alhazred what remains is excellent psychedelia with more than a hint of hard rock, closer to Uriah Heep or Deep Purple than to Pink Floyd.

"Prologue" starts with the singer making what seems to be a parody of "Hocus Pocus" then it's quickly transformed into a very acid jam full of guitars and organ. The sudden end is an unusual way to close a track of this kind.

"Requiem Den Natur" is opened by a dark psychedelic noise, like Tangerine Dreasm of the Pink Period, but unexpectedly when the noise stops we have a quiet acoustic guitar harping and very sweet and melodic singing, even if still very psychedelic. We are in 1972, but this song seems to come from 4 or 5 years before. The low-pitched choir in the middle should sound weird, but fails in being horrorific. Lovecraft wouldn't have been sad for the death of Mother Nature. A great track, Nobody pretends that the music fits with the band's name. The second half of the song is heavy blues with the guitar solo a bit too "jammed". Not all he notes are at the right place.

"Tips Zum Selbstmord" is even more acid. It's like the Doors have taken Amphetamines instead of the usual stuff. A heavy blues with acid guitar and percussive bass played very fast. It sounds more American than German. Then when the rhythm calms down we are back in a world made of hard rock. The only very Kraut thing is the vocalist. Another sudden stop.

The acoustic intro of "Die Stadt" with the guitar a little untuned is the most Krautrock moment. It reminds to Amon Duul II before turning into hard rock but with a strong krautrok flavor thank to the lead vocalist while the "aaahhh" accents seem typical Uriah Heep stuff. Good hard rock with the bass leading while guitar and keyboards jam. The final return to the initial theme closes the jam in a regular way.

"In Memoriam" Is bluesy. A mixture of Cream and Can. Again it's more psychedelic than horrorific. What is remarkable on this track is the keyboard's background. In the more relaxed moments is quite similar to the mentioned Arzachel's Azatoth. I'm nit German speaking but I have the impression from few words catched that the lyrics are a sort of elegy for H.P. Lovecraft (or maybe for the whole world?). Please somebody correct me from wrong (also because I don't know what the percentages mean in the spoken part).

The final "Requiem fur ende" starts with a Uriah Heep like choir but is more acid oriented. Fans of Hendirx or in general of the acid rock of the late 60s will surely enjoy it, including when they calm down and become very dark and floydian. For a while I've thought to Electric Prunes' Kyrie Eleison. It's a psychedelic crescendo that leads to the third section of the song that's again rminding of Amon Duul II. Here there's a good bass solo. If I'm not wrong there's a bit of chorus and distorsion together on the bass. When the keyboard join the bass over obsessive percussions we have finally a bit of Lovecraft's mood, then a rock final closes the track and the album.

It's good. It's krautrock and it's the only album released by this band, so 4 octopus-4 ....................
 Necronomicon were founded in 1971 in Aachen, West Germany, near the Belgium and Netherlands border, by Norbert Breuer, Harald and Walter Sturm, later recruiting Fistus Dickmann and bassist Detlev Hakenbeck. In February 1972, Hakenbeck was replaced by Bernhard Hocks, and a legend was born.

In late 1972, after recording their album, 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, and the band found themselves having to edited them down to a length of 10 to 15 minutes.

In 1974, Sturm returned to the band, and the group recorded a demo cassette live in their living room. The group may have existed as late as 1981 though no other recordings were made.

The name Necronomicon came from the infamous novel by H.P. Lovecraft, who was also responsible for works such as The Call of Cthulu, which inspired Metallica to write a song of the same name. The Necronomicon, or Book of the Dead, is an inspired works of occult fiction, mainly based on real ancient sources, that many Lovecraft fans claim is non-fictional. There is to this day a shroud of mystery and dark aura around this book, which claims to describe all the kinds of horror on earth.

The music of Necronomicon, then, is in the same vein - in a similar style to Grobschnitt or Amon Düül II with the heaviness of Uriah Heep and the Political awareness of Floh De Cologne. It reflects the nightmarish Hieronymos Bosch-style cover art of their one and only album, created by Bernhard Hocks, and the apocalyptical visions presented in the lyrics.

The subject-matter of the lyrics, whilst presented in an apocalyptical fashion is derived from the title "Tips Zum Selbstmord" (How To Commit Suicide). Rather than being some kind of angst-driven prattle of "misunderstood" teenagers, it deals with how mankind are destroying the environment on which we depend.

"Tips Zum Selbstmord" was recorded in 1972 in a small studio in Kerkrade and produced by Carl Lindström. Remarkably, the album was recorded on just two tracks, and the band performed live in the studio. Like bands such as Gäa or Eulenspygel, Necronomicon chose to sing all the songs in their native German, which was tantamount to commercial suicide - but fitting for a band beyond compromise like Necronomicon.

The album itself is a legend among prog rock collectors - especially collectors of Krautrock, having chaged hands for up to $2,200. For a start, it's impossibly rare, there being only 500 numbered copies printed on the original Best Prehodi label, and even the recent fully accurate repress was limited to 500 numbered copies and circulated by Walter Sturm himself. Although not the only album to have had a very limited run, the original holds the dubious status of one of the most sought-after albums of all time.

The artwork of Harald Bernhard, depicting nightmarish images of tortured bodies and anguished faces, is presented in a package that opens out into a cross, made of 6 panels, each of which contains a drawing representing each of the 6 tracks on the album. The 6 tracks form a cyclic concept that ties in with the artwork to make a conceptually complete package.....................

Line-up / Musicians
- Walter Sturm / Guitar, Vocals
- Norbert Breuer / Guitar, Vocals
- Harald Bernhard / Drums
- Bernhard Hocks / Bass, Vocals
- Fistus Dickmann / Organ, Synth, Vocals

1. Prolog (7.32)
2. Requiem Der Natur (10.49)
3. Tips Zum Selbstmord (4.46)
4. Die Stadt (7.18)
5. In Memoriam (6.57)
6. Requiem Vom Ende (7.46) 


1972: Tips zum Selbstmord (Album)
1990: Vier Kapitel (4-LP-Box, Little Wing of Refugees)
2009: Strange Dreams (Diregarden)
2012: Haifische (LP/CD, Remedy-Records)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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