Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bram Stoker - Heavy Rock Spectacular (Heavy Progresive UK 1972)

Size: 98.4 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster

Bram Stoker is an interesting band from the Early British Progressive Rock Movement (like Julian's Treatment, Gracious, Fantasy, Rare Bird, etc.) featuring great Hammond organ work and fiery electric guitar play. The climates often have dark overtones.

Who were BRAM STOKER and the mysterious T. Brodson who composed all the tracks? This enigmatic 1972 release was recorded for Woolworths generic Windmill label and recorded presumably by session players to cash in on the early seventies success of bands like Black Sabbath, Atomic Rooster and Black Widow

The BRAM STOKER moniker evokes macabre gothic atmospheres, and so does their music with tracks like "Blitz" conjuring up a doom laden sound. The LP "Heavy Rock Spectacular" is a true lost pearl of original prog, dominated by moody Hammond organ that owes much to keith Emerson's influence. There are NICE overtones too with their own "Fingals Cave" whilst the sounds on "Poltergeist" seem to come straight from a gothic 'Hammer Horror'.

Bram Stoker was one of the first prog rock bands on the music scene in the 1970s, often compared to early Genesis and Yes. The band was formed by Keyboard player Tony Bronsdon in 1969; they soon built up a strong and devoted following at live shows. Playing the Marquee in London, they were supported by a little known band called ‘Queen’. They played regularly in London at The Roundhouse, The Marquee, The Heavy Rock Spectacular Greyhound – Croydon and The Speakeasy. Touring clubs, colleges and University in the UK and Holland they were appreciated by many well known artists of the time and their bootlegged releases became collector’s items.

Bram Stoker music is pure, classic, symphonic prog composed and played by some of the first original artists of the time. Two original band members – keyboard player Tony Bronsdon, whose classically influenced Hammond organ led Bram Stoker’s trademark sound, and guitarist / bassist Tony Lowe – recruited talented drummer / vocalist Will Hack to co-write and record ‘Cold Reading’. Original bassist Jon Bavin also collaborated in writing two of the new compositions. 

‘Cold Reading’ was produced by Tony Lowe, who subsequently worked as a musician with the likes of Julian Lennon, Roger Daltrey, Simon Townshend, Visage, Pet Shop Boys and Phil Ramone, plus has produced artists such as Flying Colours, Toyah, John Foxx since the band broke up in 1972. Tony Lowe has also just completed work on an album with David Cross (King Crimson). David’s wonderfully evocative instrumental work is grown from the famous ‘Starless’ theme and is due for release later this year.

He Gothic drone of Bournemouth band Bram Stoker is singularly England’s most ignored Prog entity. The fundamental core of Bram Stoker was organist Tony Bronsdon who started out with Renaissance Fare in 1968 later fusing with ex Feel guitarist Pete Ballam and ex Feel drummer Rob Haines freshly defected from Freedom Village. A remarkable bassist called John Bavin from the floral village of The Incredible String Band joined the combo, replacing Jet Harris and Tony Lowe after a defunct Harris Tweed basically evolved into Bram Stoker. 

Bram Stoker 1972
In 1972 Bram Stoker launched their Heavy Rock Spectacular which holds more emotive stirrings than any ELP refrain, harking to the tremors of Julian’s Treatment or Dr Z. The Bram Stoker live performances were sensational largely due to Ballam’s legendary "Doppler" (spinning speaker cabinet) and Bronsdon’s stirring organ tones and changing tempos. Bram Stoker stand next to Van Der Graaf as one of the first Gothic Prog groups, often supporting The Who and even booked to play the ‘Isle Of Wight Festival’. Who vocalist Roger Daltrey helped the group to record a home demo which got them a contract with the ‘Woolworth’s budget label ‘Windmill Records’. Bavin’s eerie vox is sheer rupture on the fuzz riffing “Extensive Corrosion” while Bavin’s bass rumbles superbly on “Ants” and the Wakeman styled “Fast Decay”. 

Bavin’s production skills later infiltrated Dave Stewart and Kiki Dee. Haines is best heard on the cymbal signatures that embellish “Poltergeist” while Bronsdon’s classical virtues power through Felix Mendelssohn’s “Fingal’s Cave”, severed sensitively by Ballam’s exquisite breaks. Stoker’s post apocalyptic “Blitz” is the epic highlight with Ballam conjuring drone lead that evokes visions of misty bomb shelters and nuclear rain. Bram Stoker re-formed in 2004 with added Pat Flynn (guitar) & Pete Rumble (drums) for Rock Paranoia (includes unreleased material).

Tony Bronsdon (organ) 
 Pete Ballam (guitars) 
 Rob Haines (drums) 
 Jon Bavin (bass) 

Original Album Windmill UK 1972
01. Born to be free (3:43)
02. Ants (3:48)
03. Fast decay (3:49)
04. Blitz (5:33)
05. Idiot (4:28)
06. Fingal's cave (7:42)
07. Extensive corrosion (4:19)
08. Poltergeist (4:35)

Bonus Disc 
01. Collusion Illusion (4:50)
02. Scarborough Fair (3:10)
03. Queen of Sheeba (2:38)
04. Faith Healer (1:47)

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Heavy Rock said...

This is a superb album and recommended for anyone into British heavy prog rock. Bram Stoker has released a new album Cold Reading in 2013 which lives up the expectations of the first album. Songs from Cold Reading include a re-recording of Fast Decay and Fingal’s Cave from album Heavy Rock Spectacular along with eight new compositions. Download Cold Reading(FLAC Format)from:

Anonymous said...

this looks like it'll be pretty cool. Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanx a lot!

Pierre said...

Had the original album since it's first re-issue on CD, but Finally I get to hear the bonus tracks I've heard about for a long time. Thankyou SOoooo much.

Anonymous said...

great cover

john said...

I've listened to alot of music, but never heard of this band. Thanks for a new adventure.